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Criminal Justice Articles

Working in County Corrections

If you have a desire to work in the county corrections system you will find that you could have a career as a correctional officer or detention officer.  The job can certainly have its challenges at times but it is also very rewarding if you do realize what type of positive impact you can have on the inmates.  In order to make a decision if you are a good fit for working in county corrections you need to understand the job details, required education, and training; plus, the job outlook information for the county jail corrections or detention officers’ career.

Understand the job details of a county jail correctional officer

The main focus of correction officers from every prison system (federal, state, or county) is the same.  You need to maintain order and keep a watchful eye on inmates.  You are there to keep discipline.  County corrections officers do have law enforcement privileges when they are at work.  It is important to remember that those privileges should not be abused or you could be subject to criminal charges yourself.  As an officer your authority lies within the walls of the correctional facility you work for.  The only exceptions to that rule are when you are on official business and escorting an inmate to a medical appointment, court appointment, or other approved appointment.

Things like fraternizing and being personal with inmates is not encouraged because it makes the lines too unclear between the correctional officer and their authority over the inmates.  That is why correctional officers are expected to stay professional but still be respectful to inmates and their rights.

Required education and training to become a correctional officer for the county

County correctional officers are required to have a high school diploma before they would ever be considered for a job within the county correctional system.  Many counties and states also have a minimum age that ranges anywhere from eighteen to twenty-one for all candidates.  Without secondary education most county corrections officers will start at entry-level positions to learn the ropes of what it takes to work in the system.  Before being hired eligible candidates for the position will need to pass written and physical exams to make sure they are suited for the job.  At times a corrections job can be very physical if you are dealing with uncooperative inmates.  The written portion of the test is to ensure that you know, understand, and are willing to follow the rules that are in place.  Those rules are designed to protect both officers and inmates alike.

What happens when you work in county corrections

County jails account for nearly 3/4ths of all correctional workers in the system.  The other common name that county corrections officers are referred to is detention officers.  The reason they are also referred to as detention officers is because many times they are just detaining an inmate for a short period of time.  It all depends on what the inmate is in custody for.  Many times they are just waiting for bail to post, to sober up, or for a transfer to another facility.  County correctional officers need to be able to remember and track inmates to make sure that they are remembering everybody that should be there.  Obviously, a lost inmate is not a good thing and every safety procedures imaginable should be in place to prevent that from happening.

Every year the number of county correctional officers continues to grow.  That trend is expected to continue rising for a while.  If you are interested in working in this field you should check out what the requirements are at the facility you’d like to work at.

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