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Kansas Corrections Officer Job Description

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a robust presence in Kansas with one major correctional facility, a Community Corrections Management Field Office in Kansas City, and the North Central Regional Office, which serves as the headquarters for the entire North Central region of the U.S.  The U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth is a medium security facility housing male offenders that also has an attached minimum security prison camp.  In 2013, the population count at the U.S. Penitentiary was 1,684 and 427 at the prison camp.

Kansas Department of Corrections statistics from 2011 indicate that 93 percent of prison inmates in Kansas that year were male. Although the capacity of all Kansas prisons was 9148, the population of inmates that year totaled 9186, with the majority (64 percent) being Caucasian, 33.4 percent black, 1.8 percent American Indian, and 0.8 percent Asian. The most populated prison facility in Kansas that year was the Lansing Correctional Institute, at 2412. Kansas correctional officer jobs are vital to keeping order in these facilities through round-the-clock supervision of inmates.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Corrections Officer in Kansas

Federal Correctional Officers

The requirements to become a federal correctional officer include:

  • U.S. citizenship (some facilities with extreme need may hire non-citizens)
  • At least 21 years of age and younger than 37
  • Have no disqualifying criminal history
  • Have a financial history without serious delinquencies

Correctional officers may join the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the GS-5 or GS-6 levels. The requirements for GS-5 employees includes:

  • Bachelor’s degree; or
  • Three years of experience in
    • Teaching
    • Security
    • Supervision
    • Sales
    • Religious instruction
    • Emergency response

The requirements for GS-6 entry are

  • 14 quarter hours of graduate course work in
    • Social science
    • Law
    • Criminal justice; or
  • One year of specialized experience in
    • Law enforcement
    • Mentally ill patient care
    • Corrections

Kansas Department of Corrections

Before applying for corrections officer jobs in Kansas, certain qualifications must be met. These include:

  • Attaining age of 19 (or older)
  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions on record
  • Have no domestic violence convictions on record
  • Have no DUI convictions in the past two years
  • Have no adult misdemeanor drug charges or possession convictions in the past five years
  • Have no pending indictments, criminal charges or outstanding warrants

The Process of Becoming a Corrections Officer in Kansas

Applicants who meet the above prerequisites may apply for open corrections officer jobs in Kansas. Steps that must be followed in this process are:

  1. Register online by completing the Personal Data Form. This will provide an applicant number to each job candidate.
  2. Complete the Kansas State Employment Center online job application.
  3. Request and obtain a Certificate of Tax Clearance. This must be submitted to the recruiter designated in the job opening announcement
  4. Submit other documentation as required in the job opening announcement (usually includes a resume, cover letter, proof of high school graduation and copy of driver’s license)
  5. Once all applications are reviewed, qualified candidates will be contacted to schedule the Corrections Officer Test.
  6. Those who pass the test may be contacted for an interview with Department of Corrections personnel.
  7. Candidates must pass a background and employment check
  8. Once given a conditional offer of employment as a corrections officer in Kansas, candidates must pass a drug test, physical examination and TB test.

Training for Corrections Officers in Kansas

Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy

New federal corrections officer must complete phases I and II of Introduction to Correctional Techniques.   Phase I is an 80 hour orientation conducted at the assigned facility.  Phase II is a three week training program that includes firearms instruction, correctional procedures, physical abilities testing, and self-defense.  Phase II is administered at the FLETA in Glynco, GA.  After the first year, federal correctional officers must receive between 16 and 40 hours of training per year.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Newly hired corrections officers in Kansas must complete the Kansas Department of Corrections Basic Training for Corrections Officers. This course of study lasts 240 hours and includes:

  • Standards of professional conduct
  • Risk management
  • Cultural awareness
  • Use of force
  • Offender supervision
  • Medical emergencies
  • Communication skills
  • Safety procedures
  • Information technology
  • Security procedures

After the formalized training program is completed, corrections officers will also receive on the job training. Corrections officers in Kansas are considered to be on a probationary status for the first year of employment.

