Correctional officers are also known as prison officers. Their duty involves supervision, providing safety, taking custody, and regulating the prisoners. They provide custody, take care, control prisoners who have committed crimes, and are sentenced to imprisonment. Also, they are responsible for the security of the prisoners and their property. The authorities of government employ them for that jurisdiction through which they operate. Though private companies employ few, they provide service for the government. We will discuss Correctional Officer Job Description here.
Different countries use varied terms for jailers. In countries like the UK, Finland, Denmark, they are termed “prison officers,” whereas, in countries like the US, Canada, and Jamaica, they are termed “Correctional officers”. They are known by various other titles, called “warden” in countries like the US and Canada. They are called “governors” in countries like “UK and Australia. In South Asia, they are called “Superintendent,” and in New Zealand, they are called “Director.”
Their main duties involve maintaining order and operations such as taking care and custody, controlling the inmates. They have the responsibility to control the dangerous individuals who do not fit in the society. They should prevent assaults, escaping of individuals from the prison. Also, they assign work to inmates. They also have an additional responsibility to protect themselves. They shall also protect the public from assaults by inmates. They should protect the inmates from committing to dying and not harming themselves. Their duties’ key component is “prevention”; they must be alert any time inside the jail.
The correctional officer’s training may vary from various jurisdictions; it depends on its region. Training to the officers shall be provided by agencies externally or with an instructor. The training includes the use of force and weapons, learning self-defense, CPR, first defense, report writing, giving testimony, criminal law, personnel communication, criminal procedure law, investigation, the intelligence of gangs. It includes several other training such as prevention of the end of life, learning stress management, safety act, abuse of the drug, program on rehabilitation.
Correctional officers oversee the individual arrested and sentenced to serve in jail as a punishment for their committed crime. They shall ensure to maintain safety in the courtrooms. Their duties also involve assisting the judges, providing protection to the juries, delivering documents from the court, and providing securities.
Correctional Officer Job Description
Correctional officers are responsible for the following duties to be performed:
- They should maintain law and order within the facility
- Supervising the activities performed by the prisoners.
- They should have proper inspecting facilities, thereby meeting the security standards of the prison.
- Inspecting inmates in jail for any contraband stuff.
- Escorting the prisoners, preparing reports on the conduct of inmate prisoners, and safely transporting them.
Bailiff’s have the following responsibility:
- They ensure the security of the courtroom.
- They are responsible for escorting the witness, prisoners, and the judges as well.
- They follow the procedure of the court.
- They are responsible for handling the court documents and evidence.
- They enforce the rule to be followed in the courtroom.
These rules abide in the courtroom, whereas in jail, they enforce the rules. They maintain the security of the jail. They prevent assaults, disturbance and inspecting the inmates. They keep checking the cell for proper sanitary conditions, contraband, and security breaches (i.e., tampering doors and windows). They are responsible for the security of visitors in the jail and inspecting them. They shall maintain daily reports for the prisoners, noticing their daily behavior. They have to restrain the inmates from handcuffs and leg irons to escort them to the cell safely. They also escort the prisoners from the courtroom to jail. They are responsible for escorting the prisoners from hospitals to prison.
Whereas bailiffs’ duties vary from court to court, their responsibility revolves around maintaining security and order in the court. They protect the integrity of the law. For instance, they make sure not to influence the juries outside the court. In a few of the sensitive cases, they shall also isolate the juries from the public. They act as mediators by handling the evidence during court hours, thereby ensuring the display of evidence, where its permit is limited.
There were about 19,600 job openings for bailiffs in the year 2018. For correctional officers, the openings were up to 434,300 for the same year. Correctional officers work indoor or outdoor conditions, whereas bailiffs work for the courtroom. The job requires them to stand for long hours.
This job is quite a stressful one, and it is dangerous sometimes. These correctional officers may get injured by inmates. This job is rated as the highest occupation for illness and injuries. It requires the officers to be alert throughout their work period.
They usually work on rotational shifts, as security for the prisoners is provided around the clock. These correctional officers work day and night, including holidays and weekends. Sometimes, it requires overtime duty. But bailiff’s work time is limited to court working sessions.
Educational and Training
Bailiffs and correctional officers are supposed to get trained through outsourcing agencies or any other academy form. Though the required qualification varies by state, the minimum qualification is to have a complete high school diploma or any other equivalent. Sometimes, federal agencies require work experience and college education.
The applicant should have completed 18, but few agencies recommend the age of 18-21 to become a correctional officer. For employment in the federal bureau of prisons, the correctional officer should at least have a bachelor’s degree or holding experience of about 1-3 years in the field of counseling, supervision, and assisting. The correctional officers shall complete the training at an academy. The training lasts about several months, but the training period varies by different states. In the academy, the trainees receive education in many subjects like self-defense, policy regulation, and security.
Personality and Interest Aspects
The officers should possess an interest in building and organizing things. According to the framework constructed by Holland’s code, the building interest area focuses on working with machines and tools and fixing things. The interest area about persuading things focuses on motivating and influencing people, where the interest area in organizing focuses on working and processing information, thereby keeping things organized. In order to be sure about your area of interest, as a correctional officer, you can take a career test to know more about your area of interest.
The correctional officers should have the following qualities, in order to be successful in their career:
- Judgment Skill: Correctional officers should be quick with their actions. They should make the necessary decisions to achieve a specific outcome of problems.
- Interpersonal Skills: The officers must know to interact and communicate effectively. They are supposed to interact with the inmates and maintain law and order in the courtrooms.
- Physical Strength: As the work requires long hours, the correctional officers must be fit physically.
- Negotiating Skills: The officers should be capable of resolving jail problems; sometimes, they should also be mentally strong to handle the inmates of a prison.
- Full-on Resource: The officers often encounter some unpredictable and dangerous situations, which require a quick response. Few situations require practical solutions.
- Self Discipline: Correctional officers should be capable enough to control their emotions in difficult situations.
Pay Scale for Correctional Officer
Bailiffs get paid up to $47,830 annually; correctional officers get paid around $47,180 per year. According to the statistics conducted in the year 2019, the Federal government pays $58,020 per year; the State government pays up to $44,090 per year. They usually have rotational shifts. The job requires one to provide security throughout the year. The officers shall work day and night, which includes holidays and weekends as well. It may require one to work overtime. But Bailiffs working hours are restricted to court sessions.
The employment opportunity shall decline up to 7% between the years 2018-2028. The population of prisoners, along with the budget constraints from the state, will decide the employment opportunity of correctional officers. Correctional officers will be required to look after the prison as per the U.S population. The law changes shall have a great effect on people getting arrested and its increasing population every year.
The increased crime rate affects the population in prison and provides them security has severe effects on a budget from the government. Due to the financial crisis, many state governments have requested to reduce the prisoners’ prison terms. To keep the public safe, many community programs are conducted to stabilize the prisoners, thereby reducing their prison time, limiting the risk of crime, and the prisoners count to be repeated. The Bailiffs are required to maintain the orders in court.
Though there is a decline in the employment level for this role, the job prospects still have demand, as there is retirement every year, it also includes a transfer of job or skipping to other professions.