Prison Guard



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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
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Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University was among the first colleges or universities to teach on military bases and has been educating servicemen and women since 1973.
Programs Offered:
  • MS: Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • AA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: 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

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Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University was among the first colleges or universities to teach on military bases and has been educating servicemen and women since 1973.
Programs Offered:
  • MS: Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • AA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • And more...

 
Purdue University Global

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.

Programs Offered:
  • BS in Corrections
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  • MS in Criminal Justice
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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

 
Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
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Post University Online
Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.
Programs Offered:
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  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
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Michigan State University

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

 

A top global university, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery to make a better world while providing students with life-changing opportunities.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis

 
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)

 
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:
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration

 
Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph’s University is a comprehensive, regionally accredited university. Our national rankings and AACSB accreditation in the Haub School indicate the high quality of our undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs both online and on campus. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually, spiritually and emotionally through a unique curriculum, and advanced study in a chosen discipline.

Programs Offered:
  • MS in Criminal Justice - General Track
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Behavior Management Track
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Behavior Analysis Track

 
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