Yearly, Kansas corrections officers must complete 40 hours of continuing education training. In addition to refresher courses on the above-listed topics, training may include:

  • Inmate sexual assault prevention
  • Prevention and control of communicable and infectious diseases
  • Sexual harassment
  • Self defense
  • Sexual misconduct/undue familiarity

Locations for Kansas Corrections Officer Jobs

Correctional officer jobs in Kansas may be located at any of the eight correctional institutions and four satellite facilities across the state. These include:

  • Kansas Correctional Industries – Lansing
  • Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility – Larned
  • Wichita Work Release Facility –Wichita
  • Winfield Correctional Facility – Winfield
  • Topeka Correctional Facility – Topeka
  • Norton Correctional Facility – Norton
  • Lansing Correctional Facility  – Lansing
  • Hutchinson Correctional Facility – Hutchinson
  • Ellsworth Correctional Facility- Ellsworth
  • El Dorado Correctional Facility – El Dorado

Corrections Officer Salary in Kansas

The Department of Labor found that in 2012 the average corrections officer salary in Kansas was $32,620, which represented an average hourly wage of $15.68. Topeka was one of the highest paying areas in Kansas with an average annual salary of $31,600.

The correctional officer salaries below are provided by the Kansas Department of Administration, Office of Personnel Services:

Corrections Officer I (A):

  • Step 4: $24,924.60
  • Step 5: $25,516.80
  • Step 6: $26,131.20
  • Step 7: $26,784
  • Step 8: $27,456
  • Step 18 (Maximum): $35,059.20

Corrections Officer I (B):

  • Step 4: $26,131.20
  • Step 5: $26,784
  • Step 6: $27,456
  • Step 7: $28,147.20
  • Step 8: $28,857.60
  • Step 18 (Maximum): $36,787.20

Corrections Officer II:

  • Step 4: $27,456
  • Step 5: $28,147.20
  • Step 6: $28,857.60
  • Step 7: $29,529.60
  • Step 8: $30,240
  • Step 18 (Maximum): $38,649.60

Corrections Specialist I:

  • Step 4: $31,795.20
  • Step 5: $32,524.80
  • Step 6: $33,388.80
  • Step 7: $34,156.80
  • Step 8: $35,059.20
  • Step 18 (Maximum): $44,755.20

These salaries are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and include correctional officers throughout all of Kansas:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Kansas City MO-KS
2110
32830
Manhattan KS
110
30670
St. Joseph MO-KS
400
27980
Topeka KS
570
31600
Wichita KS
470
30620
Kansas nonmetropolitan area
1630
30320

Kansas City, Kansas Corrections Officer Job Description

The Kansas City Metropolitan Area (which includes the major cities of Overland Park, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Independence, Missouri) encompasses Lansing, Kansas, home to the Lansing Correctional Facility.

How to Attain a Correctional Officer Job in Kansas City, Kansas

Individuals with a goal of achieving a career in corrections and working for the Kansas Department of Corrections in Kansas City must first ensure they meet the minimum requirements for employment, which include:

  • Must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Must be at least 19 years old
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must have no felony convictions or felony misdemeanor domestic violence convictions
  • Must have no DUI offenses within the past 24 months
  • Must have not used or possessed drugs within the past 60 months

It is commonplace for individuals pursuing jobs in state corrections to complete a formal degree program as to enjoy a competitive edge throughout their career. Typical degree programs for correctional officers include study in the behavioral sciences, the social sciences, or criminal justice/law.

Candidates who meet the minimum requirements must successfully complete all phases of the employment process, which include:

  • Passing the Corrections Officer Test, a written aptitude test
  • Passing a drug test, TB screen, and physical examination
  • Passing a Basic Corrections Office training program

Upon completion of training, new recruits become certified Kansas State corrections officers and perform full-performance correctional work that includes enforcing laws, rules, and regulations in a correctional facility.

Facts about the Lansing Correctional Facility

The Lansing Correctional Facility was home to 2,405 inmates (1,777 within the Central Unit and 628 in the East Unit) as of April 2014, and serves as Kansas’ largest and oldest correctional complex for male inmates. The entire complex includes the Central Unit, which is a maximum-security facility sitting on 11 acres, and the East Unit, which is a minimum-security facility sitting on 85 acres.

The Lansing Correctional Facility also serves as a center for the Kansas Department of Corrections transportation system, which moves inmates throughout the State’s correctional facilities. This facility was originally named the Kansas State Penitentiary when it opened in 1859; the name was changed to the Lansing Correctional Facility in 1990.

