how to become a correctional officer in ca

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how to become a correctional officer in ca

Correctional Officer is an entry-level-class job in California. Candidates who are accepted for the position attend a 16-week training program followed by a two-year apprenticeship at a correctional institution. Candidates must be willing to relocate to work at any of the more than 30 correctional facilities located throughout the state.

Correctional officers in California earn a monthly salary of $3,050 while at the academy and $3,774 and up after the academy with a top pay of $6,144 per month.

California is also home to a large number of federal correctional facilities, community corrections centers and administrative offices. The federal correctional facilities include

Federal Correctional Institution Herlong—houses 1,715 males in medium and minimum facilities
Federal Correctional Institution Dublin—houses 1,425 males and females in low and minimum security
U.S. Penitentiary Atwater—Houses 1,604 males in high security prison and a low security camp
Federal Correctional Institution Mendota—houses 757 male inmates in medium and minimum custody
Federal Correctional Complex—includes U.S. Penitentiary Lompoc which holds 1,479 male inmates in medium security, and 512 males in a minimum security camp, as well as FCI Lompoc which houses 1,481 males in low security
Metropolitan Detention Center Los Angeles—houses 913 males and females in detention
Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island—houses 1,166 males in low security
Metropolitan Correctional Center San Diego—holds 964 males and females awaiting trial or transition
Federal Correctional Complex—Includes a 1,490 population high security U.S. penitentiary, and two medium security facilities housing 3,515 males
Job Description of Correctional Officer in California
A correctional officer’s responsibilities differ with the facility design, geographic location, number of inmates, security level of inmates and assignment area, such as inmate housing units, kitchen, yard, towers, reception areas, gun ports or control booths. An officer’s duties may include any of the following:

Subdue/restrain inmates
Escort inmates to and from work assignments or activities
Stand guard at armed posts
Oversee inmate work
Inspect inmate quarters for contraband
Conduct body searches
Handle emergency situations
Do surveillance from towers
Examine incoming/outgoing mail
Write reports and memoranda
Minimum Requirements for Correctional Officer Jobs in California
Federal Correctional Officers

Federal correctional officers may join the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the GS-5 level with these qualifications:

U.S. citizen (Some hard to fill positions may permit non-citizen hiring)
At least 21 years of age and younger than 37
No serious criminal history
No history of financial delinquency
Bachelor’s degree; or
At least three years of full time experience in
Supervision or management
Sales of services or products
Child care
Religious instruction
Emergency response

More qualified applicants have the option of entering the BOP at the GS-6 if they meet one or both of these requirements:

Have completed at least 14 quarter hours or nine semester hours of graduate coursework in
Social science
Criminal justice
Have at least one year of full time experience in
Law enforcement
Mental health treatment
The salary for GS-5 employees is between $31,315 and $40,706, while GS-6 employees earn salaries ranging from $34,907 toi $45,376.

State Correctional Officers

U.S. citizen (or applicant) at least 21 years old
High school graduate (GED acceptable)
No felony convictions
Good physical condition
Eligible to possess/use firearms
Knowledge of the purposes and methods of custodial discipline
Ability to do basic arithmetic
Competence in English grammar and spelling
Capable of remembering names and faces
Ability to control and instruct inmates
Be Emotionally stable
Possess a sympathetic and objective understanding of persons in custody
Hiring Process for Correctional Officer in California
Federal Bureau of Prisons

The hiring process for federal correctional officer jobs in California begins by searching for open positions on Applicants must complete a questionnaire verifying they are eligible for correctional officer jobs. An application may be submitted online, along with digital uploads of supporting documents like transcripts, resumes and military veteran documents.

Following approval, candidates will be asked to interview with hiring personnel and submit to an intensive background investigation. A medical officer will also conduct a urinalysis drug screen as well as a medical checkup.

California Department of Corrections

The hiring process for those interested in learning how to become a California correctional officer may take as long as a year. Candidates who meet the basic requirements must progress through the following steps to be eligible for correctional officer jobs in California. Each component must be successfully completed before moving on to the next.

