Detention Officer

Detention officers work in jails and prisons usually under the supervision of sheriffs or marshals. Their main function is to ensure the safety of incarcerated individuals and to make sure all alarm and surveillance systems in the jail or prison are operational.

According to the website they assist with booking inmates who are entering the jail or prison. They are often in charge of securely transporting prison inmates to and from court or to different jails. They are expected to carefully observe inmates particularly when they are outside their cells carrying out the duties to which they have been assigned or when they are in dining and recreational areas. They also monitor all interactions when prisoners receive outside visitors. Detention officers keep records of inmates' behavior which are often used to during parole hearings.

According to the website requirements for becoming a detention officer are being at least 18 years old being a U.S. citizen and passing a background check.Although the educational requirements vary from prison to prison they must usually have either two years of college preferably an associate's degree in criminal justice or two years of related job experience.

Once hired detention officers usually take training classes lasting up to 10 weeks which sometimes lead to a certificate. Those with associates or even bachelor's degrees are generally the first to be considered for a promotion to positions such as deputy sheriffs or deputy marshals. Employment opportunities for detention officers are projected to increase although this will depend on location and institution.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( the median earnings for detention officers are approximately $38500 a year.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $38500
High Salary: $43500
Low Salary: $33500
Tasks: Ensures the safe confinement of prisoners.
Monitors inmates.
Breaks up fights.
Helps transport prisoners to court.
Also Called: Correctional Officer
Prison Guard
Prison Inmate Supervisor
Prison Security Guard
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