The Lansing Correctional Facility features a number of inmates programs, including:

  • Life Skills Enhancement Program: Includes academic education and vocational training, as well as the employability program, which provides guidance on seeking employment
  • Therapeutic Community Program: Designed to create a positive peer culture and facilitate lifestyle changes
  • Sex Offenders Treatment Program: Treatment for make sex offenders, with a goal to habilitate inmates toward emotional health and the successful transition back into the community
  • Chaplaincy Department: Oversees and coordinates inmate religious support and volunteer services
  • Activities Support: Includes individual health and fitness activities, such as inmate self-improvement groups, arts and crafts, and music groups

Leavenworth, Kansas Corrections Officer Job Description

By a recent count, correctional officers were in charge of providing structure and supervision for 708 State Department of Corrections (DOC) inmates in the area around Kansas City. This figure does not include prisoners held in the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, a medium security federal corrections institute with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp. A new federal prison is also projected to be built on or near the site of the current facility, bringing an additional 300-400 correctional officer jobs to the area.

Theses cities are with the jurisdiction of and well within commuting distance of the federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth and the state DOC’s Topeka Correctional Facility.

  • Kansas City
  • Olathe
  • Overland Park
  • Shawnee
  • Lenexa
  • Leavenworth
  • Leawood

Education to Prepare for Careers in Corrections

As the Leavenworth Penitentiary and Topeka Correctional Facility are operated by different agencies they each have their own prerequisites for hiring. The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires its correctional officers to qualify by having either:

  • A bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited institution
  • Three years of general full-time work experience or one year of specialized experience such as:
    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Border Patrol Agent
    • Correctional or Detention Officer

Officers will be eligible to enter correctional officer jobs at a higher pay level if they can meet either of the following:

  • 9 semester or 14 quarter credit-hours of graduate studies in:
    • Social Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Criminology
    • Law
    • Other related fields
  • Having more than one year of specialized experience

Officers working in the Topeka Correctional Facility are required to have a high school diploma or GED.

Training for State and Federal Correctional Officers

Once candidates have been hired as new officers they will begin their intensive training programs at their state or federal training facility. It is here that officers will learn how to become professional corrections employees and receive all the necessary training to make a running start in their new careers.

Correctional officers working at the penitentiary in Leavenworth will attend a three-week Introduction to Correctional Techniques course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. This is a residency training program that offers extra training courses in addition to the basic academy including:

  • Bus operations
  • Witness security
  • Marksmanship

The Kansas State DOC offers its own basic training program for new correctional officers, an eight-week Basic Officer Training that includes instruction in state- and facility-specific laws, rules, and regulations.

Both state and federal programs will ensure their officers are up to the task and able to complete every aspect of their job description, such as:

  • Restraining and subduing aggressive inmates
  • Following the appropriate procedures for inmate counts, statistics, and report writing
  • Withstand verbal abuse, threats, and intimidation
  • Complete proper cell inspections and prisoner body searches

How to Apply

Candidates interested in becoming correctional officers at the Topeka Correctional Facility should call the prison at (785) 559-5109 and ask to be registered for the next available Corrections Officer Test, a basic-skills assessment exam that must be passed in order to continue in the application process:

Applications for the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth can be made through the federal government’s USAJobs website.

Topeka, Kansas Corrections Officer Job Description

Topeka, Kansas, which is the capital city of Kansas, is home to more than 127,000 residents, as of 2010; the Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, had a population of nearly 234,000 during the same period. The Kansas Department of Corrections has a presence in Topeka, as this city is home to the Topeka Correctional Facility, the only state prison in Kansas for women.

Topeka, which was built in the 1970s, houses female inmates of every security level (from work-release to maximum security). As of April 2014, the Topeka Correctional Facility housed 815 inmates, 178 of whom were in the general population.

How to Meet the Requirements to Become a Kansas State Correctional Officer
in Topeka

Minimum Requirements for Employment

The Kansas Department of Corrections requires that all candidates for State corrections officer jobs first meet the minimum requirements for employment. Specifically, candidates for correctional officer jobs in Topeka must:

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Have no felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions
  • Have no DUI convictions within the last two years

It is common for would-be correctional officers to earn a degree in a relevant field of study before pursing a job with the Kansas State criminal justice system. Candidates frequently hold an associate’s degree in an area such as criminal justice, corrections, law, criminology or even psychology.

