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Corrections Officer Jobs in Louisiana

The Federal Bureau of Prisons supervises almost 5,736 inmates throughout its Louisiana-based correctional institutions.  These include the U.S. Penitentiary at Pollock housing high security male inmates, which also has an attached minimum security prison camp.  The Federal Correctional Complex at Oakdale includes a low security Federal Correctional Institution as well as a Federal Detention Center which holds pre-trial and holdover inmates.

Louisiana’s correctional institutions, parish facilities and work release centers house 38,000 inmates. According to a May 2012 article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Louisiana imprisons more of its citizens, per capita, than any other state in the United States.

The inmate population in Louisiana has doubled over the past 20 years, with one in 86 Louisiana citizens having been incarcerated. One in seven black men in New Orleans is in prison or on probation or parole. The article indicates that many prisons in Louisiana are for-profit institutions, with each prison inmate worth almost $25 in money from the state.

Meet the Qualifications to Become a Correctional Officer in Louisiana

Federal Correctional Officers

The minimum requirements to join the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the GS-5 pay grade are

  • Be a U.S. citizen (some facilities may waive this if in need)
  • Be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • Have no serious financial debts
  • Have a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have at least three years of full time experience in
    • Counseling
    • Emergency response
    • Teaching
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Security

The qualifications for entry at the GS-6 level include one or more of the following:

  • Have completed at least nine semester hours of graduate study in
    • Law
    • Social science
    • Criminology
  • Have a year of specialized experience in
    • Mental health treatment
    • Corrections
    • Law enforcement
 

Louisiana Department of Corrections

No education (beyond a high school diploma/GED) or experience is required to take the Corrections Cadet Test in Louisiana, the first step towards becoming a Louisiana Correctional Officer. Candidates for correctional officer jobs in Louisiana must be at least 18 years old, however, possess a valid driver’s license, be a U.S. citizen, and have no felonies or misdemeanors of domestic violence on record. Steps to become a correctional officer in Louisiana are:

  1. Take the Corrections Cadet Test. This may be scheduled online through the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service. All candidates must specify when applying online where they wish to take the test (usually the center(s) that have the Corrections Cadet job opening will offer the test).
  2. After taking the Corrections Cadet test, apply online for open Corrections Cadet positions. When candidates apply, they will also be considered for Corrections Sergeant or Sergeant-Master depending upon their experience, as follows:
    • Corrections Cadet – no experience, entry-level position
    • Corrections Sergeant- have six months of experience in corrections (including penal and mental institutions, prison farms and prison industries)
    • Corrections Sergeant-Master-  have one year of experience in corrections (law enforcement experience may be substituted for this requirement)
  3. Qualified candidates may be contacted to continue in the hiring process, which includes an interview, psychological and physical exams, drug test and background investigation.

Training For Corrections Officers in Louisiana

Federal Correctional Officers

New federal correctional officers must complete 200 hours of training prior to field duty.  Eighty hours of training are conducted at the assigned facility and provide orientation to security procedures and facility policies.  The remaining portion of training is provided through the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.  Recruits will receive specialized training in federal correctional policies, firearms use, witness security, marksmanship, and self-defense.  Following the first year, federal correctional officers must receive 16 to 40 hours of in-service training annually.

Louisiana Department of Corrections

New correctional officers in Louisiana must complete 120 hours of pr-service training upon hire. They must also become Louisiana POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certified, which consists of 249 hours and firearms qualification. Basic POST training is currently offered at the following training academies:

  • Shreveport Regional Police Training Academy, Shreveport
  • St. Martin Parish Regional Training Academy, St. Martinville
  • Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy, Shreveport
  • CARTA (Capital Area Regional Training Academy), Baton Rouge
  • Kenner Police Academy, Kenner
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Training Academy, Harvey

Classes for a Louisiana correctional officer’s POST certification include:

  • Physical training
  • Firearms
  • First Aid
  • Legal Aspects
  • Orientation to Criminal Justice

Each year, correctional officers in Louisiana are expected to take 40 hours of training. They must also re-qualify under POST in the usage of firearms.

Sites for Correctional Officer Jobs in Louisiana

Corrections cadets, who will become Corrections Sergeants after six months of experience, may be placed at any of the following correctional institutions throughout Louisiana:

  • Winn Correctional Center, Atlanta
  • B.B. Rayburn Correctional Center, Angie
  • Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola
  • Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, St. Gabriel
  • J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center, Pineville
  • Forcht-Wade Correctional Center, Keithville
  • Elayn Hunt Correctional Center,  St. Gabriel
  • Dixon Correctional Institute, Jackson
  • David Wade Correctional Center, Homer
  • Avoyelles Correctional Center, Cottonport
  • Allen Correctional Center, Kinder

Corrections Officer Salary in Louisiana

In 2012, the Department of Labor found that the median corrections officer salary in Louisiana was $30,910. The Alexandria area was the highest paying in the state with a median salary of $42,550, which was about 27% higher than the state’s overall median salary.

