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Maryland Corrections Officer Job Description

As of 2011, per the National Institute of Corrections, the Maryland Department of Corrections operated 24 prisons and pre-release centers. The inmate total statewide at this time was 20,891. The state’s incarceration rate was about four percent lower than the national average. In addition, Maryland has one federal penitentiary, which houses 1179 male medium- security inmates.  In Maryland, correctional officer jobs may be found within either type of institution.

What it Takes to Become a Correctional Officer in Maryland

Education

  • Federal
    • GS 5 level- Must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (or meet experience requirements below)
    • GS6 level- Must have completed nine graduate semester hours in criminology, criminal justice, social science, law, or a related field (or meet  experience requirements below)
  • State
    • Must have a high school diploma or GED

Experience

  • Federal
    • GS 5 level – May substitute for education three years of full-time general experience in one of the following areas:
      • Sales
      • Teaching or instructing others
      •  Supervising or managing others
      • Counseling others
      • Responding to emergencies
      • Guiding, directing and assisting others
    • GS6 level – May substitute for education one year of specialized full-time experience in:
      • Apprehension/arresting of those breaking the law
      • Responding to domestic disturbances
      • Making sure inmates in a correctional or mental health facility follow rules and regulations
  • State
    • No experience is required

Other Requirements

  • Federal
    • Must be under 37 years old
    • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • State
    • Must have, or able to obtain, a Class B driver’s license
    • Must be at least 21 years old
    • Must be a U.S. citizen or Resident Alien

The Hiring Process to Become a Correctional Officer in Maryland

  • Federal
    • Available jobs will be posted at USAjobs.gov, with a link to apply online
    • Applicants must pass a thorough background check and an interview with an employment panel
    • Applicants must pass a physical examination and drug test prior to employment
  • State
    • Available jobs are posted at State of Maryland Job Openings, with a link to apply online
    • Applicants must pass a complete background investigation and oral interview
    • Applicants must pass a physical examination and drug test prior to being placed on a register of a list of eligibles, and will be classified as Best Qualified, Better Qualified or Qualified
    • This list will be used by the Maryland Department of Corrections for up to two years to fill correctional officer vacancies

Training for Correctional Officers in Maryland

Federal

All new Federal Correctional Officers in Maryland must complete an in-service. This includes orientation to the facility at which they will be working, policies and procedures, and supervision of and communication with inmates. An Introduction to Correction Techniques I class will be completed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland.

Within the first 60 days on the job, all new Federal Correctional Officers in Maryland must complete training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA, consisting of:

  • Self-defense
  • Firearms
  • Written test on policies and procedures
  • Physical abilities test, including an obstacle course, dummy drag, stair climb, run and cuff, and climb and grasp exercises

State

New correctional officers in Maryland must complete 175 hours of entry-level training prescribed by the Maryland Correctional Training Commission. Depending upon the job location, training will take place in the Central Region (Sykesville) or the Hagerstown Region (Hagerstown). Training will include the usage of firearms.

After one year on the job, Maryland corrections officers must complete 40 hours of training each year.

Maryland Corrections Officer Job Locations

Federal

  • Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland

State

  • Baltimore City Correctional Center, Baltimore
  • Baltimore Pre-Release Unit, Baltimore
  • Brockbridge Correctional Facility, Jessup
  • Chesapeake Detention Facility, Baltimore
  • Central Home Detention Unit, Baltimore
  • Central Maryland Correctional Facility, Sykesville
  • Correctional Mental Health Center, Jessup
  • Eastern Correctional Institution, Westover
  • Eastern Pre-Release Unit, Church Hill
  • Jessup Correctional Institution, Jessup
  • Jessup Pre-Release Unit, Jessup
  • Maryland Correctional Institution, Hagerstown
  • Maryland Correctional Institution, Jessup
  • Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, Jessup
  • Maryland Correctional Pre-Release System, Jessup
  • Metropolitan Transition Center, Baltimore
  • North Branch Correctional Institution, Cumberland
  • Patuxent Institution, Jessup
  • Poplar Hill Pre-Release Unit, Quantico
  • Roxbury Correctional Institution, Hagerstown
  • Southern Maryland Pre-Release Unit, Charlotte Hall
  • Threshold, Baltimore
  • Western Correctional Institution, Cumberland

Corrections Officer Salary in Maryland

During 2012, it was found by the US Department of Labor that the median correctional officer salary in Maryland was $42,560. The average was actually about 2% higher at $43,470.