Additional Employment Requirements

Individuals who are chosen as Kansas State correctional officer candidates must then successfully complete a multi-phase employment process, which includes the following:

  • Passing an employment and background check
  • Passing a written Corrections Officer Test
  • Passing a drug screen
  • Passing a medical examination
  • Completing the basic Corrections Office training program

All new recruits are expected to possess the following knowledge, abilities, and skills:

  • Knowledge of the DOC and its institutional policies, procedures, and administrative regulations
  • Knowledge of the DOC’s inmate handbook
  • Knowledge of English grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Knowledge of the attitudes, problems, and behavior of individuals under restraint
  • Ability to communicate information accurately and concisely
  • Ability to operate security devices and equipment
  • Ability to operate communications equipment
  • Ability to understand and apply inmate rules, regulations and Department policies and procedures
  • Ability to use a firearm
  • Ability to think and act quickly during an emergency
  • Ability to supervise and control inmates individually and in groups

The Topeka Correctional Facility in the News

The Topeka Correctional Facility began making news in 2012 when the Department of Justice reported that, through a comprehensive investigation, the facility failed to “protect women prisoners from harm due to sexual abuse and misconduct…”

The multiple deficiencies in the operations of the Topeka Correctional Facility resulted with the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division requesting that they work with the Kansas Department of Corrections to implement reforms as to address the documented deficiencies.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division found that the Kansas DOC failed to deal with the problems within the facility even after the National Institute of Corrections recommended a number of changes in 2010 and after the facility’s top administrator was reassigned.

The Corrections Secretary for the Kansas DOC conducted an internal investigation after being appointed in 2011 and thereafter announced that 100 new security cameras and additional policies were put in place at the Topeka Correctional Facility.

Wichita, Kansas Corrections Officer Job Description

Correctional officers in the Wichita area have four Kansas Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities to choose from when seeking jobs- the most of any region in the state. The starting salary for a Wichita correctional officer is $28,308.80 per year, with many opportunities for advancement. By a May 2012 count there were 470 correctional officers employed in the area, making an average annual salary of $30,620.

After navigating a selective application and hiring procedure, new officers will receive the latest training in corrections procedures. With area prisons either near or over capacity, Kansas is looking to expand its corrections capacity and add more officers to its ranks. The nearby facilities in Wichita are:

  • Wichita Work Release Facility, 249 with a 250 capacity
  • Winfield Correctional Facility, 553 with a 554 capacity
  • El Dorado Correctional Facility, 1,546 with a 1,511 capacity
  • Hutchinson Correctional Facility, 1,836 with a 1,784 capacity

Prerequisites for Becoming a Wichita Correctional Officer

The Kansas DOC is the agency in charge of running the four regional prisons around Wichita, and requires job candidates to meet the following conditions before being eligible to become correctional officers:

  • Have graduated from high school or an equivalent education program
  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Be of good moral character with no felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Able to pass a background check and drug test
  • Have no DUI convictions for the preceding two years

Officers also need to be capable of fulfilling every duty or their job description, including:

  • Willingness to fire a rifle, shotgun, or handgun
  • Able to supervising and control individuals and groups of inmates
  • Be in good physical shape and able to use force against resisting and violent inmates as needed

Training for Wichita Corrections

Newly hired officers will be trained using the latest proven techniques and equipped with up-to-date technology as they serve in the state’s correctional institutions. After their eight-week Basic Officer Training, the new cadets will have become ready and able corrections employees, and be eligible to begin work in their home institution under supervision and on probation for one year after their date of hire. Correctional officers receive training in the areas of:

  • How to become proficient in self-defense, non-lethal weapons, and firearms
  • First aid, CPR, and medical emergencies
  • State laws and facility policy and procedures
  • Prison psychology and sociology

Application and Hiring Process

Candidates interested in working for the DOC in the Wichita area can begin the application process by telephoning the facility of their choosing to find out when the next Corrections Officer Test will be offered. This is a required exam that evaluates a candidate’s basic English, writing, reading comprehension, and judgment abilities. Candidates will also need to fill out an online Personal Data Form and complete a State Application along with a Tax Clearance Certificate. Successful applicants will be notified and may continue in the hiring process which includes:

  • Department interview
  • Background investigation
  • Tuberculosis test
  • Physical exam
  • Urinalysis drug test

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