1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Whittier, CA
    Posts
    1

    What's it like working in corrections?

    Seems like an dumb question, but really, what's it like? I've been investing a lot to become a correctional officer, but I don't personally know anyone in it and don't really know what I'm getting into. I'm trying to make a big life decision whether or not to stick with my application. Waiting for CDCR to get it together is hurting me. Is it worth it?

  2. #2
    It's Complicated
    Iowa #1603's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    15,478
    First of all start by reading the postings in this forum....................



    There is a lot of information here and reading it will give you some insight into the true merits of the profession.

    Today is a real bad time to be trying to get into Corrections or LE because of the economy and the fact that many departments are downsizing...........HOWEVER there will always be openings..................inmates are never going away so the job security is really one of the best in the world.


    If you truly want to work in Corrections..........................let me say that after 32 yrs I think I can tell people that the profession has generally been very good to me. It has allowed me to buy a house an 6 acres of land, SEVERAL cars over the years...................and have a pretty good life.


    I know the process in California is long and drawn out.................but the pay and job security is worth the wait if that is what you want to do with your life.



    Good luck
    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon - no matter how good you are, the pigeon will still crap all over the board and strut around like it won anyway."



    I don't know it all, I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little---slamdunc


    I have discussed religion and politics over morning coffee with men who have killed people, you don't scare me.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    code11TCDO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    ft worth, tx
    Posts
    323
    I like to think of myself as a professional babysitter that has a badge and attitude!! Seriously, watch Inside Jail on tv. Its real I know b/c they taped here not too long ago. Our job is the same as a street cop except we are in jail.

  4. #4
    kingofqueens718's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Staten Island, New York
    Posts
    635
    Quote Originally Posted by code11TCDO View Post
    I like to think of myself as a professional babysitter that has a badge and attitude!! Seriously, watch Inside Jail on tv. Its real I know b/c they taped here not too long ago. Our job is the same as a street cop except we are in jail.
    Talk to a teacher that teaches special education or students with behavorial problems.

  5. #5
    War Machine
    Groove's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    585
    It's more fun than i thought it would be.
    War to the knife and knife to the hilt.

    TERM LIMITS!

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    georgia
    Posts
    263
    Quote Originally Posted by code11TCDO View Post
    I like to think of myself as a professional babysitter that has a badge and attitude!! Seriously, watch Inside Jail on tv. Its real I know b/c they taped here not too long ago. Our job is the same as a street cop except we are in jail.
    This pretty much sums it up! I love watching that show with family, I constantly hear them saying, "people say that! people do that!" I honestly like it MORE then I thought I would, add in to that that i work with an awsome group of people that I know have my back.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    77
    This job is not for everyone...You must learn to be consistant all the time. You have to learn how to hold your ground. You can't tell one Inmate to do something and then turn around and let another get away with the same thing. Believe me they will test you. They will watch your every move. Stick to your guns....Follow the rules...Always be honest and watch your brother's back no matter what...Just a glimpse into the life of a good C.O.
    " Your best??? Losers always wine about their best while the winner goes home with the Prom Queen..."

  8. #8
    Chaingang Guard
    Blankstare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    60
    It is imperative, that you understand you will be working around those who cannot function in society, there will also be inamtes there, so BE CAREFUL!
    Now get out there and protect and serve

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    P-town, Az
    Posts
    297
    i worked as a detention officer for 3 1/2 years. It was easy money. low stress and alot of down time. Regardless of what CO's or DO's will tell you you dont have to be billy bad A when going in. Very few real officer/inmate fights. Its a good decent paying, secure job. Coolest guys i ever meet where DO's. Also, its not like being a cop. I thought so until i became one.

  10. #10
    PO'd CO
    naze69's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Western N.Y.
    Posts
    398
    Cops-n-Creeps behind bars .
    I drink , I drive fast cars , and I fondle women . But I am my own boss , and do have weekends off !

  11. #11
    It's Complicated
    Iowa #1603's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    15,478
    Quote Originally Posted by AzLaw_E View Post
    Regardless of what CO's or DO's will tell you you dont have to be billy bad A when going in.
    Very few of us on this forum tell people that we area billy bad A.
    Firm Fair Consistent is the mantra for Corrections

    Quote Originally Posted by AzLaw_E View Post

    Very few real officer/inmate fights. (snip) It was easy money. low stress and alot of down time.
    Depends on your institution/facility. Try working in a BOP USP.........or several State Penitentiaries

    Quote Originally Posted by AzLaw_E View Post
    Its a good decent paying, secure job.
    True

    Quote Originally Posted by AzLaw_E View Post
    Also, its not like being a cop. I thought so until i became one.
    I have been both---------------There are similarities. Institution CO's are the cops for the institution. BUT they are not Police Officers.