Here is the salary structure among correctional officers based on seniority level in the State of Maryland:

Correctional Officer I:

  • Minimum: $32,733
  • Maximum: $51,575

Correctional Officer II:

  • Minimum: $34,796
  • Maximum: $55,023

Correctional Officer Sergeant:

  • Minimum: $37,006
  • Maximum: $58,719

Correctional Officer Lieutenant:

  • Minimum: $41,896
  • Maximum: $66,880

Correctional Officer Captain:

  • Minimum: $44,600
  • Maximum: $71,399

Correctional Officer Major:

  • Minimum: $47,495
  • Maximum: $76,220

Correctional Security Chief:

  • Minimum: $54,009
  • Maximum: $86,718

The following correctional officer salary data for Maryland was published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Baltimore-Towson MD
3820
42890
Cumberland MD-WV
870
43230
Salisbury MD
690
40880
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division
5000
51030
Wilmington DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division
720
37650
Upper Eastern Shore nonmetropolitan area
190
40430

Annapolis Junction, Maryland Corrections Officer Job Description

Operating out of Annapolis Junction Maryland, Residential Re-entry Management (RRM) Baltimore and Residential Re-entry Management (RRM) Washington DC are two of the 26 RMM field offices operating across the country as part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The core objective of RRM Baltimore and RRM Washington DC is to help its inmates develop the tools they need to reconnect with the community. Staff members are fully accountable for the progress and behavior of its inmates. For example, inmates can only sign out of the center for specific approved activities, such as counseling or seeking for employment. Even then, correctional officers monitor inmates’ activities and perform drug and alcohol tests upon the inmates’ return.

RRM Baltimore, RRM Washington DC and its correctional officers also assist inmates in seeking employment and long-term housing (upon release from the RRM). Once the inmate finds housing, the correctional officer verifies this address and forwards pertinent inmate information to the U.S. Probation Office.

In summary, both RRM offices operating out of Annapolis Junction serve as a local liaison between the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service and the federal courts. They also provide a supervised environment, community programs, counseling and other forms of assistance to inmates who are reentering the community.

Individuals who wish to pursue a career as a federal correction officer in RRM Baltimore, RRM Washington DC must meet a specific set of education and experience requirements.

Education and Experience Requirements for CO Jobs in RRM Washington, DC

Federal CO positions in Maryland are available at the GS-5 and GS-6 levels. Interested applicants for either must be U.S. citizens and no older than 37 years of age. Candidates who meet these minimum prerequisites can apply to one of the federal CO grades depending on their qualifications.

GS-5 Correctional Officer

To apply for a GS-5 CO position, applicants must have:

  • At least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college

OR

  • At least three years of general work experience as a full-time employee performing any of the following tasks:
    • Selling products and services
    • Management and supervision
    • Teaching and instruction
    • Counseling
    • Emergency response
    • Directing, assisting and guiding individuals

GS-6 Correctional Officer

Candidates who wish to apply to a GS-6 federal correctional officer position must meet the following educational and experience qualifications:

  • At least nine hours of graduate school education in a relevant field of study, including Social Science, Law, Criminal Justice or Criminology

OR

  • At least one year of specialized experience as a full-time employee performing any of the following tasks:
    • Responding to domestic disturbances and providing assistance
    • Arresting or apprehending individuals who break the law
    • Working in a mental health or correctional facility to ensure that inmates are abiding by the institution’s guidelines

Before applicants can be considered for a federal correctional officer position at either RRM office in Annapolis Junction, they must also pass the following:

  • Complete background check
  • Employment panel interview
  • Pre-employment drug test
  • Physical examination

Training Requirements for RRM Baltimore Federal Correctional Officers

Newly hired federal correctional officers in Maryland must undergo a mandatory in-service program. In this program, new officers are oriented about the facility where they are assigned, including its rules and policies. Correctional officers also learn about the facility’s procedures when it comes to supervising and communicating with inmates.

