Pros And Cons Of Being A Correctional Officer

Pros And Cons Of Being A Correctional Officer And Career Guide- BY CJ

Criminal Justice Career Guides

Pros And Cons Of Being A Correctional Officer

The correctional officers are primarily responsible for overseeing prison affairs. Society’s crimes are constantly increasing, and the number of people going to jail is subsequently growing. This direct relation of crimes with the number of people going to prison has increased the demand for correctional officers across the United States.

Due to the increased demand, many students across the US are interested in pursuing their career in this field. Are you one of those? If so, we have brought all the necessary Pros And Cons Of Being A Correctional Officer for you so that you can make the best  career decision for yourself.

Being a correctional officer

Being a correctional officer is not a bed of roses; you will have to supervise all the operations taking place at the Prison. In prison, there are two types of prisoners. The first ones have committed some sort of crime and are waiting for the court’s verdict. Second are those who had committed a crime, got sentenced from the court, and are spending the time of their punishment in jail.

Being a correctional officer, you will have to deal with both the types of prisoners. Your duties for the first type of prisoners will be to make arrangements for their appearance before the court. All the security arrangements on the way to the court and in the court will be your responsibility, not an easy job.

Your duties for the second type of prisoners will be to make necessary arrangements within the prison premises. For example, if there is a threat that the inmates will harm each other, you will have to put them in separate cells so that they do not hurt each other. Secondly, some of the criminals are high-value criminals, which means that someone will always be trying to break jail and escape them. This is your responsibility to ensure that the necessary security arrangements are being made.

Another essential duty of the correctional officers is to regulate all the internal affairs of the jail, this includes the deployment of all the guards and other staff, arrangements of food for the prisoners, and maintaining law and order in prison.

The daily life of a correctional officer

Many people wonder about a correctional officer’s daily routine and have this question in their minds, what’s it like being a corrections officer? If you are one of those, stick to the article we will walk you through a day in the life of a corrections officer so that you can have a better understanding of their daily routine and the dynamics of their work.

The correctional officers work five days a week, and their daily shift is 8 hours. The working day typically begins at 8 o’clock and ends at 4 o’clock. During their working hours, they are constantly in contact with their subordinates to manage prison affairs. Apart from the Jail staff, the correctional officers also engage with other law enforcement agencies’ officers.

As discussed earlier, the job is not easy; therefore, it requires you to be available around the clock. Because anything can happen at any time in the jail premises, the correctional officers might be called to jail even when their working hours are finished.

A correctional officer must have excellent verbal communication skills to communicate with his subordinates on the telephone rather than going to jail every then and now. If you have these skills, congratulations, your job as a correctional officer will be much easier.

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Pros And Cons Of Being A Correctional Officer

So you might be wondering, what benefits do correctional officers get? Like anything else, there are benefits of being a correctional officer and dangers associated with this job. We will begin by discussing the benefits first, and then we will be discussing the cons of this job.


Correctional Officer benefits 

In this section, we will discuss Pros Of Being A Correctional Officer

benefits of being a corrections officer

Correction officers have several benefits that come with the job. These benefits include good pay and benefits, a safe working environment, and job stability.

Correction officers are typically well-paid. Most corrections officers start out making around $40,000 per year. With experience, they can make up to $70,000 per year or more. In addition to a good salary, corrections officers also typically receive excellent benefits. These benefits may include health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, and paid vacation days.

The work environment for corrections officers is typically very safe. Correctional facilities are heavily guarded and often have video surveillance systems in place. In addition, most correctional officers carry pepper spray or other self-defense weapons to use in the event of an attack.

All in all, there are several benefits to becoming a corrections officer. These benefits include good pay and benefits, a safe working environment, and job stability. If you are looking for a career that offers these things, then a corrections officer may be the perfect fit for you.

Pay Benefits

The first benefit of being a correctional officer is that they receive a handsome amount of pay. According to the bureau of labour statistics, a correctional officer’s average annual salary is $ 38,380 to $ 53,549.

Apart from the pay, the correctional officers also receive various types of allowances. Clothing allowance helps the correctional officers buy the uniforms they will wear while being on duty. They also receive health allowances from their respective states, which covers all the medications in it.

The correctional officers are allowed to retire at the age of 50, with 20 years of service. On retirement, they are being given handsome amounts of commutation and pension.

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Job Security

The crime ratio in Society is constantly increasing. Therefore, correctional officers will not have to face downsizing. The indicators have been showing a constant increase in the employment opportunity for the correctional officers.

With each passing day, new prisons are being built up for the prisoners, and these prisons will require someone to oversee the daily affairs. So, if you plan to become a correctional officer, you need not worry about unemployment or job insecurity. All you have to do it to equip yourself with the right set of skills.