    Prison CO's, County CO's/Deputies/Detention officers, Private CO's, City CO's all have similar jobs----------but not necessarily have the same jobs . It really depends on where you are as to what you do.

    The OP is talking about waiting for the CDCR---------so he/she is looking at working for a State DOC (California to be exact).
    Jail CO's/Detention officers have a completely different job description than I have as a State Prison CO............................Inside Jail has almost nothing to do with what I do.............try MSNBC's Lockup series for what happens in a prison.
    Last edited by Iowa #1603; 02-05-2009 at 07:28 PM.
    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon - no matter how good you are, the pigeon will still crap all over the board and strut around like it won anyway."



    I don't know it all, I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little---slamdunc


    I have discussed religion and politics over morning coffee with men who have killed people, you don't scare me.

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    JK4629's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    524
    Worst job I have ever had. Depending on what you want to do in corrections I would totally reccommend working in a prison or for a larger correctional facility. I worked for a college town Sheriff's Department that held around 220inmates in the facility. We worked 12 hour shifts and it was the most depressing job I've ever had. Go to work at 6am...pitch black outside, get out of work to go home 6pm......pitch black outside. Dealing with idiots all day, passing meds out, hearing about road patrol complaining about corrections and listening to corrections complain about road patrol. It was just not for me. You have your ups and downs with every job but honestly, I would go back to delivering pizza's before I would ever go back to work in corrections!
    "Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there"
    -Bottom of a White Castle Cheesebuger Box-

    If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck.....it's probably a duck!


    It is what it is!

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    P-town, Az
    Posts
    297
    I agree w/ what your saying Iowa #1603...some love it, some hate it

    With the billy bad A comment, one of the number 1 questions i get for being a DO/CO is "Did you get in alot of fights?" No way, and thats state and county. I left because A. wanted to be a cop and B. tired of calling all the other fat, lazy, slobbish DO's my co-workers. Not all DO's/CO's are fat...just most of them.

  14. #14
    Chaingang Guard
    Blankstare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    60
    On a more serious note, I love being a C/O. Once you establish yourself in the system, the inmates know what to expect of you and will act accordingly. Occasionally, there will be a newer inmate who will try you because he doesn't know better, so you'll have to flex a little bit. All in all, it's a very good and exciting career.

    Originally posted by: Az Law_E
    I left because A. wanted to be a cop and B. tired of calling all the other fat, lazy, slobbish DO's my co-workers. Not all DO's/CO's are fat...just most of them.
    While it is true there are some large men/women that work in corrections, I think it is inaccurate to say "most of them" are fat. I came into corrections out of the military and still maintain my fitness standard, and many of my coworkers are in the same boat.

    My main concern is professionalism. If an officer I am working with behaves in a professional manner in his/her dealings with inmates, I could care less if they could stand to lose a few pounds.

    Ultimately, you get of it what you put into it. Do I like every co-worker? No, but in the end when we walk through the gates it's "us vs them" I do not look down on anyone who will put on the uniform and "do the job" the way it's supposed to be done.

    To the OP: I would say go for it. You will gain tons of experience in dealing with people. People who by the way do not necessarily like you and some who hate you.
    This job is mostly about verbal skills, I would say 90% however, when the time comes, you must be prepared to get physical to achieve your "Correctional objective"

    If you decided in the future that you would rather be a policeman, I would bet your Corrections experience certainly would come in handy.
    Now get out there and protect and serve

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    DOCS OCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    502
    It depends on how you make it to be. If you go in, do your job to the best of your abilities, remain fair, firm and consistent, you'll do fine.
    I've got almost 27 years in. I've worked in Max Joints, Shock Camps, everything but a Medium. Now, I've got a Perimeter Patrol Post on Days that I love. But you've got to get time on the job before you can even think about something like that. I've been cut by a convict (almost 25 years ago) and I survived it. Some guys can do an entire career and not get hurt while others aren't as lucky. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep alert.
    When I started, the pay was $12,920. Now, I make just shy of $60,000. Benefits were a lot better when I started, they've gone steadily downhill.
    Doing Life On The Installment Plan.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    JR45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    46
    Like any job its all what you make of it. Its not for everyone. You will know within the first week if its what you want to do. Not everyone is the same and thats what makes it work.

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    Colorado Fatboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    72
    Like others have said it depends on a LOT of different circumstances.

    If you work in a jail you will have people coming in that are high on meth, mentally unstable (not medicated) etc. If you work in a prison it is more controlled and really depends on the facility, for example if you work in a segregation facility there will be 2 staff to 1 inmate. If you work in a real prison there may be only a handful of staff and a chow hall or yard full of inmates.

