Correctional Officers and Jailers

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Also known as:
Certified Detention Deputy, Convict Guard, Correction Officer, Correctional Guard, Correctional Sergeant, Detention Deputy, Detention Officer, Jail Guard, Juvenile Corrections Officer, Penal Officer

ABOUT CORRECTIONAL OFFICER OR JAILER CAREERS
Video transcript

Correctional officers ensure the security and safety of our nation's correctional facilities at the local, state, and federal levels. They are the men and women who are responsible for guarding people who have been arrested or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a correctional institution.

Duties include supervising inmate activities and maintaining good order, searching prisoners and their cells for weapons, drugs, or other items that may be forbidden, and occasionally breaking up fights between prisoners. Officers must even be prepared to respond to riots or hostage situations. Strength, good judgment, and the ability to think and act quickly are indispensable, while strength of character may be the most important personal trait of all.

Correctional officers have a great deal of power over the lives of inmates, so they must have the ability to be firm and fair at all times. A prison environment can be stressful and demanding; nevertheless, with integrity, communication skills, and the ability to keep pressure situations under control, correctional officers will continue to be key to the effective operation of our nation's prison system.

SNAPSHOT
Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institutions in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, prison, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Participate in required job training.

Use weapons, handcuffs, and physical force to maintain discipline and order among prisoners.

Assign duties to inmates, providing instructions as needed.

Settle disputes between inmates.

Search prisoners and vehicles and conduct shakedowns of cells for valuables and contraband, such as weapons or drugs.

Conduct fire, safety, and sanitation inspections.

Provide to supervisors oral and written reports of the quality and quantity of work performed by inmates, inmate disturbances and rule violations, and unusual occurrences.

Record information, such as prisoner identification, charges, and incidents of inmate disturbance, keeping daily logs of prisoner activities.

Monitor conduct of prisoners in housing unit, or during work or recreational activities, according to established policies, regulations, and procedures, to prevent escape or violence.

Inspect conditions of locks, window bars, grills, doors, and gates at correctional facilities to ensure security and help prevent escapes.

Serve meals, distribute commissary items, and dispense prescribed medication to prisoners.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
TOP SKILLS
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.