New correctional officers are also required to report to the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, where they are expected to complete the class Introduction to Correctional Techniques. Within the first two months of employment, new correctional officers must also complete a training program offered in Glynco, GA at the Federal Law Enforcement Center. Courses that are covered in the program include Firearms and Self-Defense. A written examination to test new officers about the policies and procedures of their designated facility is mandatory, as is passing a Physical Abilities Test, which includes climb and grasp, a dummy drag, an obstacle course, run and cuff and stair climb exercises.

Baltimore, Maryland Corrections Officer Job Description

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services operates several facilities in the area including the Baltimore City Detention Center, Central Maryland Correctional Facility, the Patuxent Institution.  Professionals seeking correctional officer jobs are likely to find widespread vacancies due to growing need and high turnover.  In 2013, Baltimore ranked second highest in the country for crime.  Despite a drop from 32,178 criminal incidents reported in 2007 to 27,725 incidents in 2012, Baltimore still has a crime rate 260 percent higher than the national average.

The Patuxent Institution houses men, women and youngsters who are suffering from serious mental illness and are arrested for a criminal offense. This maximum security facility may house up to 987 offenders. Using a psychiatric medical staff, psychological counselors, social workers and correctional officers, the Patuxent Institution provides a variety of programs for treatment and rehabilitation. The Substance Abuse Treatment Program is located here and is a six week treatment program for men.

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Baltimore, Maryland

Correctional officer jobs in Baltimore, Maryland may be found with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.  The starting salary for Correctional Officer I jobs is between $36,414 and $51,575, but officers may eventually obtain a position of Correctional Officer Captain which pays a salary between $43,725 and $69,999.  Correctional Officer Majors receive salaries ranging from $46,563  up to $74,725.

The minimum requirements to become a correctional officer in Baltimore and join the DPSCS are:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Possess a GED or high school diploma
  • Be able to pass a comprehensive background check
  • Ability to own and use firearms
  • Willingness to work any shift including weekends
  • Ability to pass drug tests

Positions above entry-level officer may require a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

New officers must attend the Correctional Entry Level Training Program.  In2012, this program was re-designed by the Police and Correctional Training Commissions to expand training to 35 days with more physical training and instruction.  The curriculum includes:

  • Federal and state courts
  • Organizational history
  • Firearms training
  • Mental health identification
  • Self-defense
  • Supervision and human relations
  • Inmate discipline

Maryland correctional officers are required to obtain at least 18 hours of additional training annually following the first year.

Baltimore’s Correctional Facilities in the News

In recent years the Baltimore corrections and detentions system has come under serious criticism for rampant corruption.  A story that caught national attention involved four female prison guards impregnated by a gang leader.  This investigation uncovered a widespread smuggling ring that provided drugs and cell phones to inmates.  This resulted in the firing of the facility’s security director and polygraph tests of other administrators.  The Baltimore City Detention Center houses thousands of offenders awaiting trial or completing short jail sentences. Several correctional officers are currently under indictment, but only a small fraction of the total staff.

Cumberland, Maryland Corrections Officer Job Description

The Federal Bureau of Prisons runs the Federal Correctional Institute Cumberland in Cumberland, Maryland.  The Western Correctional Institution is also found in Cumberland, and is managed by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.  Situated in the westernmost area of the state, these correctional institutions are vital to the local economy in terms of goods bought for prison use as well as the incomes provided to local residents.

Training and Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Cumberland, Maryland

Federal Corrections Officer

The Federal Bureau of Prisons supports many correctional officer jobs in Cumberland, Maryland.  In order to serve with this agency, candidates should meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Ability to pass a background and financial investigation
  • Ability pass a physical fitness test involving
    • 75 pound dummy drag across 694 feet
    • Climb and gras
    • Obstacle course
    • Run and cuff
    • Stair climb
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have at least three years of experience in
    • Teaching
    • Child care
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Counseling
    • Emergency response

With these qualifications, applicants may enter the BOP as a GS-5 employee with a salary between $31,315 and $40,706.  Candidates with nine semester hours of graduate study or one year of experience in law enforcement, corrections or mental health facility supervision may join at the GS-6 level with a salary between $34,907 and $45,376.

