Corrections supervisors coordinate and direct activities of correctional officers and jailers. They are responsible for maintaining security and discipline in correctional facilities, and ensuring the safety of staff, prisoners and visitors. A career as a corrections supervisor may begin with enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of correctional officers, including corrections supervisors, is expected to grow steadily in coming years. Job growth will occur as the population expands and incarceration rates rise. Employment opportunities will be available through state and federal agencies, as well as private companies that operate and staff correctional facilities.
Corrections supervisors oversee a correctional facility’s daily activities, such as processing inmates, responding to emergencies and conducting inmate counts. They maintain order, discipline and security, according to laws and regulations. As supervisors of correctional officers, they coordinate activities by scheduling work assignments and setting priorities. They are also responsible for ensuring adherence to all institutional polices and procedures.
Another area of expertise for corrections supervisors is developing staff and identifying training needs. They will typically plan and arrange for training when required. These professionals also ensure that corrections officers remain alert, courteous and professional when interacting with inmates, fellow staff members, visitors and the public.
Managing corrections staff, an important aspect of the corrections supervisor’s job, may consist of hiring, evaluating and monitoring employees. Other duties include maintaining records and preparing reports and correspondence, including those of a routine nature and those relative to incidents and emergencies.
Observing and responding to incidents, monitoring incoming and outgoing vehicles, and directing inspections for weapons and contraband are additional activities corrections supervisors conduct or oversee.
Depending on the day, corrections supervisors may work inside or outside, at a desk or on their feet. They usually work 40 hours per week, sometimes in rotating shifts. Flexible hours may be required, since correctional facilities operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
BLS data from May 2009 indicated that the median salary for corrections supervisors was $57,690. The middle 50% earned between $42,870 and $73,500. Salaries for the lowest 10% were about $34,640, while the top 10% earned upwards of $90,140. Recent bachelor’s degree graduates will usually start out toward the lower end of the range, and may need to acquire experience before being promoted to a supervisory role. The top salaries generally go to corrections supervisors with extensive experience or advanced education.
Most corrections supervisor positions require relevant experience, and employers often give preference to candidates with a bachelor’s degree. In addition, the majority of corrections personnel undergo formal training provided by their employer.
The path to a corrections supervisor career can begin with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Coursework typically includes law of criminal procedure, crisis and conflict, law enforcement systems and criminal justice ethics.
Employers can be confident that graduates of a criminal justice program are able to:
Becoming a corrections supervisor could be a great career choice if you are interested in criminal justice and have leadership skills, decision-making ability and good judgment. This occupation also requires excellent communication skills, good physical condition and the ability to think on your feet. If you possess these qualities, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice could set you on the path to a corrections supervisor career!