The number of crimes reported in Alabama increased 7% from 2010 to 2011. Particularly notable was a 22% increase in the homicide rate during that period. The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) employs more than 3,100 correctional officers to manage its population of over 31,000 inmates.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates various medium, low and minimum security facilities within Alabama including Federal Prison Camp Montgomery, Federal Correctional Institution Talladega and Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville. There were 3,457 inmates housed in federal facilities in 2013.
Qualifications to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
Prospective correctional officers in Alabama must meet a number of requirements. These include:
- Being a high school graduate or having a GED certificate
- Having a driver’s license that is valid in Alabama
- Being at least 19 years old
- Being a U.S. citizen
Not have the following convictions:
- Domestic violence
- Having been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces (if applicable)
- Being drug free
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that applicants possess the following qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of experience in
- Child care
- Emergency response
- Be between 20 and 37 years of age
- Have no felony or serious criminal convictions
- Have no history of financial insolvency or poor credit
- Have a valid driver’s license and safe driving history
Applicants with at least nine semester hours of graduate study in law, criminal justice or social sciences; or at least one year of experience working in the following areas may join the BOP at the elevated GS-6 level.
- Law enforcement
- Mental health treatment
Applying to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
Applicants seeking jobs as correctional officers in Alabama start by downloading the application form. It should be completed and sent to the State of Alabama Personnel Department.
The ADOC Personnel Division will notify applicants of the dates that are available to take part in the onsite testing that will be used to rank candidates. The testing dates all fall on a Friday, and applicants must arrive by 7 AM to take part in the tests. Those who have not filled out an exam ahead of time can complete one and bring it to the testing site.
Federal correctional officer jobs can be found at www.USAJobs.gov. An application may be submitted online along with documents including
- College transcripts
- Military service records
The Tests to Qualify to be a Correctional Officer in Alabama
The testing process will take most of the day. Applicants should bring food and water and be dressed appropriately for a physical ability test.
The first step is take the written examination. The scores will be graded, and applicants who pass will be placed on a list of applicants who are considered qualified.
The next phase will be to take the physical ability test, which includes:
- Performing 22 push-ups in one minute
- Performing 25 sit-ups in one minute
- Running 1.5 miles in 15:28
They will also have to take a physical agility test. This involves:
- Pushing a vehicle for 15 feet
- Climbing up and over a chain link fence or a wooden wall
- Crawling through a window
- Traversing a balance beam
- Dragging a 165 lb dummy for 15 feet
- Running between obstacles for a distance
- Performing trigger pulls for 30 seconds
- Strong hand: 18 times
- Weak hand: 12 times
Those who pass these physical tests will undergo the following processes:
- Medical exam
- Drug screening
- Completing a Correction Officer I pre-employment packet
Applicants will then undergo a background check. Those who are chosen are considered cadets and must undergo training to learn how to become a correctional officer in Alabama.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that all applicants pass a Physical Abilities Test which includes
- Dummy drag—a 75 pound dummy must be dragged for three minutes across at least 694 feet
- Obstacle course—must be completed with 58 seconds
- Climb and grasp—ladder must be climbed and object retrieved within seven seconds
- Stair climb—108 stairs must be climbed with a 20 pound weight within 45 seconds
- Run and cuff—a quarter mile run followed by handcuffing a target must be completed in 2 minutes and 35 seconds
Following approval, candidates will be interviewed by BOP personnel and subject to a background investigation. A medical exam and drug test will also be conducted prior to employment.
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
Cadets must undergo twelve weeks of training and must pass all of the physical, academic, and regulatory requirements to become certified correctional officers. The first week of training takes place at an assigned ADOC correctional facility and involves on the job training.
The remaining eleven weeks of training takes place at the ADOC Training Academy in Selma. Cadets live at the Academy while they are trained Sundays through Thursdays. Once they have completed this training, the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC) certifies them as correctional officers.
Certified correctional officers serve a six month probationary period. Correctional officers who are established in their careers receive an additional 32 hours of professional training a year.
Federal correctional officers must complete 200 hours of training prior to employment. The first 80 hours of training is conducted at the assigned correctional facility. The remaining 120 hours of training, which includes self-defense, firearms and policies & procedures is provided through the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA. Federal correctional officers must also receive between 16 and 40 hours of additional training annually, depending on their job assignment.