Maryland State Correctional Officers

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services also supports correctional officer jobs in Cumberland. In order to join the MDPSCS and become a correctional officer in Cumberland, candidates should meet the following requirements.

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a driver’s license
  • Ability to carry and use a firearm

New officers must attend a six week training academy followed by additional training annually.

Jobs with Federal and State Prisons in the Cumberland Area

FCI Cumberland is a medium security facility for male inmates that also has an adjacent camp for minimum custody male prisoners.  With a reported 1,136 inmates at the main facility and 290 inmates at the prison camp, FCI is a major employer in the Cumberland region.  The staff at this facility number 328.

Correctional officers at FCI Cumberland perform a variety of inspections to limit contraband and enhance security.  These inspections are conducted daily and are used to find misappropriated equipment, food, hazardous supplies or materials and prohibited items.  While inmates are engaged in work, volunteer or recreational activities, they may be issued protective gear, heavy machinery or potentially dangerous materials, but these must be secured upon completion of activity.

The Western Correctional Institution is a maximum security facility opened in 1996. Despite major advances in security throughout Maryland’s prison system, the facility at Cumberland remains mired in violence.  In recent years this facility has suffered a rash of homicides specific to the Western Correctional Institution.  Although the DOC administrators have denied there is a security flaw contributing to these deaths, these murders remain a persistent problem at this maximum security institution.

Hagerstown, Maryland Corrections Officer Job Description

Located in the heart of Maryland, Hagerstown has a population of 39,662 within the city limits and 269,140 in the Metropolitan area as of 2010. Per 1000 residents, one in every 204 people are likely to become the victim of a violent crime in Hagerstown, in comparison to one in every 210 for the entire state of Maryland.

The correctional institutions operating in Hagerstown include:

  • Maryland Correctional Institution – Hagerstown
  • Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC)
  • Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI)

All three operate as Medium Security institutions, while RCI operates at Level II Medium Security and MCTC operates at a Minimal level and Pre-Release as well. All institutions offer job training, education, and self-help programs to assist inmates with problem solving and decision making, and to best serve each inmate’s individual needs. RCI also offers a drug stabilization program.

Corrections Officers supervise inmates in their specified housing areas.  They patrol designated areas as assigned, as well as inspect and keep record of all materials on property. COs must be ready to contain a situation at all times and uphold all security measures.

Taking the Steps to Become a Correctional Officer in Hagerstown, Maryland

Education and Experience Requirements – The Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC) in Sykesville oversees all correction and law enforcement training in the state of Maryland. The MPCTC is responsible for all minimum hiring standards and training requirements for correctional and law enforcement agencies.  Applicants for State CO positions in Maryland need a high school diploma or GED. No previous experience is necessary.

Interested applicants must be U.S. citizens or Resident Aliens, at least 21 years of age, and must possess or be able to get a Class B driver’s license. In addition, applicants are required to pass a background check and oral interview, as well as a physical exam and drug test in order to be considered.

Training Requirements – Applicants for CO positions must meet the Maryland Correctional Training Commission’s requirement of 175 hours of entry-level training. Training is offered in Hagerstown or Sykesville over a period of six weeks, both the classroom and physicality. Cos are also be trained to properly use a firearm.

Benefits Offered to Correctional Officers in Maryland

Correctional Offers in Maryland have the benefit of a competitive salary, shift differential pay, and paid overtime (if eligible.) COs have the option of supplemental retirement plans, or retirement after 20 years of service. Uniforms are paid for and COs have the opportunities for exceptional training, specialized assignments, and career advancements within the department.

There is also a guarantee of stable employment. Permanent employees also have a cafeteria plan for medical (including prescription, dental, vision, mental health, etc.) with varying options for single employees and/or their dependents. Permanent employees also receive term life insurance coverage and flexible spending accounts. Over the course of a year, COs also receive six personal days, 15 sick days, 11 holidays, 10-25 vacation days (length of service considering), 15 days military leave (up to military service applied towards retirement), and free transportation on the Maryland MTA. COs are also eligible to join the State Employee credit union and receive bi-weekly direct deposits.

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