Career and Salary Information for Correctional Administrators

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Prison wardens are the top administrators of correctional facilities. They are the stewards of the facility and are responsible for all of the operations that take place there. From supervising all personnel to ensuring public safety and the well-being of the inmates, prison wardens oversee all personnel and programs to ensure the safe and efficient functioning of the facility.

Prison administration jobs are complex, as they require a deep understanding of administration, the correctional system, and institutional psychology. Prison wardens are often responsible for institutions in which thousands of inmates are housed; where public funds must be properly disbursed; and where all personnel – from correctional officers to janitors – must be supervised. As such, this high-level correctional position is a challenging – an often grueling – one.

Job Description for Wardens and Jail Administrators

Just a few of the job duties of a prison warden include:

  • Overseeing inmate programs, including work crews and recreational programs
  • Overseeing inmate health care, education, and psychiatric care
  • Oversee rehabilitation and reentry programs within the correctional institutional
  • Working with correctional staff to handle emergency situations or inmate behavioral problems
  • Monitoring and evaluating all activities associated with the correctional staff, including correctional officers, supervisors, and unit managers
  • Hiring, training, promoting and firing staff
  • Coordinating prison staff employment to ensure proper safety and security
  • Establishing financial and programming goals for the institution
  • Budgeting and setting policies
  • Adhering to state regulations and legislation and updating programs to reflect this
  • Monitoring the operations of the institution and making changes to ensure maximum productivity, efficiency, and safety
  • Working with the prison board and adopting, evaluating and revising prison policies and procedures, including treatment programs, job training, recreation, inmate procedures and classifications, and discipline, among others

The Road to Becoming a Prison Warden

»Prison wardens hold high-level, supervisory positions that require an advanced level of experience and education.  The most common route to becoming a prison warden is through initial employment as a correctional officer. Many individuals have worked in the corrections industry for 15 to 30 years before achieving the position of prison warden. However, in addition to experience, prison wardens also often achieve bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in such fields as criminology, law enforcement, criminal justice, social work, sociology, business administration, psychology, and administration of justice.

Salary and Employment Statistics for Prison Wardens

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median, annual salary for first-line correctional supervisors was $57,840 in 2012, although recent job postings for prison wardens provide a clearer picture of the potential earnings for this profession:

  • Warden, Maine: $74,734 – $102,897
  • Assistant Warden, Texas: $40,000 – $60,000
  • Assistant Warden, Louisiana: $50,244 – $106,500
  • Warden, Maryland: $70,066 – $112,503
  • Warden, California: $130,688 base salary (package up to $179,755)

Resources for Prison Wardens

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