A correction officer has a job everyday to maintain control and order within a prison (Seiter, 2011, p.390). Every day each inmate has to be under supervision at all times and each correction officer makes sure that security is maintained properly. Each and every correction officer has an assigned job they have to perform. There are usually seven categories that a correction officer can be assigned to. These categories include living units, work detail supervisors, industrial shop and school officers, yard officers, administration building assignments, perimeter security and relief officers.
Each Specific assignment has post orders, a detailed description of the activities that are required to be performed throughout the day, often includes the time they are to occur(Seiter,2011,p.391). Post orders is to tell the correction officer how to do each specific assignment. Each assignment that is performed has a time schedule. The correction officer also has to report a detailed report on the assignment. Every minute, of every day while the correction officer is on duty, it very crucial. For instance, one minute an officer may be walking inmates to their cells and then the next minute, they could be breaking up a fight. The main part of being a correction officer is to never show any signs of weakness to any inmates.
If any signs of weakness are shown, the inmates can and will use that against the officer and try everything to bring that officer down. With an inmate using an officers weakness against them, can cause a lot of stress and danger to the correction officer. Stress is very typical with being a correction officer. Stress can come from overtime shifts, not enough employees on hand, violence in the facility, or problems with other staff members. Many programs are available to help correction officers to deal with stress because stress will always be a part of being a correction officer. Job stress has been found to have numerous negative mental and physical effects on correctional staff. Cheek and Miller (1983) reported that correctional officers have a higher than expected likelihood of hypertension, heart attacks, and other stress-related illnesses.
Ultimately, the health of the correctional employee can suffer to the point that it shortens the persons life. Both Cheek (1984) and Woodruff (1993) reported that correctional officers die far sooner than expected as compared to the national life expectancy, and stress is the leading reason for the shortened life expectancy(Lambert, 2006). Stress is not good for a persons health and that is why these facilities offer options to deal with stress while working in such facilities. These trainings help the correction officer to help avoid the stressful situations and how to deal with their own personal stress. Counseling is offered for the correction officers and the families. This helps them to deal with stress and keep the levels of stress down.
The best way to help keep stress down is keeping a healthy active life, such as diets, exercise, and trying to maintain financial security. All though, stress seems to be an important role with being a correction officer, its not. The most important is gaining compliance from inmates. This means that a correction officer needs to deal with inmates without threatening them or disciplining an inmate without their being a breakout in the prison or the inmate rebelling against any orders that are given. It is not easy to gain compliance from inmates already in prison, many of whom rebel against all authority and are serving long sentences with very little to lose(Seiter,2011,p.394). If any inmates do not follow any orders, the correction officer has the power to punish them in the appropriate way.
The most important skill to use is interpersonal communication. This communication allows correction officers to treat inmates humanly as possible. If a correction officer treats an inmate with disrespect, it is most likely that the inmate will get very angry and rebel against that officer. Inmates do not like to be treated unfairly, as they should not be treated unfair in any given circumstance. Every inmate has the knowledge of knowing they should follow rules and what they should and should not do.
It can be very stressful being a correction officer. The main key is to have training to deal with stress and know what kind of stress they may be in for. Stress can come from many different directions and effect a correction officer, but as long as they know what they were getting into before they got into the situation, then they should be able to deal with the stress pretty good. As long as a correction officer can be fair and treat inmates fairly, then that can also help reduce stress and make the situations in the facility go a lot smoother.
Eric G Lambert, Nancy Lynne Hogan, & Reva I Allen. (2006). CORRELATES OF CORRECTIONAL OFFICER JOB STRESS: The Impact of Organizational Structure[dagger]. American Journal of Criminal Justice : AJCJ, 30(2), 227-IV. Retrieved October 17, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1167641161). Seiter, P. 2011. Corrections: An Introduction. Pearson education inc. 3rd edition Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.