What is a Correctional Officer?

Correctional officers, also known as detention officers, generally work in prisons, jails, reformatories and penitentiaries, and may also work in courthouses or with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Their job is to oversee, secure and control arrested individuals awaiting trial or those convicted and incarcerated.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Correctional Officer?

Correctional officers maintain security to prevent riots, disturbances, assaults and escapes. Their law enforcement jurisdiction is limited to the institution for which they work, but they also have limited law enforcement responsibilities or powers outside the institution.

While correctional officers work in a variety of criminal justice institutions, their basic responsibilities remain the same, including:

  • Maintaining order
  • Preventing disturbances
  • Enforcing rules
  • Ensuring the safety of other institutional employees and visitors

To fulfill their responsibilities, correctional officers may be required to:

  • Monitor inmate activities
  • Supervise inmate work assignments
  • Search for contraband (weapons or drugs)
  • Settle disputes between inmates
  • End violent confrontations or fights between inmates
  • Enforce the rules through disciplinary action
  • Inspect institution facilities for signs of security breaches

How Does Florida Determine Correctional Officer Standards and Requirements?

The FDLE determines the primary responsibilities, eligibility requirements, certification and testing requirements, as well as specialized and advanced training for correctional officers. The American Correctional Association (ACA) and the American Jail Association (AJA) are the two nationally recognized organizations that define and set regulations for correctional officers. 

How Are Performance and Training Requirements Established?

Most federal and state corrections departments base training and performance on guidelines established by the American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association.


Criminal Justice Training Center
407.708.2299 or 407.708.2187
Fax: 407.322.1309
Office: PS-100
Campus: Sanford/Lake Mary