Career Advancement

The primary educational requirement for an entry-level position is just a high school diploma; therefore, the chances of this field’s advancements are higher. If you are working as a correctional officer, there are specific requirements that you must fulfill for career advancements, and these requirements are not complicated at all.

· The basic training program with excellent credentials

· Complete a two or four years degree program with good scores

· And gain experience by working in the department.

Once you are done with these simple steps, you will get promoted to the next position. A piece of advice from our side, always aim for a specific position and keeping that in mind, gain the relevant experience and educational degrees.

Civic Duty

One of the pros of working as a Correctional officer is that you gain much respect from your fellow citizens. Everyone you meet will start respecting you because you are doing a sacred job and that is serving the society or doing civic duty. Your duties ensure that the citizens can roam around as per their choice without the fear of being hurt by unlawful citizens.

The correctional officers ensure that these unlawful citizens who hurt the valuables of the people are behind the bar. Not only this, they also ensure that necessary rehabilitation takes place so that these citizens can return to society with a healthy mindset after completing their due sentence.

Your act of rehabilitating the mentally sick people, maintaining their safety in the prisons, searching for drugs addicts in the prions and regulating the affairs of the prions will be an excellent service to the American citizens, and for sure, you are going to be respected for this act.

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Aiding In Rehabilitation

Being a correctional officer, you will be helping the people who need you the most, the prisoners. The mental health of some individuals may be the partial or full cause for their imprisonment, in being a correctional officer, you will be helping the prisoners in returning to their everyday lives through rehabilitation. Through rehabilitation, you can bring discipline and stability in their lives.

Your career won’t be restricted to punish the people. Instead, you will be focusing on taking measures which will lead to a reduction of criminal mindsets from society.

A correctional officer is a role model for many, especially the prisoners so, through practical steps, you will be demonstrating the perks of being a law-abiding citizen.

Never a Boring Job

The job of a correctional officer is never tedious, every day they have to handle the disruptive prisoners or solve the cases of gang violence within the prisons. In a way, the correctional officers are acting as a police officer of the prison facility, gathering intelligence and investigating crimes.

Isn’t it Joyful to have a happening career in which you never have to get bored sitting in your office and revolving the chair without having anything to do?

The stress and tricky tasks of the correctional facilities want you to be sharp and creative-minded so that you can regulate the daily affairs efficiently.

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Cons Of Being A Correctional Officer

As we discussed earlier, a correctional officer’s job is not a bed of roses, and there are some drawbacks of being a correctional officer. You shall go through them and decide your future’s fate accordingly but be mindful that these cons are not so big that you give up on your dream of becoming a correctional officer.

Long Training

The initial training for the correctional officers is of a long duration. During the training program, the trainees will have to stay away from their families. This might be problematic for some, but if you are fond of staying away from your family, you won’t be a problem.

The newly employed personals are required to complete 200 hours of basic training. Once they are done with this essential training program, they will be required to join the federal bureau of prisons, where they will have to complete an advanced training of 120 hours.

The training programs typically educate the students about the security standards, regulations, and standard operating procedures of Prisons’ prisons and institutional policies.


Many people are afraid of the job because of what they have heard about the dangers of being a correctional officer. Though there are many safety and precautionary measures taken for the staff of correctional facilities, there have been many reported incidents of physical harm to these facilities’ officers.

The dangerous prisoners in prison pose a threat to other inmates and correctional officers. For the staff’s safety, the correctional officers are adequately trained for the methods using which they can handle those dangerous inmates and ensure their safety.

Poor Working Conditions

The correctional officers have to work in all weather conditions, be it a hot sunny day or rainy day with thunderstorms, the correctional officers are on the go, and there is no excuse in the way of their duties. Secondly, the conditions of the prisons are not ideal for working. Some of the prisons are updated regularly, but most of them are problematic.

Due to these poor working conditions, some people have genuine questions: is being a correctional officer a good career?

Working Holidays And Odd shifts

The prisoners in the prisons need to be guarded around the clock, which compels the correctional officers to be available for 24 hours. The shift of a correctional officer is 8 hours, and it is entirely reasonable.

But the problem is with the constant rotation in the working hours, which could be problematic if you are new in the correctional officers. The department’s senior officers will more likely select the more relaxed timings for them and assign you with the odd timings.


One of the problems associated with being a correctional officer is that most of the correctional officers suffer from depression. Depression is expected in the people who are surrounded by unhappiness, and same is the case with correctional officers.

If we ask you, what is common among the prisoners? Perhaps their desire to leave the prison and when they fail to do so, it causes depression in them which affects the overall environment of the prion. It is for sure that when everyone surrounded by you is feeling depressed, you will eventually start to develop that feeling too.

According to researches, 25-30 % of the correctional officers suffer from depression, contrary to 5-6 % among the average population. So the question is, Is there any way to avoid this depression? Yes for sure there is. All you have to do is to take part in some healthy activity after your duty and surround yourself with people who are living everyday life.

