What is a Detention Officer?
Detention officers work in the prison or jail system. They work under sheriffs and marshals. Their job is to help sheriffs and marshals keep an eye on prisoners while they are in jail or prison.
This is a big undertaking. Keeping an eye on convicted criminals is not as easy as one might think. In the course of performing their duties, detention officers will do the following:
1. Book prison inmates into jail processing center. This is where they interview and classify prisoners.
2. Transport prison inmates between courts, jails, and workplace.
3. Keep an eye on jail alarms, control doors, and surveillance equipments.
4. Monitor prisoners’ behavior and make adjustments to this behavior if and when necessary.
5. Supervise prison inmates as they perform their duties while in prison.
6. Monitor prison inmates in recreational areas.
7. Observe inmates in dining areas.
8. Monitor and observe prison inmates and their visitors. This is to make sure nothing inappropriate happens between inmates and visitors.
9. Maintain and update prisoner records and logs. Proper record and log comes in handy during prisoner parole hearing.
The job of a detention officer is demanding. As you can see above, it requires somebody with attention for details.
This job can be stressful. Convicted criminals are a challenge and a handful.
How to Become a Detention Officer:
The requirement to become a detention officer varies a little bit from one prison system to another. The most common ones are:
a. You Must be 18 years of age
b. You Must be a US Citizen
c. You Must have High School Diploma or GED
d. You Must Pass a Background Check
Add to the above is that you must go through detention officers training. This training will last anywhere from 3 weeks to 10 weeks, depending on the prison system.
Additional requirements we have found from some prison systems are that you must have at least 2 years of previous work experience. This experience can be substituted with 2 years of college education. This is a one to one trade off.
Detention Officer Salary:
Detention officers make about $31000 per year to start. This salary can rise to as much as $48000 per year with experience.
If you are serious about a career as a detention officer in the criminal justice field, you should seriously consider getting at least a certificate or associate degree in criminal justice. Since you will be working for sheriffs and marshals, chances are they will consider you first if they are looking for deputy sheriffs or deputy marshals.
Detention Officer School:
One certificate we will recommend is the correction officer certificate. You can get it in a few short months. Kaplan University offers this certificate online. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to check it out. The information is free and you can be better informed about the certificate. Click here to request for it.
Criminal Justice Careers