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What does a Correctional Officer do?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered July 12 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
Perhaps you want to start a career as a Correctional Officer, or maybe you're just interested in a similar trade with overlapping duties. In any case, aspiring Correctional Officers interested in the day-to-day can check out some of our points below before committing to a full-time career in this profession. Still, there is so much more to this profession than a few bullet points can cover. Let's look a little deeper into what this role can look like for officers in the field.  
It won't come as a surprise to learn that Correctional Officers work in a dangerous capacity, working alongside prisoner inmates, some with serious criminal pasts. There will, of course, be professional training provided for Correctional Officers to equip them with the resources and presence of mind to handle critical situations properly. Still, there will be times when circumstances are such that they have to rely on instinct alone. Again, on-the-job and career training will prepare you for this kind of event, but there is no one approach to knowing how the situation will unfold. It is critical that aspiring Correctional Officers are prepared for both the best and the worst that this profession offers.  
Adjacent to high-risk circumstances that may arise on the job are those exceptional moments that make the risk worthwhile. Rehabilitation is a crucial aspect of what serving time at a correctional facility is all about, and Correctional Officers have a stake in contributing to the process. They have the opportunity to connect with inmates on a more empathetic level and treat them with kindness, respect, and understanding, all of which will contribute to a more rehabilitated person that is ready to return to society.  
Roles and Responsibilities of a Correctional Officer
The average day of a Correctional Officer may appear differently across regions. The same could be said for the differing management and ownership of the facility. Still, there are typical duties that all professionals in this field can expect to experience on any given day. Here is a broad list of daily tasks to consider:  
  • Watching over inmates and supervising their activities.
  • Performing security checks.
  • Accounting for all inmates on the premises. 
  • Handling lethal and non-lethal weapons. 
  • Staying alert for possible violent situations. 
  • Responding to riots or other violent disturbances. 
  • Escorting inmates being transferred to a secondary institution or court visits.
  • Escorting visitors to their designated visiting area 
  • Assisting inmates in rehabilitation processes (e.g., workshops and counseling). 
  • Reporting unusual or suspicious activities to the supervisor and writing reports on inmate’s behaviors. 
  • Completing paperwork and organizing admission, release, and transfer procedures for inmates. 
  • Drafting inmate reports to be used in court when necessary.