T Nation

Anyone a Correctional Officer ?

The prison near me is having interviews on Saturday for Correctional Officers, and I was thinking of applying. The only requirements are a high school diploma, and being 19 or older. I was just wondering if anyone here knows what it’s like, it seems like something I might possibly be interested in.

Only thing is, I read that some of the functions for the job are things like backup in riot control, and stuff like that. Are people who do this kind of job usually fairly big? I’m 19, 5’11, and 180lbs (although I’m gaining weight now, I had to cut for a while in order to compete in a tournament in my weight class). I guess I just kind of want to know what it’s like. I have around 13 or 14 years experience in martial arts though, figure I might as well do something that could possibly involve them.

Do you really want to be in a prison all day, even as a guard? I would rank that job as my last possible option, lower than cleaning horse stalls.

The State run prisons in Colorado have pretty high standards. I believe you need a minimum of an associates degree to be hired. The pay is pretty good as well. I believe they start you out around 32,000 a yr with State benefits.

Over the last ten years many private prisons have sprung up throughout the US. I have know a few people that have worked at these type of facilities and from what I’ve heard from them it sounds pretty bad! Low pay combined with a high turnover rate and undermanned staff equate to undermanned facilities and long hours for little pay. I think the private prison here in Colorado start off around $9.00 or $10.00 bucks an hour.

And, remember, you are working with societys assholes, they throw shitbombs on the staff, try to assault them, are always looking for a weakness to exploit. Well thats my perpective that I could offer, good luck if you do it!

Thanks for the replies. Another big reason why I was thinking about it, was because starting pay is $30,000, right now, due to my inability to find a halfway decent job, I’m making less than half of that. Where I work right now, it’s basically when I’m needed, about two or three days a week, part time.

I’ve turned in job applications for places like factories and things, but haven’t gotten hired anywhere. So I don’t know, I’m still considering going for an interview, I don’t really want to be stuck doing the job I have now until I’m out of college.

You do not have to be big to be a Correctional Officer, some states even use women in men’s correctional facilities.

Not sure if your martial arts training would even come into use in being a CO. There are strict rules in CO and Inmate contact.

I worked for two years as a correctional ofc. One in super-max and segregation, the second in work-release.

You don’t have to be big to be a CO. One of the most respected COs at my facility was a 110lb woman. All depends how you carry yourself. Being big and masculine helps, but it is not going to do everything for you.

Martial arts experience helps, but it is not a big deal. Usually it was just me and sixty-five inmates in pod… I do not care how bad you are, if sixty-five guys decide they want to kick your ass, they are gonna do it. That is also why you are not armed… one gun vs. sixty-five guys; better hope it is fully auto fifty cal.

Eventually I quit. Seemed to me that if I stayed it was gonna steal my soul. That is just me though. I have difficulty imagining anyone actually enjoys the job, but some say they do.

My advice: try it if you think you can handle it, quit if you decide you cannot or do not want to. If not nothing else, you will gain some of that life experience everyone is always talking about.

Feel free to ask if you have more questions.

My buddy is one and loves it. His job is cake. He works thrid shift and they basically sleep all night. That is a local county prison which is mostly dui, fights, and such things. He is trying to get into the bigger prison which has some real criminals in it. I’d say go for it.

I’m not a CO, but I do work for Adult Probation as a PO for the local govt. The local Sheriffs dept requires all new academy grads to work as COs for about a year before they can transfer to traffic, etc.

Since we have one consolidated facility, I get in quite often. The best advice I can give you is to be situationally aware. Like some have said, being big helps, but only goes so far. Just be calm, collected and sure in what youare doing, and never play favorites. You will hear every kind of excuse/scam/story, so be prepared. But just be good about not taking anything for granted, and be aware of what goes on around you. Fights aren’t that common, but when the code comes over the radio you go, and go now.

Use it as an opportunity to get you school finished and get out. Transfer to another part of the LEO community when you can.

Once again, don’t be dirty, keep your soul and stay clean and fair. Always fair.


This fat ass my mom used to date was a corrections officer at a max security prison. He told me a story about an inmate who tried to stab him. He also said that there was a huge turnover rate; people didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. I think the risks definately outweigh the rewards.

There have been a bunch of shows on prison life latley on Discover and National Geographic.

I would watch some documentaries and read some essays on prison life and work.

Its a tough job I would spend some time researching it. I have heard that its very stressfull and fucked up shit happens all the time, inmates throwing feces, urine, or blood on you. In addition to assaults and such.

Good luck.

I was a corrections officer for 5 years before promoting out. Did almost the whole time as a maximum security institution. It was cool for a while. I got to do a lot of things and really saw how subhuman people can be. Murders, rapes, just a total disregard for other’s rights.

Who in their right mind feels the need to fill a cup with urine, feces, and semen, shake it up, and throw it on somebody? I was lucky enough to never get my ass kicked, but I came close. I’m not big, and I was a lot smaller when I started, but if you win a fight, you’ll probably get fired anyway. You can only utilize what you are trained to do, otherwise the state will not back you in court.

In all, I can say it was a positive experience. I got onto the tactical team (swat)after two years, so I got to get a whole lot more training than the average CO. One thing for sure, you’ll have lots of stories to tell. I could write a book just on the 8 months I spent in supermax. Funniest thing I saw was when we tossed a flashbang/OC grenade into a guys cell, he just stood there and looked at it, the BOOM!!! (we hadn’t been allowed to use them prior to that). Those things will take the fight out of anybody.