According to the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service, the following is the salary structure for correctional officers in Louisiana:

Corrections Cadet:

  • Minimum: $19,632
  • Maximum: $44,184

Corrections Sergeant:

  • Minimum: $21,012
  • Maximum: $47,280

Corrections Lieutenant:

  • Minimum: $27,564
  • Maximum: $61,968

Corrections Captain:

  • Minimum: $31,560
  • Maximum: $70,944

Corrections Major:

  • Minimum: $33,756
  • Maximum: $75,924

Corrections Colonel:

  • Minimum: $38,664
  • Maximum: $86,928

The salaries given here are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and represent data for cities throughout Louisiana:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Alexandria LA
540
42550
Baton Rouge LA
2910
34850
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux LA
320
33430
Lafayette LA
300
32520
Lake Charles LA
330
36060
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner LA
920
26930
Shreveport-Bossier City LA
510
37860
Hammond nonmetropolitan area
340
32830
Natchitoches nonmetropolitan area
1600
33710
Winnsboro nonmetropolitan area
1060
28670
New Iberia nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
28570

Alexandria, Louisiana Corrections Officer Job Description

Alexandria, Louisiana is the home of the Federal Correctional Complex Pollock.  FCC Pollock is a high security facility that includes the United States Penitentiary, the medium security Federal Correctional Institution and a minimum security prison camp.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that the USP Pollock held 1,507 inmates, FCI Pollock held 1,700 inmates and the minimum security camp held 298 inmates in 2013. The medium and minimum facilities at FCC Pollock are significantly overcrowded.  FCI Pollock was designed as a 1,152 bed facility while the prison camp was designed for only 128 beds.

The minimum security prison camp houses inmates who must work during their stay.  Correctional officers must supervise inmates as they work in manufacturing, agriculture or construction settings.  Inmates are assigned to a job within 90 days of arrival, but may request re-assignment to another by formally petition to the unit management team.  Correctional officers must supervise inmates rigorously throughout the work day; they must ensure that inmates don appropriate safety gear, properly operate equipment and vehicles, and monitor injuries and equipment failures.

Also located in Alexandria is the Rapides Parish Detention Center which is operated by the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Department.  This 328 bed facility houses parish prisoners, pre-trial defendants, DOC inmates and municipal offenders.  Currently, the average number of male and female inmates at this facility is 381.   The correctional officers also monitor work release offenders who typically average 315.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Alexandria, Louisiana

Federal Correctional Officer

Federal correctional officers may be designated GS-5, GS-6 or GS-7, but entering officers may only receive the GS-5 or GS-6 pay grade.  In order to obtain a GS-5 pay grade, candidates must have one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • At least three years of full time experience in
    • Teaching; or
    • Management; or
    • Sales; or
    • Emergency response; or
    • Counseling

Entering correctional officers may receive a GS-6 pay rating if they have one of the following:

  • At least nine semester hours or 14 quarter hours of graduate courses in criminal justice, social science or psychology
  • One year of specialized professional experience in
    • Corrections
    • Mental health treatment
    • Law enforcement

The salary ranges for these pay grades in 2012 were

  • GS-5:  $31,315 – $40,706
  • GS-6:  $34,907 – $45,376
  • GS-7:  $38,790 – $50,431

New federal corrections officers receive 80 hours of training at their assigned correctional facility followed by 120 hours of instruction at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA where they’ll learn to become effective correctional officers.

County Correctional Officer

Correctional officer jobs in Alexandria may also be found with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Correction Division.  The minimum requirements to join this department include:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Ability to pass a drug screen
  • Ability to pass a physical evaluation
  • Ability to pass a psychological screening
  • Willingness to work any shift

New officers must obtain certification for Basic Correctional Peace Officers through 249 hours of training.

Angola, Louisiana Corrections Officer Job Description

The Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) is located in a relatively isolated region known as Angola. This 18,000-acre site, which was opened in 1901, still stands as the largest correctional facility in the South and one of the largest in the United States. Just a few of this institution’s nicknames include the “Farm” (it includes a massive, working farm) and “Alcatraz of the South.”

LSP consists of a main prison that is capable of holding 2,000 inmates, as well as four outcamps, which serve as self-contained living units. The most violent inmates at LSP are housed in the Camp J Management Program. LSP is also the site of Louisiana’s death row and execution chamber.

