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Survey Summary: Correctional Officers

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2004 Pages: 10-25
Cece Hill
Susan L. Clayton M.S.
Date Published
July 2004
16 pages
This report presents the results of a national survey on correctional officers in both the United States and Canada for 2003 on recruitment, retention, educational levels, wages, and benefits.
A survey was conducted in 2003 on specific issues related to correctional officers from both the United States and Canada. Forty-seven correctional systems from the United States and 5 correctional systems from Canada responded to the survey questionnaire. This report presents the findings from the questionnaire on the issues of officer recruitment, educational levels and requirements, wages and fringe benefits, and retention. Highlights from the results include: (1) more than 20 United States reporting systems indicated that their prison facilities’ rural locations presented an obstacle to recruitment; (2) Canada reported no recruiting problems; (3) the majority of correctional officers in the United States reporting systems are White and 76 percent are male; (4) 72 percent of the United States reporting systems require a high school diploma before applicants can be hired as correctional officers; (5) in Canada, Newfoundland requires at least 2 years of postsecondary schooling and the courses must have been in social sciences; (6) with the average turnover rate for correctional officers within the first year of employment being 22.5 percent, the United States reporting systems stated that wages and fringe benefits take on added importance; (7) the average turnover rate for the Canadian reporting systems was 6.77 percent; (8) the highest starting wage at entry level of the United States reporting systems was $39,358 per year for New Jersey; and (9) 51 percent of the United States reporting systems allow officers to select from a broad range of fringe benefit categories. A recommendation for the recruitment and retention of correctional officers is to expand public relations and media exposure to enhance the image of correctional officers. Tables