Code of Conduct for Correctional Officers

Correctional officers must follow strict guidelines.

Correctional officers must follow strict guidelines.

As a correctional officer, you must adhere to a strict code of conduct that governs your behavior on and off the job, your interactions with inmates and other people, and what you can and can’t talk about once you no longer work as a correctional officer. Failing to comply with this code of conduct, or engaging in behaviors that embarrass or negatively affect the correctional department, can result in disciplinary action and even termination.

Legal Obligations

As a correctional officer, you agree to follow laws spelled out in the U.S. Constitution as well as other relevant federal, state or local laws. You also agree to follow department rules, regulations and policies. Failing to do so can result in corrective action, as can failing to report to your supervisor when you learn of others who violate this basic tenet of working as a correctional officer.

Behavior

You must be honest, impartial, courteous, considerate and kind. You must be firm but fair when performing your duties, such as when disciplining an inmate. You must never act in a way that embarrasses your employer, such as fighting. You can neither reveal anything you learn during the course of your employment nor use anything you learn for personal gain.

Inmate Interactions

You can’t discriminate against or show favoritism toward an inmate because of her race, gender, creed, national origin or sexual orientation. You cannot sexually harass an inmate or engage in sexual activity or a relationship with an inmate. Touching is allowed only when you need to in order to do your job. You also agree to report violations that you observe or learn about during the course of your employment.

Conflicts of Interest

You cannot engage in any behavior or additional employment that can create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. For example, you cannot have a second job at a company that provides services for or supplies goods to a correctional facility. You also cannot accept a gift, favor, service, or anything that has value from a vendor, other interested party, an inmate, or a member of an inmate’s family.

Employment Separation

At the outset of your employment with a correctional facility, you agree to what you can and can’t do and say when you’re no longer employed there. For example, you can’t share information you learned during the course of your employment if that information is not otherwise in the public domain. You also can’t use information you learned during your employment to benefit yourself or someone else.

 

About the Author

William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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