Secondary factors

Apart from Long Training, Danger, Poor Working Conditions, Working Holidays and Odd shifts, and Depression, there are secondary drawbacks of becoming a correctional officer too.

These are the secondary drawbacks of becoming a correctional officer:

Poor sleep schedule: There are three working shifts of the correctional officer, morning, evening and night shift and the Correctional officer will have to work in rotating shifts of 8 hours which means that sometime he will be working in the morning shift while some other day he might be assigned with the night shift. The rotating changes cause a disturbance in the sleep schedule of the correctional officer.

Travel of the correctional officer: The prisons are not located around every corner of the city and for doing your job you might have to travel up to an hour which becomes problematic at times so, if you don’t have any prison located nearby, the travelling might become a hustle for you.

Repetitive nature of the Job: The life of a correctional officer is not dynamic because every day he will have to follow the same schedule at his workplace so if you are one of those who want something new every day, the job might become boring for you, however, if you like to follow a defined schedule, the job of a correctional officer will be much pleasing for you.

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Correctional Officer Reviews

We all know that the first-hand experience is always the most appropriate. Keeping this in mind, we have brought you reviews from the correctional officers who have worked in different correction facilities. These words from the experienced people will clear all the ambiguities in your mind regarding a correctional officer’s job.

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A former employee of the New York Correctional facility

The officer has worked for twenty years in the correctional facility and gave 4 star reviews. According to him, the hardest part of his job was the inmates’ misbehavior, and the best part was the working relationship that he had with his fellow officer.

A current employee of the correction facility of Jefferson City

The officer gave a five star rating to the job and said that the job has much growth potential. The only problem with being a correctional officer is that one has to put his life in danger, yet the pay offered to the correctional facilities staff is very low.

How long does it take to become a Correctional Officer?

There are three milestones that you need to cross to become a correctional officer.

These three steps are

So the question is, how long does it take to become a correctional officer? And the answer is, it varies upon your selection of education path. First of all, you will have to complete your high school with good scores so that you can get enrolled in a reputable college of criminal justice.

Let assume that you have chosen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. You will have to study for four years to pass all the requirements of the degree. Once you are done with the degree, you need to start searching for jobs.

Whenever you see any announcement about the job, you need to apply on it for which you will have to submit relevant academic degrees and other identity documents.

You might be wondering that after how much time do the employers respond to the job application of a candidate? Well, there is no set time for this response, as the employers are busy going through the documents of all the applicants, it might take several weeks or even months, so be patient in this regard.

If you have been lucky enough to pass through the application process, you will be joining the training academy. The duration of training at the academy is 6 to 12 months depending upon the state in which you are employed.

In training, you will be receiving physical as well as educational courses which will help you throughout your career. After completing the training program, you will be allocated to the vacant position of the correctional officers.

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Correctional Training: Getting Ready To Be Tough

Proper correctional training is not only to secure prisoners inside correctional facilities. More importantly, it allows citizens outside of prison walls to feel safe, not having to worry about criminal offenders being out on the loose.  

Who undergoes correctional training? The brave men and women are assigned to prison facilities, big or small. This is one of the most difficult among criminal justice careers because of the dangers correction officers are always exposed to.

The role they play

Inside and outside of prison walls, the corrections officer plays a vital role. In general, his responsibility is to provide security. Move inmates from one area to another while inside prison. Monitor their activities to make sure there are no disturbances. Conduct searches when necessary. They also patrol the premises making sure all locks and windows are secure to prevent escape.

Outside of prison facilities, their job entails bringing inmates to a court or guarding someone awaiting trial.

Having to deal with criminal offenders all the time physically, correctional officers necessarily have to be given equipment for protection and security. These include handcuffs, guns, and other weapons for restraint.

Preparing for the job

They say that the formal education required of correction officers is a walk in the park compared to the correctional training they must undergo to prepare for the job. It is as stringent as law enforcement training.

|High school diploma is usually enough to be qualified for employment. Some may require college credits or an associate degree. A bachelor’s degree is a big plus, especially when applying with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A criminal justice degree is even more advantageous.

Another qualification given by the federal bureau is for people with two or three years of experience in counselling or supervisory positions. Whatever your educational background and other experience, the critical component is correctional training.

Correctional officer training takes one to six months. This is usually done on-site, at an academy, or the department of corrections. It involves correctional methods currently employed in prisons, principles, terminology, and how to implement them. 

There will necessarily be classes in self-defence, restraint of prisoners, and regular practice sessions in handling firearms.

Upon completing the correctional training program, you need to be certified by the American Correctional Association to prove your field competency.

Careers in criminal justice are exciting and fulfilling, especially those demanding a lot from workers physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, there are certain people made for these jobs. If you are seriously considering a career in the corrections aspect of criminal justice, prepare yourself for rigid correctional training.

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