What Are the Duties of a Corrections Officer?

Corrections officers perform pat-downs to check for contraband.
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Working in jails, reformatories and prisons, corrections officers dedicate -- and risk -- their lives every day to protect the public from criminals serving time behind bars. They also look out for the safety of inmates during their sentences. If you're interested in becoming a corrections officer, you should learn about all aspects of the job and the duties you'll perform. Responsibilities vary slightly from one institution to another, but there are some duties you can count on having anywhere.

Enforcing Rules

    Jails and prisons are home to many different types of criminals -- including violent, dangerous ones. In order to keep everyone in the institution safe, strict rules are in place. The amount and severity of the rules is determined by the level of security. For example, maximum security prisons tend to have far more rules and regulations than county jails. Corrections officers are in charge of monitoring inmate behavior and make sure that no rules are being broken. In the event inmates do break rules, corrections officers may handle punishment accordingly, or they may need to report the disturbance to a higher authority for consequences to be handed down.

Supervising Inmates

    Other than in maximum security facilities or solitary wards, inmates are not usually confined to their cells around the clock. Corrections officers are in charge of knowing where every inmate is at all times. Most institutions provide an outdoor recreation area, a cafeteria and a common area for inmates to use. Some assign inmates work duties and tasks or offer classes inmates can participate in. Corrections officers supervise all of these activities and make sure inmates are obeying the rules and behaving themselves during them.

Performing Inspections

    From cell phones and tablets to drugs and weapons, corrections officers have lists of items that are prohibited inside the facilities they work in, and must periodically check every inmate -- as well as their cells -- to make sure none of the forbidden items have found their way in. They pat-down inmates to make sure they aren't trying to hide any items, and search every inch of their cells for contraband that's been stashed away.

Aid in Rehabilitation

    Many correctional facilities offer enrichment and rehabilitation opportunities to inmates to help better themselves while behind bars. Corrections officer might aid in arranging these opportunities. For example, they may schedule work duties or cleaning tasks, arrange counseling appointments or help inmates find educational opportunities.

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