Correctional Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Correctional Officer, or Prison Guard, is responsible for enforcing the rules and maintaining routines at a jail, prison or another correctional facility. Their duties include inspecting jail cells according to security protocols and safety codes, supervising inmates during meals and recreational time and diffusing conflicts between inmates to help preserve peace and order.

Build a Job Description

Correctional Officer duties and responsibilities

The important responsibilities of a Correctional Officer include maintaining a consistent routine and demeanor, because in corrections, security and control are vital. Some of the daily duties include:

  • Regular head counts of inmates within a section
  • Monitor inmate behavior and report unusual activity to ensure safety and security
  • Escort inmates to job sites, medical facilities, classrooms or wherever they are needed in a timely, secure manner
  • Assist other Correctional Officers with management of inmates
  • Conduct regular searches of inmate areas like cells, recreation rooms and showers for unauthorized items
  • Manage confrontational situations as they arise to maintain security
  • Write regular reports of activities

Correctional Officer Job Description Examples


Example 1

Up to a *$5,000* sigh on Bonus! *$38,750.14 per year* *Qualifications: * * Be at least *18* years of age (no maximum age restriction) * Be a United States *Citizen* * Possess a hi*gh school diploma or equivalent* * Possess a valid *driver’s license* * *Pass* a drug test and physical examination * *Pass a background investigation and fingerprinting*, which includes; no felony convictions; no misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement; no misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence. * Must demonstrate good moral character as determined by a thorough background investigation. *Benefits: * * Paid vacation, sick leave and holidays * Comprehensive health insurance and life insurance with accidental death and dismemberment benefits * Supplemental Dental, Vision, Life, Disability and Hospitalization insurance * Tuition-Free college courses * 457 Tax Deferred Retirement Plan * *&;Special Risk&; Retirement benefits* * Criminal Justice Incentive Pay up to $1,560.00 annually ($130.00 per month) * Annual uniform and shoe allowance of $325.00 The State of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer, and does not tolerate discrimination or violence in the workplace. Job Type: Full-time Pay: $38,750.14 per year Benefits: * Dental insurance * Health insurance * Paid time off * Vision insurance Schedule: * 8 hour shift Supplemental Pay: * Signing bonus Education: * High school or equivalent (Required) Language: * English (Required) * and write English (Required) * Driver's License (Required) Work Location: One location

Example 2

*Why you’ll love this position: * *This position is located in Maryville, MO* A position in the Missouri Department of Corrections is more than a job. It's a calling. Corrections employees transform lives, equipping Missourians in the criminal justice system with the skills they need to contribute to their communities, inside and outside our walls. More than 95 percent of people who enter the prison system ultimately are released. We want to make sure they’re good neighbors. We offer great benefits! Missouri State Employee Retirement System / Deferred compensation plan / Health insurance (medical, vision, dental for employees and family) / Paid life insurance / Long-term disability insurance / Cafeteria plan / Paid holidays / 10 hours annual leave per month / 10 hours sick leave per month / Uniforms provided when required / Pre-service and in-service training / Access to credit union / Direct deposit of paycheck (required) / Employee health, wellness and safety initiatives / MOST 529 College Savings Program *What you’ll do* Maintains security in buildings/towers/other posts of an adult correctional facility; intervenes during emergencies or altercations and gains physical control of offenders Supervises movement of offenders inside/outside the correctional facility; conducts periodic counts of offenders; searches offenders and their living quarters for contraband; Escorts/transports offenders to predetermined locations Supervises offenders: in housing units; during the performance of work activities; during recreational/ religious activities Conducts inspections for health and safety hazards; prepares/submits reports on offender violations of divisional or correctional facility rules/unusual offender behaviors/observed mechanical deficiencies/ security breaches or failures Discusses minor adjustment problems with offenders; refers serious problems to proper correctional facility staff; promotes rehabilitation by attempting to modify offender’s social attitudes/discouraging undesirable behaviors/encouraging worthwhile activities Supervises visits with offenders; searches visitors/offenders/buildings/grounds for contraband Performs work in accordance with established orders/specific instructions; receives general administrative direction Performs other related work as assigned *All you need for success: * *Minimum Qualifications: * · Must be 18 years of age or older. *Special Requirements: * 1. Ability to pass a background investigation administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. 2. Ability to complete Defensive Tactics and Standard First Aid\CPR training during Basic Training administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. *By assignment, a position may require: * 3. Ability to complete and maintain firearms certification training administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. 4. Possession of a valid vehicle operator's license. *All requested documents MUST be received by the closing date listed.* The Missouri Department of Corrections is proud to have a tradition of promotion from within for employees looking for and seeking distinctive career paths. As you work for the department, we invite you to consider your goals and make choices to actively head toward them. We seek to recognize employees who serve with distinction. The State of Missouri is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. Job Type: Full-time Pay: $17.30 per hour Benefits: * Dental insurance * Health insurance * Life insurance * Paid time off * Retirement plan * Vision insurance Schedule: * 8 hour shift * Holidays * Night shift * Overtime * Weekend availability Work Location: One location

