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Criminal Justice - Corrections

Common Questions

What qualities do I need to be successful in corrections?

There is much more to being a correctional officer than just locking doors. They must keep track of people, monitor inmates' medications and write reports of what they observe. While correctional officers seldom carry weapons, they do stop fights, help solve crimes, and find themselves doing some informal and formal counseling.

Prison (photo)

Life in a prison setting is tense, and correctional officers must deal with this every day. They must be able to spot trouble, and think and act quickly in times of tension, using such personal resources as physical courage, maturity and common sense.

While the only prerequisite needed to enter this program is a high school diploma or GED, anyone considering a career in corrections should like people, be emotionally stable, and have good organizational skills.

Since individuals who have a high sense of security and maturity are critical to this profession, the older student is often an ideal employee. Women, too, are playing a larger role in the corrections field, contributing balance to formerly male-dominated facilities.

What will I learn in the corrections option?

The program offers training for a variety of careers in corrections. Graduates of the program are equipped to work in prisons and jails, juvenile centers, treatment facilities, group homes, and in the private security industry.

The program's security practices are designed for dealing with people in an institutional environment rather than on the street. Consequently, corrections students study institutional management, prisoner rights and behavioral problems. Since correctional officers essentially live with - and must manage - serious criminals, they need to understand the psychological and sociological motivations behind the behavior they will encounter. They also take a stress management seminar, and have a cooperative work experience of at least one quarter working in an area correctional facility.

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Where will I find a job in corrections?

Prison (photo)

There is a good job market for graduates, especially in the more populated areas on the coast and with the state correctional systems in Idaho and Washington. Jail facilities in Washington, Idaho and Montana have been expanding in recent years, which increases job opportunities for correctional officers.

Since correctional facilities are on line 24 hours every day, one aspect of the profession is shift work. A second is that since there are not many success stories in correctional facilities, and employee's satisfaction must come from learning about people and enjoying responsibility.

Starting salaries vary from $1,800 to $2,000 per month, and within a few years they typically increase to $2,600 per month. With the coming decade of growth, pay is expected to continue to improve and job advancement opportunities should be frequent.

As the population of prisons has reached record numbers today - and the experts predict these numbers will continue to rise - the employment outlook for correctional officers will continue to be good.

For more information....For more information:
Contact: Spokane Community College
Counseling Center, MS 2151
1810 N. Greene Street
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
Phone:Ric Villalobos, Counselor
(509) 533-7356 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 7356
Email:Michael Prim at
For additional contacts, please
refer to the online directory for this department

You can also submit an online information request
or get our address to write for more information

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Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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