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Correctional Officer Traits and Skills

NCJ Number
Correctional Compendium Volume: 22 Issue: 8 Dated: August 1997 Pages: 1-12
Gary Hill
Date Published
August 1997
12 pages
This paper outlines the tasks of the correctional officer, and lists correctional officer traits and attitudes, knowledge and skills, as well as tools and equipment; three tables depict a State-by-State profile of correctional officer training components, training programs, and training courses, with information on Canadian systems included as well.
The main duties of the correctional officer are listed as managing and communicating with inmates; intervening in crises and managing conflicts; maintaining health, safety, and sanitation; communicating with staff; participating in training; and distributing authorized items to inmates. Correctional officer traits and attitudes include being professional, dependable, consistent, fair, emotionally stable, empathic, ethical, flexible, punctual, self-motivated, cooperative, sincere, optimistic, and perceptive. Knowledge encompasses the laws of the jurisdiction, policies and procedures, agency mission, ethnic diversity, and stress management. Skills encompass written communication, nonverbal communication, the use of equipment/tools, first aid, leadership, and management. The table on correctional officer training components contains information on items related to costs, program, and recruitment; the table on training programs addresses pre-service length of training period, screening before/after training, domestic violence screening, firearm proficiency training, minimum passing grade, required hours for the first year in service, yearly in-service hours available, and in-service training on or off site. The table on training courses shows the number of courses for each State on each of 23 subjects.