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Juvenile Correctional Officer: Job Description, Duties & Responsibilities

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a juvenile correctional officer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and other requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Juvenile correctional officers work with minors who have been charged with crimes as well as those already incarcerated. They oversee the security of the facility along with the well-being of the inmates. Education requirements vary by state, but all states require at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Completion of a training academy and an on-the-job training program is also required in this field.

Required Education At least a high school diploma
Training Completion of training academy and on-the-job training program
Other Requirements Usually must be at least 18-21 years old, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and have no felony convictions
Projected Job Growth* 5% (2012-2022) for correctional officers, in general
Median Annual Salary* $39,550 (2013) for correctional officers, in general

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Juvenile correctional officers work at youth correctional facilities and detention centers. They maintain order and ensure the safety and security in such settings. The job also involves monitoring the inmates' health. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), working in these environments can be highly stressful (www.bls.gov).

Salary Info and Employment Outlook

The BLS noted in May 2013 that in general, correctional officers earned a median annual salary of $39,550. Jobs for correctional officers were predicted to increase 5% from 2012-2022, based on BLS reports. Reduced budgets and lowered crime rates will contribute to this below-average job growth.

Job Duties

Beyond providing safety and security for the correctional facility, juvenile correctional officers may also transport inmates to and from activities and act as a group leader. They facilitate group discussions, providing counsel and working with professionals on treatment for juvenile offenders.

Facility Security

Juvenile correctional officers ensure facility security by routinely inspecting buildings, living quarters and packages for contraband. They monitor inmates who have a special risk or security status and enforce facility rules and regulations. Officers must document and report disruptive or disturbing behavior and security breaches. Each officer must be trained and prepared to handle emergencies. Fights, fires, escapes, and other situations must be dealt with calmly and according to procedure and guidelines.

Transportation

Juvenile offenders need to be transported to various correction or mental health facilities, juvenile halls, classes and recreational activities; juvenile correction officers are responsible for their safe transportation. They may also provide transportation and legal documentation on extradition and jurisdiction cases.

Therapeutic and Behavioral Counseling

Facilities for young offenders often include counseling and group discussion sessions designed to help rehabilitate and teach basic life skills. Juvenile correctional officers work with the therapeutic treatment team to determine and employ appropriate programs. They help facilitate group discussions; teach problem-solving skills, behavioral management and accountability; and make observations to supervisors on the behavioral and functional progress of juvenile offenders.

Additional Responsibilities

Juvenile correctional officers may observe, record and report health problems as well as follow medical orders and dispense medications. Because of their close and constant work with inmates, correctional officers may be the first to notice changes in health or behavior. Officers also provide vocational counseling for offenders and counseling referrals for juveniles' family members or victims. They also make recommendations for detaining or releasing juveniles, submit progress reports and maintain inmate records.

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