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:


Example 1

*Correctional Officer I * Correctional Service Canada Abbotsford, BC; Agassiz, BC; Bath, ON; Campbellford, ON; Donnacona, QC; Dorchester, NB; Drumheller, AB; Edmonton, AB; Grande Cache, AB; Gravenhurst, ON; Innisfail, AB; Kingston, ON; Laval, QC; Mission, BC; Port-Cartier, QC; Prince Albert, SK; Renous, NB; Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, QC; Saskatoon, SK; Springhill, NS; Stony Mountain, MB; Winnipeg, MB. CX-01 - Correctional Officer I Indeterminate $66,974 to $84,045 *Closing date: 14 September [phone number]23:59, Pacific Time * *Who can apply: * Persons residing in Canada and Canadian citizens residing abroad. *Important messages* Allowance FOR Recruits Correctional Service of Canada recruits receive an allowance* of $400/week, up to a maximum of $5,600 for 14 weeks, during Stage 3 of the Correctional Training Program. This allowance, paid bi-weekly, is in addition to the meal and hospitality fees already covered for recruits at this same stage of CTP. Indigenous candidates may be eligible for an allowance for participation in CTP Stage 3 through either the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) or a local Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISET) stakeholder. For more information on how to access training support dollars please consult the NWAC website at [website] or scroll through the following website to access a local agreement holder at [website] *Work environment* Correctional Officers I are essential to fulfilling the Correctional Service of Canada's(CSC) mission of enhancing public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure, and humane control. *Intent of the process* This is an ongoing inventory, the applications received will be periodically accessed and selected applicants will be contacted for further assessment. *Information you must provide* Your résumé. *The following will be applied / assessed at a later date (essential for the job)* Various language requirements English Essential French Essential Bilingual Imperative BBB/BBB Bilingual Imperative --B/--B Information on language requirements Education: A secondary school diploma, or a satisfactory score on the Public Service Commission (PSC) test approved as an alternative to a secondary school diploma; or successful completion of a provincially/territorially approved secondary school equivalency test. Note: Candidates with foreign credentials must provide proof of Canadian equivalency. For further information, please consult link below. Degree equivalency Occupational Certification: The candidate must obtain and maintain a valid Standard First Aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) 'Level C' with automated external defibrillator (AED) certificate from a qualified provider approved by any in Canada, and in accordance with Part XVI of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. Competencies: Demonstrating integrity and respect, including the CSC values* Thinking things through Working effectively with others Showing initiative and being action-oriented * [website] Abilities Ability to communicate effectively orally *Conditions of employment* The candidate must successfully complete the CSC Correctional Training Program (CTP).* * [website] Driver'S License: Prior to appointment, candidate must possess a valid unrestricted driver's license that conforms to provincial or territorial requirements. As a condition of employment, candidate must maintain valid unrestricted driver's license throughout employment. For the province of Quebec: Possess a valid Class 4A driver’s license (Emergency Vehicle) granted by the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Medical: The candidate must meet the medical requirements of Health Canada in accordance with Treasury Board Guidelines. Psychological: The candidate must also meet the psychological requirements determined by Correctional Service of Canada. Reliability AND Security: Enhanced Reliability status. *All job applications must be submitted through the Public Service Resourcing System. To consult the full job advertisement and apply, please click above on **“Apply on Company Site”.* Job Type: Full-time Salary: per year Benefits: * Company pension * Dental care * Disability insurance * Employee assistance program * Extended health care * Life insurance * Paid time off * Vision care Schedule: * 8 hour shift * Day shift * Holidays * Monday to Friday * Night shift * Overtime * Weekends Work remotely: * No

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

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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

A Correctional Officer oversees individuals in jails and prisons as they await trial after being convicted and while serving time for their crimes. A Probation Officer supervises people outside of the correctional facility that are on probation with authorization from a Judge. This can be to watch them and help them through the rehabilitation process.

Who does a Correctional Officer report to?

Correctional Officers often report directly to the Correctional Supervisor.

Must Correctional Officers be Police Officers?

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. 

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