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Prison Guard


Description

There are many types of criminals, from multiple murderers to arsonists to people who cheat on their taxes. Regardless of the severity of the crime, however, anyone in prison is entitled to the protectionist services offered by prison guards, also known as correctional service officers.

These guards work in prisons and other correctional facilities, monitoring people who've been convicted of a criminal offense. They maintain order throughout the prison, and are on duty day and night, holidays and weekends. They watch inmates at work and at play, keep an eye on them during meal times and escort them to trials or on temporary leaves. They also patrol areas, checking doors, windows, and locks. They also do occasional checks of inmates' cells. They keep detailed reports about everything that goes on in the prison, in case they need to defend themselves, a fellow guard, or an inmate in court.

The drawback to this position is the possibility of riot, fire, fights, or escape attempts. Prison guards must therefore always be cautious, and prepared for any emergency. They should be ready to intervene in a dangerous situation--they should be calm, strong individuals who can command respect and obedience from all types on inmates, from mild-mannered first offenders to those trapped by a life of crime.

The positive side can often outweigh the negative, however. Many prison guards get to know inmates, and can assist them in learning new, appropriate behaviors through role modelling. They can make recommendations about offenders to the parole board and have a direct impact on the release of improved inmates, or the continued seclusion of those they consider dangerous. They also work with young offenders, and do what they can to ensure those troubled youths don't grow up to become adult offenders.
 
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Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Keiser University
Your Education, Your Schedule! Take one class at a time. Choose on campus, online, or both at Keiser University.
Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$22,010
 
Median Salary:
$32,670
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$52,370

  Interests and Skills  
Prison guards are mature, reliable people. They have a clean record, are patient, as well as motivated. They have excellent communication skills, and listen and write as well as they talk. They enjoy rising to a challenge, and are physically fit with a lot of stamina. They are leaders, who are non-judgmental and are open to many types of people from many backgrounds. They work well in a team, have good levels of concentration, and are confident in themselves and their abilities.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Monitor prisoners in a variety of locations (recreation facilities, dining halls, cell blocks)
  • Observe the conduct and behavior of inmates to prevent disturbances and escapes
  • Prepare discipline reports and case reports
  • Conduct searches of inmates, cells, vehicles and buildings
  • Accompany inmates to courtrooms, hospitals, and work sites
  • Advise National Parole Board on different offenders' behavior
  • The typical day for a prison guard involves a lot of watching, listening, and waiting for an action that requires a reaction from them. They may have to subdue an inmate or transport them from cell to cell, to a courthouse, or to locations within the prison. They write reports about daily actions of inmates and officers. They don't get to travel, unless accompanying a prisoner to trial.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Prison guards work in tough situations. The prisons and correctional institutions where they work can be dangerous. Violent behavior, drug abuse and alcohol consumption can elicit the worst behavior form the inmates, who may be verbally and physically abusive. However, dangerous situations are rare, and most of the time they work in dining halls, outdoor recreation centers, and monitoring cell blocks.
  • They are employed by either the federal or state correctional services. They work in shifts, often at night or on weekends and holidays. They work in a team of other officers and supervisors.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Prison guards can go on to become supervisor, customs officers, police and RCMP officers, and security guards in the private sector. They can become lawyers, human rights activists, and counsellors, social workers, or write about their experiences in books or magazines.
 

  Educational Paths  
In order to work as a prison guard, you need a high school diploma, and some experience working with people in crisis. It would also be a good idea if you got a diploma in correctional services, law and security, or a degree in law, criminology, psychology, or sociology.

You will also need to pass a medical examination, a physical assessment test, have a valid CPR and first aid certificate, and a valid driver's license. Training will be offered to successful applicants.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Keiser University
Your Education, Your Schedule! Take one class at a time. Choose on campus, online, or both at Keiser University.
Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

 
Grand Canyon University
Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
Programs Offered:
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • B.S. in Public Safety and Emergency Management

 
San Joaquin Valley College

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

Programs Offered:
  • Degree - Criminal Justice: Corrections

 
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (11-Month Diploma Program)

 
Argosy University

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (BS)

 
Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology

 
South University, Online Programs

Designed with the needs of working adult students in mind, South University, Online Programs is built on the similar curriculum offered at South University's campus locations. As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (MS)
  • Criminal Justice (BS)

 
Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) offers career relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners.

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelors in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration

 
Ohio Christian University
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

 
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