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Correctional Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

Correctional Officers, or Prison Officers, enforce prison or jail rules and supervise inmate activities. Their duties include transporting and escorting inmates, searching for contraband, and inspecting prison facilities to ensure safety and security standards.

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Correctional Officer duties and responsibilities

Correctional Officers are assigned areas to patrol during shifts and may also be required to oversee large areas such as the prison cafeteria. Additional duties and responsibilities of Correctional Officers include: 

  • Enforcing facility rules and regulations and ensuring order within prison facilities and jail houses
  • Supervising the activities of inmates and performing regular headcounts
  • Identifying unusual behaviour among inmates and recording them in regular reports to ensure safety and security
  • Escorting inmates to job sites, classrooms, medical facilities, and other locations in a secure and timely manner
  • Assisting fellow Correctional Officers and other coworkers with the management of inmates
  • Conducting regular searches in inmate cells, showers, and recreation areas to find unauthorized items
  • Responding quickly to de-escalate confrontational situations
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Correctional Officer Job Description Examples:

What does a Correctional Officer do? 

Correctional Officers assist organizations in building and maintaining discipline in a correctional facility. They enforce rules that help prevent inmates from causing harm to themselves and others. The enforcement of rules can be accomplished through effective communication and sometimes punishments like revoking privileges.

Correctional Officers often work in rehabilitation organizations across all levels of government. They rehabilitate inmates by scheduling work assignments, counselling, and other educational activities. Correctional Officers also periodically inspect prison facilities and cells to assess conditions, check for contraband, and identify possible security breaches.

Correctional Officer skills and qualifications

Correctional Officers need excellent judgement and decision-making skills to choose the right course of action in confrontational situations. Additional skills and qualifications that Correctional Officers require to perform well in their profession include: 

  • Excellent communication skills to interact well with inmates and co-workers, and to prepare verbal and written observations and reports
  • Ability to maintain composure in challenging situations
  • Ability to establish and observe rules and regulations in a facility
  • Ability to work effectively as an individual and within a team to support co-workers when needed
  • Excellent adaptability in fast-paced, high-risk situations
  • A good criminal record, as well as previous working and attendance records
  • Physical fitness and stamina to go through training activities
  • Ability to work long hours with frequent standing and walking

Correctional Officers experience requirements

Correctional Officer job descriptions usually call for applicants that possess previous work experience in rehabilitative environments or related fields. Candidates must have experience utilizing the appropriate methods and procedures to process inmates. Applicants with additional military or law enforcement experience are often preferred. Entry-level candidates with experience in providing counselling, assistance, and supervision to individuals are also well-suited to the position.

Correctional Officer education and training requirements

Entry-levels Correctional Officers must have a secondary school diploma, a satisfactory score on the Public Service Commission test, or successful completion of a provincially/territorially approved secondary school equivalency. Additional training in behavioural science, criminology, or correctional services is preferred. Candidates must also obtain a valid standard first aid and CPR certificate from a qualified provider approved in Canada.

Correctional Officer salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Correctional Officer is $56,733 per year in Canada. This rate may depend on factors such as level of experience, education, location and company.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Correctional Officer is not quite what you’re looking for, here are some other job description samples that may fit your needs:

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Correctional Officer job description FAQs

What makes a good Correctional Officer job description?

A good Correctional Officer job description must be clear and concise. It must include a descriptive scope of the job and the organization. For instance, it would be important to know the number of inmates in a facility, the organization’s mission and vision, and the type of services required. A good Correctional Officer job description should use broad keywords (i.e., prison, officer, supervise) to appear among the most relevant search results.

What's the difference between a Correctional Officer and a Probation Officer

Unless they plan to transfer into the police unit, Correctional Officers don’t have to attend police training academies. Instead, they attend an eight-week specialized training program known as the Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program. Most institutions require that candidates have a basic education level, a clean criminal history and a standard level of fitness.

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.

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