How to Become a Correctional Officer at Louisiana State Penitentiary

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections is responsible for the 39,000 inmates housed within the State’s 12 correctional facilities. It is also the hiring agency for State correctional officers. Individuals who want to become Louisiana State corrections cadets must meet the requirements set forth by the Department of Public Safety, which include:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must have no felony convictions

Before applying for a job as a Louisiana State corrections cadet, individuals must have taken and passed the corrections cadet exam, which is administered by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Individuals who want to advance on to become a Corrections Classification Officer I with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections may be best served by completing a bachelor’s degree program. The minimum requirements to advance from a corrections cadet to a corrections classification officer I include meeting one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university

OR

  • At least 6 years of experience

OR

  • A combination of education and experience

New trainees for Louisiana State correctional officer jobs must complete a Louisiana POST training program to become Louisiana correctional peace officers. Training includes at least 249 hours of study, along with training to achieve POST Firearm certification.

Louisiana State Penitentiary by the Numbers

LSP, as of 2010, had an inmate population of 5,100. During the same period, 71 percent of inmates in this correctional institution were serving a life sentence and 1.6 percent had been sentenced to death. LSP still remains the number-one correctional institution in the United States for its number of inmates with life sentences, likely due to Louisiana’s harsh sentencing laws.

LSP usually has a staff of about 1,700, making in one of the largest employers in Louisiana. As of 2011, the budget of LSP was more than $120 million.

Within LSP is a community that includes 250 homes and 750 people (referred to as “free people”), all of whom are either emergency response personnel or their family members. This community even includes a grocery store, post office, community center, and a number of recreational facilities.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana Corrections Officer Job Description

Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana, serves as the second largest city in the state, with a population of more than 230,000, as of 2012. The Greater Baton Rouge area had a population of about 816,000 during the same period.

The Baton Rouge area is also home to two Louisiana State correctional facilities, both of which are managed by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections:

Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women: The Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW), which opened in 1973, houses female offenders of all security levels. Located on a 200-acre site in St. Gabriel, has a maximum inmate population of 952.

Maximum-security inmates are housed in cellblock housing, while minimum- and medium-custody inmates are housed in dormitory-style housing.

Elayn Hunt Correctional Center: The Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (EHCC) is an all-male, multi-security correctional facility. The EHCC, which opened in 1979, has a maximum inmate population of 2,186, making it the second largest prison in the State of Louisiana.

It also currently serves as Louisiana’s Adult Reception and Diagnostic Center, which is the primary reception facility for all male offenders committed to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

The EHCC receives and holds all medium-security disciplinary transfers, as well as those with mental health and medical concerns, shock incarceration participants, those assigned to work crews, and lifers. Further, this State correctional facility also serves as a medical facility for inmates who are chronically or seriously ill.

The EHCC is organized into five, distinct programs:

  • Administration
  • Incarceration
  • Rehabilitation
  • Diagnostic
  • Health Services

This State correctional facility provides assessment, diagnostic, work, educational, self-help, discipline, mental health, social, and medical programs for inmates here.

Becoming a Correctional Officer in Baton Rouge: Employment and Training Requirements

Employment Requirements

Individuals who want to become correctional officer cadets through the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections must be at least 18 years old; they must possess a valid driver’s license; and they must have no felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions.

All candidates for correctional officer cadet jobs in Baton Rouge must first take and pass the cadet officer exam to be eligible to apply for a corrections officer job through the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Many corrections officer cadets choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, as advancing to the next job level—Corrections Classification Officer I—requires either 6 years of experience, a bachelor’s degree, or a combination of the two.

Just a few of the typical majors sought out by individuals interested in a career in corrections include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Police science
  • Justice administration
  • Criminology
  • Sociology

Training Requirements

As Louisiana State peace officers, all new Louisiana State correctional officer cadets must complete a basic training program through the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST).

POST certification for basic correctional peace officers in Louisiana consists of 249 hours that includes a core curriculum and a POST firearm certification.

Oakdale, Louisiana Corrections Officer Job Description

There are several public and private correctional facilities in the Oakdale region of Louisiana.  The largest is the Federal Correctional Complex Oakdale that consists of a low security Federal Correctional Institution (FCI Oakdale) and an administrative holding center, Federal Detention Center (FDC Oakdale). FDC Oakdale primarily houses male pretrial or transitioning inmates and has an attached minimum security prison camp.  In 2013, FCI Oakdale held 1,579 inmates, FDC Oakdale held 601 inmates and FDC Camp held 113 inmates.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Oakdale, Louisiana

Federal Bureau of Prisons

The Federal Bureau of Prisons supports many of the correctional officer jobs in Oakdale, Louisiana.  Federal correctional officers may receive a salary commensurate with one of three pay grades:

  • GS-5:  $31,315 – $40,706
  • GS-6:  $34,907 – $45,376
  • GS-7:  $38,790 – $50,431

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of professional experience in teaching, management, sales or counseling may join BOP as a GS-5 employee.  Candidates with at least nine semester hours of graduate course work or at least one year of experience in corrections, law enforcement or mental health treatment may enter at the GS-6 level.  New officers must obtain 80 hours of orientation at their assigned federal facility, followed by 120 hours of training at the Staff Training Academy.

