Prison officer

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U.S. Marines military police officer shows restraints used for transporting detainees at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (January 10, 2002).
Corrections Officer
Names Correctional Officer,

Corrections Officer, Detention Officer, Detention Deputy, Deputy Sheriff,

Penal officer
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Law enforcement
Competencies See Working environment
Education required
See Training
Related jobs
Police officer

A prison officer (UK[1] and Ireland,[2] and the official English title in Denmark,[3] Finland,[4] and Sweden[5]), also known as corrections officer (New Zealand,[6] US[7][8]), correctional officer (Australia,[9] Canada,[10][11][12] Jamaica,[13] and US[14]), detention officer (US[15]) or penal officer (US[16]), is a person responsible for the supervision, safety, and security of prisoners in a prison, jail, or similar form of secure custody. Historically, terms such as jailer (also spelled jailor or gaoler), jail guard, prison guard, and turnkey[17] have also been used.

Corrections Officers are responsible for the care, custody, and control of individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial while on remand or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a prison or jail. They are also responsible for the safety and security of the facility itself. Most officers are employed by the government of the jurisdiction in which they operate, though some are employed by private companies. Private Guard companies are not considered Law Enforcement, and as such, cannot statutorily carry firearms off-duty without a concealed weapons permit, unlike most state and county Corrections Officers.


A turnkey of a Paris prison, 19th century

Prison officers must maintain order and daily operations of the facility and are responsible for the care, custody, and control of inmates. A correction officer has a responsibility to control inmates who may be dangerous, and that society themselves do not wish to accommodate. An officer must always prevent disturbances, assaults, and escapes by supervising activities and work assignments of inmates. Officers have a responsibility to protect the public from incarcerated criminals, protect fellow officers from inmates and protect inmates from other inmates at all times. An officer must be alert and aware of any and all movement taking place inside the facility. Prevention is one of the key components to an officer's duties. Officers can utilize prevention by routinely searching inmates and their living quarters for potential threats such as weapons or drugs. An officer must make their presence known at all times and remain assertive and refuse to back down. An officer must be a disciplinarian and enforce the rules and punish when rules are violated. Correction officers also must take full concern for the health and safety of the facility. Officers check for unsanitary conditions, fire hazards, and/or any evidence of tampering or damage to locks, bars, grilles, doors, and gates. Officers must screen all incoming and outgoing mail as well as all visitors as a prevention method for future issues that could cause risk to safety and security of the facilities, inmates and staff. Correction officers also must assist in transportation responsibilities that may include transfers to other facilities, medical appointments, court appearances and other approved locations. Correction officers may assist police officer's on/off duty depending on their peace officer status and jurisdiction.[18]


Corrections officers' training will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as well as facility to facility depending on the legislated power given, the nature of the facilities, or even the socioeconomics of the region. Training may be provided by external agencies or at the facility with a peer-group or supervisor instructor.

In North America, standard training usually includes:

Many jurisdictions have also, in recent years, expanded basic training to include:

See also


  1. "Working for HMPS". UK Government. Retrieved 18 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Irish Prison Service – Recruitment. Retrieved 29 November 2011
  3. The Danish Prison and Probation Service – General Information, page 5 Retrieved 2012-07-07
  4. The Training Institute for Prison and Probation Services, Finland Retrieved 29 November 2011
  5. Swedish Prison and Probation Service – Fact Sheet. Retrieved 29 November 2011
  6. New Zealand Department of Corrections – Job Description. Retrieved 29 November 2011
  7. Indeed: Corrections Officer Salary Retrieved 2012-07-07
  8. Yukon Department of Justice website Retrieved 29 November 2011
  9. Queensland Corrective Services – Employment Information Retrieved 2012-07-07
  10. Correctional Service Canada – Correctional officer job profile Retrieved 29 November 2011
  11. Ontario Correctional Services – Careers Retrieved 29 November 2011
  12. British Columbia Corrections – Employment Information Retrieved 29 November 2011
  13. Jamaica Department of Correctional Service – Roles of Correctional Officer Retrieved 29 November 2011
  14. US Department of Labor – Correctional Officer job statistics Retrieved 29 November 2011
  15. FBI Atlanta: Former Fulton County Detention Officer Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison Retrieved 2012-07-07
  16. Career Occupational Profile for: Penal Officer Retrieved 2014-03-17
  17. Ontario Provincial Secretary and the Inspector of Prisons' report on the Toronto Central Prison Retrieved 29 November 2011
  18. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 Edition