Corrections officers keep order and enforce rules in jails and prisons.
Corrections officers monitor the activities and work assignments of inmates. They enforce rules, inspect cells and other areas for fire, safety, or health hazards. They inspect locks, doors, and window bars for signs of tampering to prevent escapes. Sometimes they search inmates or their cells for illegal items, such as weapons or drugs. They screen visitors and mail for prohibited items.
Corrections officers keep a daily log of inmate activities. They report on inmate behavior and the quality of the work inmates do. They report problems such as rule violations or gaps in security. They settle disputes and enforce rules. Sometimes they run educational or recreational programs and offer some counseling.
Most corrections officers have a high level of contact with inmates. They serve meals and hand out personal items. They escort inmates to places within and outside of the prison.
In high security institutions corrections officers monitor inmates from a central control center. They use closed circuit television cameras and a computer tracking system. They sometimes restrain prisoners when taking them to and from cells.
Corrections officers in small facilities may work alone. Those in larger cellblocks usually work with other officers.
Corrections officers who work directly with inmates do not carry weapons. They carry communication devices so they can call for help if needed. They sometimes use physical force to maintain order among inmates. They may use weapons and restraints such as:
- Pepper spray
Most corrections officers work for police or sheriffs' departments in city or county jails. Others work in state or federal prisons.