LCS Corrections Services

Interested candidates must apply for correctional officer jobs in Oakdale in person at the South Louisiana Correctional Center. Applicants should meet the following requirements in order to become correctional officers in Oakdale:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • U.S. citizen or alien with a work permit

New officers must complete orientation and training provided by the facility’s training officer.  Training standards meet or surpass Louisiana correctional officer training requirements.  Instruction includes firearms certification, defensive tactics and non-lethal munitions.

Correctional Institutions in the Oakdale Area

FDC Oakdale is primarily a detention facility for illegal immigrants awaiting deportation.  The Oakdale Immigration Court is located within the complex and has three permanent judges in attendance full time. The average wait time to see an immigration judge is three weeks, while the resolution period for most detainee cases is between one and three months. If sentenced to deportation, detainees are usually removed without delay.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons also oversees management of the nearby private facility designated the South Louisiana Correctional Center.  This 1,002 bed facility houses male and female inmates in minimum, medium or maximum security units.  The BOP contracts day-to-day operations management out to LCS Corrections Services.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency utilizes this facility to house immigration detainees, but they comprise only a small fraction of the prison population.

LCS Corrections Services is the largest privately owned corrections company that specializes in the design, construction and operation of prison facilities. LCS Corrections Services built the South Louisiana Correctional Center in five phases dating from 1993 through 2001.  ICE maintains a field office at this facility and provides instruction to LCS about detainee management.

Shreveport, Louisiana Corrections Officer Job Description

Shreveport, which is located in the northwestern region of Louisiana, is the third largest city in the State. As of 2010, Shreveport had 199,000 residents. The Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan statistical area, during the same time, had a population of 441,000.

The David Wade Correctional Center is located in Homer, just about 50 miles northeast of Shreveport, in Louisiana’s northwest region. This multi-level correctional facility, which was established in 1980, is situated on 1,500 acres of land. Inmates are housed in working cellblocks, dormitories, and restrictive cell blocks, depending on their security needs. This facility has a maximum capacity of 1,731 inmates, of which 48 percent are maximum-custody offenders.

The David Wade Correctional Center has 533 employees and an operating budget (as of FY 2010/2011) of $37.7 million.

The David Wade Correctional Center also operates a 522-bed satellite medical center, the Dr. Martin L. Forcht, Jr. Clinical Treatment Unit, which consists of inmates from the northern part of Louisiana who are being processed into the system and inmates who are geriatric and or otherwise infirm. The nearby LSU Medical Center in Shreveport provides the delivery of medical services to these inmates.

How to Become a Louisiana State Correctional Officer in Shreveport

Minimum Requirements and Job Duties

Individuals who want to become a State correctional officer cadet in one of Louisiana’s 12 correctional facilities, such as the David Wade Correctional Center in Shreveport, must be able to meet the minimum requirements of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections/Corrections Services. This includes:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must have no felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions

As an entry-level State correctional officer cadet, individuals must be able to:

  • Maintain security of a correctional institution
  • Observe and participate in supervision, control and custody of offenders
  • Act independently or under general supervision
  • Respond to emergencies and render assistance, as required
  • Prepare reports activities

Correctional Officer Cadet Testing Requirements

All candidates for Louisiana State corrections cadet jobs must pass the corrections test administered by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections/Corrections Services to be considered. Applicants must apply to take the cadet exam before applying for a corrections officer job. Cadet testing is offered continuously throughout the year.

Educational Options

To advance to a Corrections Classification Officer I, individuals must have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or at least six years of full-time work experience. Because of the extensive experiential requirements, many candidates therefore choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Just a few of the typical degrees pursued by individuals interested in careers in corrections include:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal justice
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Justice administration

Individuals may also qualify for Louisiana State corrections classification officer I jobs if they possess:

  • 30 to 59 college semester hours and 5 years of experience
  • 60 to 89 college semester hours and 4 years of experience
  • 90 to 119 college semester hours and 3 years of experience
  • 120 college semester hours (without a degree) and 2 years of experience

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