Prison security guard standing near cell with truncheon, strict regime, violence

What Does Day-to-Day Look Like for a Correctional Officer?

Correctional officers play a critical role in our legal system. They are responsible for supervising those who have been arrested or are awaiting trial. Correctional officers also perform other essential tasks, such as searching individuals for contraband, writing reports of inmate conduct, enforcing rules and regulations, and maintaining order within a facility. While inmate schedules tend to remain unchanged, the day-to-day for a correctional officer can often be chaotic and unpredictable.

Preparing for the Day

The day starts early for correctional officers. Most work at least 40 hours per week and must arrive to work early to take over for the evening or night shift crew. Preparing for a day of work in a jail or prison involves putting on a uniform and going through security. They then check the day’s schedule to see what duties each inmate has been assigned.

Managing Morning Activities

Breakfast is often the first activity of the day. Correctional officers must ensure that all inmates are awake and will escort them to the cafeteria. One officer may supervise the kitchen, while another patrols the cafeteria or the halls. While many prisons have seating plans based on backgrounds and personalities, altercations can and do occur and must be handled swiftly by COs.

Performing Searches & Cell Inspections

Drugs, weapons, and other contraband are commonly smuggled into jails and prisons. These substances are not only illegal to possess, but can also pose dangers for employees and other inmates. For this reason, correctional officers must conduct regular inspections of cells, inmates, and visitors to ensure that contraband is not present. In addition, doors, locks and security equipment must be inspected on a regular basis.

Overseeing Afternoon Activities

In the afternoon, inmates once again travel to the cafeteria to eat lunch. Correctional officers must supervise prisoners during this time and ensure that disputes between prisoners do not escalate. They will also have free time later on in the afternoon or evening, which will need supervision from correctional officers. Later in the day, other tasks may be performed, if they aren’t being held in cells or isolation for bad behavior or a serious offense. For example, a CO may need to move an inmate to another prison, or they may be required to assist another inmate with a task. Visiting time may also occur in the afternoons which also requires moving of inmates and strict supervision.

Writing & Maintaining Facility Reports

Correctional officers have the task of writing and maintaining reports on all facility activities. This often includes inmate work assignments, housing, and rosters. They must also maintain records of inmates’ identification and charges, including incidents of inmate disturbances. Oftentimes, COs will have the responsibility of processing new inmates entering the facility.

Handling Altercations Between Inmates

Disputes between inmates occur frequently in jails and prisons. Correctional officers are specially trained to defuse these types of situations in a quick and efficient way that prevents further distress to prisoners. Unfortunately, altercations and acts of defiance can quickly escalate, which forces COs to take more drastic measures. When these acts of defiance involve large groups of inmates, a prison riot can break out in confined areas, which puts COs and other inmates at risk for injury.

Defusing a Riot

Anytime that correctional officers walk into a jail or prison, they must be prepared for the unknown. This means having the proper defensive body equipment on-site to safeguard against unexpected dangers. Riot suits are essential to protect the inmates, other correctional officers, and visitors when entering a jail or prison. 

At Haven Gear, we are revolutionizing the way that law enforcement officers stay safe in hazardous situations. This is why we have developed state-of-the-art riot suits and gear designed to keep officers safe and effective during their shifts. Riot gear is essential for all jails and prisons, regardless of size or location. Contact Haven Gear today to learn more about how our riot suits and gear can serve your institution.