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The toughest job you will ever love

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Posted over 9 years ago


Corrections Officer

A correctional officer watches over convicted criminals who are serving time in a penitentiary, jail, or reformatory. They also oversee those who are waiting for trail after being arrested. They preserve security and inmate responsibility to prevent escapes, assaults, and conflicts. Job authority of these officers is valid only in the institution where they are employed.

Correctional officers known as detention officers are employed by precinct stations, municipal jails, and police and sheriffs’ departments. Elected sheriffs are responsible for the 3,300 jails in the U.S., most of which are county-operated. Jail inmates are constantly changing as new criminals are arrested and others are transferred or released. Over 11 million people are admitted and processed by correctional officers into the U.S. jail system each year. On average, half a million people are in jail at all times. Correctional officers experience the most danger when people are first arrested and placed in the general population. At this point of the incarceration process, criminal records and identities of those arrested are often still unknown.

The majority of correctional officers work in Federal and State prisons or in large jails. They are responsible for over one million incarcerated offenders at all times. Correctional officers also watch over those detained by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Individuals in custody are either deported or released. Officers also work for private for-profit groups in their correctional institutions. Prisons and jails can be hazardous work environments; however, prisons maintain a more constant population than jails. This allows correction officers in prisons to know the cleaning and safety requirements of each prisoner they work with.

Correctional officers give written and oral reports on inmate work and conduct. Officers must report any commotion, strange incidents, rule violations, and security infringements. Daily records of activities are commonly kept by officers. They assist in the investigations of any crimes that occur within the facility and help search for inmates who escape. Correction officers must report all violations and cannot demonstrate favoritism.

Prisons and jails that have direct supervision cellblocks employ officers who work unarmed. These officers are outfitted with communication equipment to call for help when needed. They usually work with another officer or alone in a cell block, in the midst of 50 to 100 residing inmates. The officers implement regulations by using interpersonal communications abilities and by revoking authority, such as the loss of privileges.

Centralized control centers are often used in high security institution where dangerous prisoners are held. From these centers, correctional officers watch prisoner activities from computer tracking systems and closed-circuit television cameras. Prisoners in these facilities are only allowed to leave their cells to see visitors, take showers, or for solitary exercise time and often see no one except officers for extended periods of time. When necessary, correctional officers must use restraints such as leg irons and handcuffs while escorting certain prisoners from area to area. Prisoners must be accompanied by officers as they move from the institution to medical facilities, courtrooms, and other locations.

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