Written general knowledge examination
Vision test
Physical fitness test
Pre-investigation interview and background investigation
Written psychological test and oral psychological evaluation
Medical exam
Job offer
Training Academy
Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy

The 200 hour training program for federal correctional officers includes 80 hours of orientation held at the officer’s assigned facility. This is followed by a three week training program held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco, GA. This program will include

Physical Abilities Test
Correctional policies and procedures
Firearms training
After the first year, federal correctional officers are required to receive between 16 and 40 hours of additional training each year.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Academy

All new hires attend a 16-week training program at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Academy in Gail, a suburb of Sacramento. Cadets at the para-military-style academy are physically, mentally and emotionally challenged each and very day. Classroom and field classes are given in such courses as:

Physical fitness
Firearms, expandable baton and impact weapons training
Arrest/control tactics
Chemical agents
Restraint devices
Laws of arrest/rules of evidence
Report writing
Sociology of prison gangs
Constitutional rights and rights of the confined
The effect and use of force

Corrections Officer Salary in California
In California, correctional officers are paid at various salary ranges based on their experience, level of advancement, and the level of training they’ve completed:

Correctional Officer:

Range A: $36,600
Range B: $43,128 to $49,848
Range C: $57,768 to $70,212
Range J: $45,288 to $52,344
Range K: $60,660 to $73,728
Correctional Sergeant:

$68,100 to $82,704
According to the U.S. Department of Labor the median correctional officer salary in California as of 2012 was $72,120.

how to become a juvenile correctional officer in california

Juvenile correctional officers work specifically with youth who may need guidance, discipline or rehabilitation after committing a criminal offense. If you are interested in law, criminal justice or helping others, you may enjoy a career as a juvenile correctional officer. In this article, we discuss what a juvenile correctional officer is, how to become one and the salary and job outlook for the industry.

What is a juvenile correctional officer?
Juvenile correctional officers are law enforcement professionals who are in charge of incarcerated minors, or youth who are not of adult age. Sometimes juvenile correctional officers may have the title “youth specialist” and provide additional psychological or rehabilitation services to those under their supervision.

What does a juvenile correctional officer do?
Juvenile correctional officers keep correctional facilities peaceful and orderly. They may also guide inmates through mental, emotional and psychological challenges by acting as life coaches. Some daily job responsibilities of a juvenile correctional officer may include:

Collecting, recording and storing an inmate’s personal property
Communicating with inmates’ families, outside law enforcement, supervisors, coworkers, lawyers, transport personnel and community organizations
Conducting cell searches
Conducting crisis intervention programs
Diffusing physical altercations
Drafting incident reports and collecting items for evidence
Enforcing facility behavioral standards
Ensuring dormitories, recreation areas, housing units, dining areas, schooling facilities, work areas and counseling areas are safe for all residents and staff
Escorting inmates to appointments outside the facility
Maintaining and updating inmate records
Maintaining time cards and attendance records
Operating equipment and software
Providing individual and group counseling
Receiving incoming inmates or offenders
Searching, booking, fingerprinting and photographing inmates upon arrival at a facility
Serving as a role model for inmates
Training and evaluating staff

Skills of a juvenile correctional officer
Juvenile correctional officers may have skills in a variety of analytical and interpersonal areas to help them successfully perform their jobs. These attributes may include:

Juvenile correctional officers may spend most of their day communicating with inmates, coworkers and other personnel outside the facility. They may also write official reports that are sent to doctors, lawyers, counselors or government agencies. For these reasons, juvenile correctional officers can be skilled in both oral and written communication to more successfully complete these tasks.

Decision-making ability
Juvenile corrections officers may make quick decisions when interacting with inmates or completing other tasks. The ability to make a fast, accurate and rational decision may help them solve problems and overcome potential challenges.

For safety reasons, juvenile correctional officers learn how to stay focused on specific tasks or inmates without becoming distracted by other things happening around them. Developing techniques to block out excess noise or visual distractions may help them better assess situations and make rational, quick decisions.

Physical fitness
Juvenile correctional officers can benefit from being physically fit. Being able to lift heavy objects, run quickly or be agile may help them when conducting searches or helping move equipment, furniture or inmates.

Public speaking
Juvenile correctional officers may conduct counseling sessions for inmates, run programs in the recreation area or testify in court relating to a specific inmate or case. They may benefit from learning how to speak in public and be comfortable in doing so to best complete certain job duties.

How to become a juvenile correctional officer
Use these steps to learn how to become a juvenile correctional officer:

  1. Meet the minimum requirements
    To become a juvenile correctional officer, you must meet the minimum requirements as listed by state or federal mandates. These qualifications differ slightly by governing authority and may include:

State or local level
Those who choose to work for state or local juvenile correctional facilities must:

Be a United States resident or an eligible permanent resident alien
Be at least 21 years old
Be physically fit
Have a clean felony conviction record
Have a high school diploma or educational equivalent
Pass a background check
Federal level
Those who choose to work through the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) at federal juvenile correctional facilities must:

Be a United States citizen
Be between 21 and 36 years old*
Be eligible to own and possess a firearm
Be in good physical condition
Have a bachelor’s degree
Pass a drug test
Pass a medical exam
Pass a physical fitness test
Pass a psychological exam
Pass a written exam