    You really have to try it out and see. They have started doing a thing out here they call "facility friday" Every friday people from the academy will go to their facility and get some "on the job" experience. The state of CO got tried of sending people through a 6 week academy then having them going to a facility, rubbing elbows with convicted felon and freaking out. Again it's not for everybody.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    MI_CO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    245
    you dont know what its like until that gate shuts behinde you, and all you have are your fellow officers watching your back for the next 8 hrs. I love my job, its pretty much like everyone has said so far on this post.

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    here there
    Posts
    430
    Quote Originally Posted by graveyardCO View Post
    Corrections, as any other occupation, is what you make it to be. I work for a smaller county jail, and I enjoy what I do. It gives you the opportunity to truly interact with people all day long, but forces you to always be alert and on guard at the same time. I have only been in Corrections for about a year and a half, but have seen fights, assaults, alcohol/drug withdrawals, attempted suicides, completed suicide, and many other things that I didn't know to expect.

    I also didn't know anyone in the field before I started in corrections, and didn't really know what to expect. One day in the near future, I hope to become a police officer or deputy sheriff. However, I truly believe that I will make a better deputy becuase of my time in corrections. So whether you plan to work for CDCR or any other corrections department (state, federal, county, city) or eventually move onto patrol, corrections is a great way to learn about people, learn about yourself, and gain confidence in your ability to handle a variety of situations that you hadn't even imagined yet.

    Good luck!
    +1

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    Marine_Infantry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    228
    Quote Originally Posted by code11TCDO View Post
    I like to think of myself as a professional babysitter that has a badge and attitude!! Seriously, watch Inside Jail on tv. Its real I know b/c they taped here not too long ago. Our job is the same as a street cop except we are in jail.
    Being a street cop is COMPLETELY different than being a CO.I was a CO for 6 years before I became a police officer.I worked super max,max,medium,and minimum security as well as A DI for a correctional boot camp program,and a member of the "tactical team".That being said,corrections officers have a very important role in the criminal justice system.Corrections experience is also a good ''stepping stone" to police work.Good luck with CDC.They are the best Department of Corrections in the nation.
    Last edited by Marine_Infantry; 02-07-2009 at 06:47 PM. Reason: none

  21. #21
    Registered User

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Midwest USA
    Posts
    157
    Corrections is an interesting career. You get out what you put into it. You're a glorified babysitter of adults. If you're firm, fair, and consistent while you follow your facility's standard operating procedures, it will Cover Your A both legally and with the powers that be.
    I'm a county CO and what surprised me was how many former inmates I see "out in the world." (Enough to make you swear off eating out and shopping at Walmart!)
    Be safe and be aware, on duty and off.

  22. #22
    It's Complicated
    Iowa #1603's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    15,478
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiss Me Deadly View Post
    I'm a county CO and what surprised me was how many former inmates I see "out in the world." (Enough to make you swear off eating out and shopping at Walmart!)
    Why would/should it suprise you.

    99.999% of all jail inmates (and about the same percentage of prison inmates) will eventually get out of jail/prison. Everyone of them, prior to being in jail/prison lived in the community and most of them return home afterwards.

    The only reason you "see" them now is because you saw them at your job.

    What scares me more than seeing former inmates is:
    THINKING ABOUT WHO IS A FUTURE INMATE as I look around when out in the "real world"
    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon - no matter how good you are, the pigeon will still crap all over the board and strut around like it won anyway."



    I don't know it all, I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little---slamdunc


    I have discussed religion and politics over morning coffee with men who have killed people, you don't scare me.

  23. #23
    Forum Member
    Graydog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Currently retired in Az.
    Posts
    135
    What's it like working in a prison?????

    There is a lot of good to the job of working in a prison setting. As one person stated above, it is not for everyone. Evaluate yourself and your ideas. There are also some down sides to it too. It all depends on what you are looking for. A career, or just a pay check? You will work varying shifts and hours, holidays and weekeds when you start out.
    If you are a serious type of an employee, and can handle working under pressure or stress at times, by all means turn your application in.
    I went into corrections in Ca. at an older age than the average person does. I had a good career and was very fortunate to work with mostly good staff and good supervisors. Not every body can say that. There will ups and downs as in any other job. You will need to be firm, fair, and consistant with every inmate. Do not play head games with them, and do not lie to them. It will come back to bite you or a fellow employee. Remember, they have nothing but time to plot their devious plans. Also, they have nothing to lose with their games. And there are a lot more of them than there are officers. Yes times are hard, with budget cuts and policy changes everywhere, but inmates are still coming through the gates, and they
    haven't changed very much over the years.
    It is a good career, and I would do it again. Maybe you can call it luck, or what ever you want, but I retired without ever having been assaulted as some have. Watch your back at all times, and your partners back as well.


    Graydog
    Retired CDC
    CSPC
    Last edited by Graydog; 02-08-2009 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Spelling
    With Strength and Power We Will Prevail......

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Click here to log in or register