Example 3

Requisition No: [phone number] Agency: Department of Corrections Working Title: Correctional Officer Statewide - [phone number]1 1 Position Number: [phone number] Salary: $33,500.22 *(Pay raise coming Jan 2022) to $38,700.000* *Hire on bonus $3,000.00* Posting Closing Date: 12/31/2021 *This is a continuous advertisement for a Correctional Officer position.* *This is a Statewide advertisement. * *No prior experience is necessary, all training is provided.* *Correctional Officers are responsible for the supervision, care, custody, control and physical restraint, when necessary, of inmates in a Correctional Institution or facility.* *Under the direction of Secretary, Mark Inch, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is the 3rd largest state prison system in the country with a budget of 2.4 billion, approximately 97,000 inmates incarcerated and another 167,000 offenders on active community supervision. The DC has 151 facilities and more than 24,000 staff members statewide, making it the State’s largest agency.* *Compensation: * * *Certified rate of pay is $1,288.47 Bi-weekly. ($33,500.22 Annually)* * *Non-Certified rate of pay is $1,159.63* *Bi-weekly. ($30,150.38 Annually)* *Qualifications: * * *Be at least 18 years of age (no maximum age restriction)* * *Be a United States Citizen* * *Possess a high school diploma or equivalent* * *Possess a valid driver’s license* * *Pass a drug test and physical examination* * *Pass a background investigation and fingerprinting, which includes; no felony convictions; no misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement; no misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence.* * *Must demonstrate good moral character as determined by a thorough background investigation.* *Benefits: * * *Paid vacation, sick leave and holidays* * *Comprehensive **health insurance* *and **life insurance with accidental death and dismemberment benefits* * *Supplemental Dental, Vision, Life, Disability and Hospitalization insurance* * *Tuition-Free college courses* * *457 Tax Deferred Retirement Plan* *Correctional Officers* *may also qualify for additional benefits: * * *&;Special Risk&; Retirement benefits* * *Criminal Justice Incentive Pay up to $1,560.00 annually ($130.00 per month)* * *Annual uniform and shoe allowance of $325.00* * *Annual salary additive of approximately $1,200 when employed in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, or St. Lucie counties* * *Annual salary additive of approximately $2,500 when employed in Palm Beach, Broward, Dade or Monroe counties.* *Below are the next steps to becoming a Correctional Officer: * * *Step 1 - Apply in the People First system. (Click “Apply Now” at the top or bottom of this page.)* * *Step 2 - Submit an FDC Correctional Officer Supplemental Application and Willingness Questionnaire, DC2-854. (You will be emailed this form the next business day after the online application is submitted.)* * *Step 3 - FDC Recruitment Center will begin the process of conducting a Background Screening. * *Note: Consideration as a correctional officer applicant begins upon completion of step 1 and 2.* *Please visit [website] for additional information about working for the Florida Department of Corrections. You may also contact the Florida Department of Corrections Recruitment Center at (850) 717-3000 for assistance with your application process. If you experience problems applying online, please call the People First Service Center at 1-877-562-7287. Only electronic applications will be accepted.* Job Type: Full-time Pay: From $33,500.00 per year Benefits: * 401(k) * Dental insurance * Employee assistance program * Health insurance * Life insurance * Paid time off * Retirement plan * Tuition reimbursement * Vision insurance Schedule: * 12 hour shift * 8 hour shift * Day shift * Holidays * Monday to Friday * Night shift * Overtime * Weekend availability Supplemental Pay: * Signing bonus Education: * High school or equivalent (Required) * Driver's License (Required) Work Location: Multiple Locations

What does a Correctional Officer do?

