Working as a Correctional Officer


Oxford advanced learners dictionary, 8th edition, defines a career as a series of jobs that a person has in a particular area of work which usually involves more responsibility with time. This paper discusses correctional officers as a career in law enforcement.

A correctional officer is a person who supervises inmates in prisons and jails. They also enforce the rules that are supposed to be adhered to in the correctional facilities. As a career in law enforcement, the job is considered to be among the most stressful. The tension of the environment is known to cause some the correctional officers to turn off emotionally. The job has its ups and downs just like any other job. The only thing that makes it unique is the fact that correctional officers handle offenders, who might even be murderers, thereby endangering their lives. Below is a brief discussion that points out the advantages and disadvantages that one might come across as a correctional officer.


To begin with the advantages of a correctional work, it is evident that one advantage is the stability of employment. As a correctional officer, you are assured of employment in your entire career. The only thing that might come your way is a change in departments. This gives one a stable source of income which will enable them to support their family.

Secondly, a correctional officer can retire after just 20 years of service to the government. This means that one can retire at 50. Regardless of age, there is this provision with the government and military which allows one to retire after 25 years of service as per the years of service requirement. (Dodrill, n.d)

Thirdly, being a permanent job, one is entitled to a medical insurance that cover dental as well as other medical issues. This comes as a package if employed in a pubic prison as per the civil statute and guidelines.

Other notable advantages include: clothing allowance for buying uniforms, one is also assisted by the government if they wish to further their education in the profession, one can gain skills that might be vital in other fields such as communication skills, problem- solving and supervisory. You might also be lucky enough to work eight hours a day for five days a week, have the opportunity to work indoors or outdoors or you could find yourself in a high correction facility.

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On the other hand the job also has some disadvantages which include some of the folowing: A correction facility is prone to violence from time to time. There is bloodshed on a daily basis. This puts the life of a correctional officer at risk. Unlike a police officer in the street, a correctional officer enforces the law without the use of a gun, making the situation more challenging since they can easily get killed.

Another disadvantage as mentioned earlier is the emotional shut down that result from the intense environment within the correctional facility. The traumatic events within the facility affect one’s performance in the institution and might lead to job loss. This psychological stress might be extended into the homes and lead to a suicide, domestic abuse or a divorce. 

The psychological trauma has been known to reduce the life span of correctional officers, giving them a short life span after retirement. (Heibutzki, n.d)

At times you are forced to work under terrible conditions. For instance, a guard watching from the tower all night under extreme cold weather or wet conditions might find that to be too harsh.

Finally, correctional officers might not enjoy their holidays like other employees. This is because their shifts might require them to work in the morning, late night, during weekends and even on holidays because inmates have to be supervised at all times.

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Based on the above information, despite the benefits being rewarding for example a good salary, promising, in terms of job security, medical insurance coverage and the rest, the shortcomings are too alarming, scary and sound harsh. They could even reduce your life span or affect one’s psychological state. Due to this, I would not consider taking a career in law enforcement as a correctional officer. 

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