  • The BOP may make age requirement exceptions for those with previous experience in federal law enforcement.
  1. Earn a high school diploma
    Juvenile correctional officers must earn a high school diploma or educational equivalent, like the GED, to work at a state or local facility. Those who hope to work at the federal level must also earn a high school diploma before attending a postsecondary institution. While in school, consider taking electives like forensic science or foreign languages to help prepare for your future career.
  2. Earn an associate degree or vocational certificate
    Consider earning an associate degree or vocational certification in criminal justice. Most community colleges and vocational schools offer programs that can take between a few months and two years to complete. Courses may include in-classroom lectures and training exercises.
  3. Earn a bachelor’s degree
    Those who want to work with the BOP and at federal correctional facilities must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program to apply for positions. Consider majoring in criminal justice or a related field like public safety, psychology or social work. Most bachelor’s degree programs may take four years to complete. They may also include the opportunity to take internships with local correctional or law enforcement agencies. Some relevant courses may include:

Constitutional law
Correctional administration
Criminal law
Criminal procedure
Cyber crime
Deviant behavior
Drugs and society
Ethics in criminal justice
Juvenile justice
Law enforcement

  1. Apply for positions
    Recruitment seasons for correctional facilities vary by agency. At some institutions, you can apply outside of the recruitment window when there isn’t an immediate need for new officers and they keep your application on file until a position is open. Use a facility’s online application portal or follow the instructions on the vacancy announcement to submit your inquiry. Most facilities may require a resume, cover letter and proof of documents like a valid driver’s license.

  1. Pass the required tests
    Some facilities may require that you pass certain exams—such as the SAT, ACT or other industry specific exams—prior to application. As part of the hiring process, they may also ask you to complete a battery of physical, psychological and knowledge-based tests. Some may include:

Background check
Criminal history report
Drug test
Medical exam
Personality test
Physical fitness test
Written skills exam

  1. Complete your training
    After being accepted to a position, some agencies may require juvenile correctional officers to complete in-service training and up to a 12-month probationary period before earning full-time employment. This is most common at the federal level but may also take place at state and local levels too. Federal candidates take part in a three-week training in the BOP Staff Training Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. State and local candidates may take part in a program at a regional or local training academy. These programs may last between three and 16 weeks.

Programs may include an orientation section that teaches facility policies, administration expectations and an overview of daily operations. They may also include training for correctional techniques, special courses about working with juvenile inmates and strength and conditioning activities.

  1. Get sworn in
    After completing their training period, juvenile correctional officers take an oath of office and become vested with police powers. After your swearing-in ceremony you can carry a firearm on duty if deemed necessary by your location, make arrests and escort inmates to and from off-facility destinations.
  2. Consider getting certified
    Some states may require juvenile correctional officers to earn certifications to get jobs or to continue education to keep their skills current. The American Correctional Association offers voluntary professional certification in four areas of criminal justice. They designed the Certified Corrections Officer (CCO) certification for those who work directly with juveniles. To earn the certification, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and one year of experience in the field. You must also pass an exam. Other relevant certifications may include first aid or CPR training.

Work environment of a juvenile correctional officer
Juvenile correctional officers may work in public or private institutions like jails, prisons, drug treatment centers or juvenile halls and detention centers. Federal, state and local governments may contract officers to work in their facilities. Juvenile correctional officers must remain alert at all times and enforce obvious lines of authority within their facilities. Because many of these institutions operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week, officers may work shifts that include holidays, weekends, evenings, nights and early mornings. Correctional officers may also use a variety of hardware and software equipment each day, including:

Control booth equipment
Digital imaging programs
Fingerprinting devices
Fire extinguishers
Intercom systems
Physical restraint devices

Salary for a juvenile correctional officer
On average, Juvenile correctional officers make $44,971 per year. Exact salaries may differ depending on your years of experience or specific job title, such as senior officer or supervisor. Some items in a juvenile correctional officer’s benefits package may include:

Dental insurance
Dependent health insurance coverage
Employee assistance program
Flexible spending account
Health savings account
Life insurance
Loan forgiveness
Paid time off
Pet insurance
Relocation assistance
Vision insurance
Wellness program
Related: 30 Jobs That Involve Working With Kids

Job outlook for a juvenile correctional officer
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not give specific data for the job outlook for juvenile correctional officers. However, they expect positions for correctional officers and bailiffs to decline by 7% in the next 10 years. However, they also expect jobs for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists to grow 4% in the same time frame. State and local facility and population levels and budgets may determine the actual level of job growth each year.

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