Correctional Officers work closely with inmates in their living quarters to oversee and monitor their daily activities. They can work for governmental institutions or for private prisons. Correctional Officers record the events of each day and make note of any confrontations or other issues. They confiscate contraband and determine when to discipline inmates who break protocol. Correctional Officers can also act as an escort when taking inmates to court hearings, health clinics, classrooms and recreation areas. They distribute supplies and ensure that inmates get proper care and protection from harm while in custody.

Correctional Officer skills and qualifications

A successful Correctional Officer candidate needs these skills and qualifications:

  • Good writing skills to create clear reports
  • Strong verbal communication skills to interact with inmates and coworkers
  • Leadership skills to maintain order and control
  • Ability to work 12-hour shifts or longer
  • Fluency in English 
  • Ability to pass a minimum fitness test
  • Sound judgment skills to make good decisions in high-stress situations

Correctional Officer Salary Expectations

A Correctional Officer makes an average salary of $37,998 per year. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Correctional Officer education and training requirements

The minimum educational requirement for a Correctional Officer is a high school diploma or GED. A hiring preference is given to applicants with a military or law enforcement background, a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or criminal justice or cultural diversity training. 

Correctional Officer experience requirements

Typical experience requirements for a Correctional Officer vary. Some join an organization with a high level of experience while others have no direct experience at all. Training is often given to all new officers regardless of prior experience to ensure that a facility is operated according to the standards regulated by the State Department of Corrections.

Job description samples for similar positions

We hope this job description sample serves you well in creating your own job listing. If not, you may like to review the following example:

Frequently asked questions about Correctional Officers


What qualities make a good Correctional Officer?

Working as a Correctional Officer is an extremely stressful job, so good Correctional Officers are excellent at stress-management and staying calm under pressure. They are highly organized and authoritative with the ability to communicate clearly with others, even if they are distressed or angry. Good Correctional Officers remain calm in stressful situations and are able to appropriately use peer-to-peer conversations and humor to eliminate tension. They are very perceptive and pick up on social cues and inmate mannerisms to direct them to the help they need before a serious situation occurs.


What is the difference between a Correctional Officer and a Detention Officer?

While some institutions use the titles of Correctional Officer and Detention Officer interchangeably, they can indicate a different set of responsibilities. Correctional Officers are generally in charge of supervising inmates in larger facilities such as state or federal prisons. They work with people who have been convicted of a crime and focus on maintaining order in their housing quarters. Detention Officers work at small institutions such as county jails and supervise people who are still awaiting trial. Detention Officers accompany people to their court hearings, process intake forms and supervise visitation.


Who does a Correctional Officer report to?

Correctional Officers report directly to a Senior Correctional Officer who has extensive experience at a particular facility. All ranks of Correctional Officers report to an institution’s Warden, who oversees all of the operations at their facility. The Warden delegates tasks to Senior Correctional Officers who keep their team updated on best practices and create schedules. Correctional Officers have to meticulously record their behavior and provide updates to their ranking officer at the end of each shift.


What should you look for on a Correctional Officer's resume?

A Correctional Officer’s resume should emphasize the candidate’s ability to manage other people and respond to emergency situations. Experience in criminal justice, social services and security can easily transfer to a Correctional Officer position. Certifications in first aid, crisis management and self-defense can indicate a highly experienced candidate who would excel in a Correctional Officer role. The skills section of their resume should emphasize discipline, initiative and integrity to indicate they are trustworthy enough to be in a position of authority over inmates.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

No search results found

    *Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your career or legal advisor, and none of the information provided herein guarantees a job offer.