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Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

The Minnesota Department of Corrections supports a staff of 4242 professionals of various kinds – 2118 of which are uniformed correctional officers. These corrections officers managed 9501 adult inmates and 132 juvenile offenders. In addition, the state houses four federal correctional institutions or facilities, so correctional officer jobs in Minnesota may be found at both the federal and state level.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Minnesota

Educational Requirements

  • Federal correctional officer jobs in Minnesota fall into two categories, each with its own requirements:
    • GS5 (beginner) job –must have a bachelor’s degree or relevant experience as listed below
    • GS6 job – the next level –must have completed nine graduate semester hours in criminal justice, social science, criminology, law, or a related field, or substitute relevant experience as listed below
  • State correctional officer jobs in Minnesota require one of the following educational prerequisites:
    • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution, OR
    • Associate’s degree in criminology, corrections, law enforcement, criminal justice, social work, psychology, sociology or a related discipline, OR
    • Fulfill this educational requirement by meeting one of the experience requirements (below)

Experience Requirements

  • Federal
    • GS5 level experience that may replace the educational requirement includes three years of full-time work in the following areas:
      • Guidance
      • Sales
      • Supervision
      • Instruction
      • Emergency response
      • Counseling
    • GS6 level experience that may replace the educational requirement includes one year of full-time work in the following areas:
      • Inmate management (correctional or mental health institution)
      • Responding to and handling domestic disturbances
      • Capture and arrest of lawbreakers
  •  
  • State
    • For applicants interested in becoming correctional officers in Minnesota, but who do not meet the education requirement above, one of the following must apply:
      • One year of full-time security experience in a correctional facility, OR
      • Three years of full-time experience in any line of work, OR
      • Honorable discharge from National Guard service or active military duty, or current member of National Guard, OR
      • Completion of Minnesota Correctional Facility internship

Other Requirements

  • Federal
    • Only applicants under the age of 37 are accepted
    • Only U.S. citizens are accepted
  • State
    • Only applicants who are at least 18 years old are accepted
    • Only applicants with a valid driver’s license are accepted

The Application Process for Becoming a Correctional Officer in Minnesota

  • Federal
    • Search and apply for openings in federal corrections officer positions at USAjobs.gov
    • Pass an oral interview and complete background investigation
    • Pass a drug test and a physical examination
  • State
    • Search and apply for openings for corrections officer positions at the State of Minnesota Career Opportunities website
    • Applicants who qualify will be notified by email of the date and time of the REACT test, given at the Department of Corrections Central Office in St. Paul. This test covers knowledge of report writing, reading, counting, and human relations
    • Applicants who pass the REACT test will be invited to interview in St. Paul
    • Successful applicants will undergo a complete criminal history check and background investigation, including fingerprinting
    • Applicants who are given a conditional job offer must still pass a physical demands exam and drug test

Training for Correctional Officers in Minnesota

Federal

New federal correctional officers in Minnesota must take orientation training at their assigned facility in the state as well as at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. Classes and instruction will be in self-defense, firearms, rules, regulations, policies and procedures.

State

New correctional officers in Minnesota will undergo orientation to the facility to which they are assigned, as well as six weeks of intensive pre-service training in all aspects of the job. Those who successfully complete the training program are automatically promoted from Corrections Officer Trainee to Corrections Officer 1.

Correctional Institutions in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to four federal correctional institutions and ten state correctional facilities. Minnesota corrections officer jobs may be based from any of the following institutions:

Federal

  • Federal Prison Camp – Duluth
  • Federal Correctional Institution- Sandstone
  • Federal Medical Center- Rochester
  • Federal Correctional Institution – Waseca

State

  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Lino Lakes
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Faribault
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Rush City
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Oak Park Heights
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Shakopee
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – St. Cloud
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Willow River/Moose Lake
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Togo
  • Minnesota Correctional Facility – Red Wing

Corrections Officer Salary in Minnesota

During 2012, the average corrections officer salary in Minnesota was reported in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to be $45,120. The St. Cloud area was a particularly good area for correctional officers with an average salary that was roughly 4.5% higher than the statewide average, at $47,240.

The following correctional salaries have been provided by the Minnesota Management & Budget:

Trainee Corrections Officer:

  • Minimum: $28,940
  • Maximum: $28,940

Corrections Officer 1:

  • Minimum: $32,155
  • Maximum: $38,169

Corrections Officer 2:

  • Minimum: $35,078
  • Maximum: $50,718

Corrections Officer 3:

  • Minimum: $40,424
  • Maximum: $58,234

Corrections Supervisor:

  • Minimum: $47,815
  • Maximum: $69,405

Corrections Lieutenant:

  • Minimum: $49,715
  • Maximum: $71,994

Corrections Captain:

  • Minimum: $55,645
  • Maximum: $80,137

The Department of Labor has provided the following corrections officer salaries for locations across Minnesota:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Duluth MN-WI
360
45050
Fargo ND-MN
80
38530
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
2790
46350
Rochester MN
160
49010
St. Cloud MN
150
47240
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
260
40140
Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
260
45830
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
170
37920
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
690
42480

Duluth, Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

Nearly 4,800 correctional officers were employed in Minnesota in federal and county correctional institutions as of May 2012.

Federal – The FPC [Federal Prison Center] Duluth is a minimum security prison that had about 840 inmates in early April 2013.  It is located about 7 miles north of Duluth on the site of the former Duluth Air Force Base.

County – The 197 bed St. Louis County Jail is located on Haines Road in Duluth.  It holds offenders from within the county, along with some from other counties, prisoners from the U.S. Marshall’s Office, and fugitives who are wanted in other states.

Multi-County – Arrowhead Regional Corrections is a group of facilities that provides services to St. Louis, Carlton, Koochiching, Cook, and Lake counties.  Adults are housed in the Northeast Regional Corrections Center.  This includes offenders that have violated their probation or committed alcohol-related offenses such as DWI, among other crimes.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Duluth

Education – To become a federal correctional officer in Duluth, applicants must have at least a four-year degree.  To reach the GL-6 level, nine hours of graduate coursework in criminal justice or a related field is required.  These positions also require that applicants have worked full-time.  Three years of general experience will suffice.  Applicants who have experience as law enforcement agents, mental health facility workers, or park rangers are welcome to apply after one year on the job.

Requirements for Minnesota Department of Corrections (MDOC) correctional officer jobs include having a college degree, unless the applicant has relevant work experience.  A bachelor’s degree in any field will qualify applicants, while an associate’s degree needs to be in a field such as human relations, law enforcement, or criminology.  The following career paths can substitute for education:

  • 3 years of full-time experience
  • 1 year of full-time correctional work
  • Internship at a correctional facility in Minnesota
  • Honorable discharge from active military duty or the National Guard

Training – Federal correctional officers receive three weeks of training at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.  To continue with their careers, 16-40 hours of annual training is mandated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Candidates for the MDOC are trained for six weeks to learn how to become correctional officers in Duluth.  In addition to their academic and practical training, trainees are required to be sprayed with the chemical irritant Freeze+P.

Minneapolis, Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

The population of adult inmates in Minnesota has increased over four fold since 1980.  In 2012, there were 9,500 adults incarcerated in the state.  This growing inmate population required nearly 5,000 skilled correctional officers serving at various institutions in and around Minneapolis:

Hennepin County Correctional Facilities – The Adult Detention Center (ADC), more commonly called the Hennepin County jail, is the largest pre-trial facility for adults in the state of Minnesota.  It handles approximately 40,000 inmates a year and has the capacity to hold 703 inmates at once.  This jail is composed of two separate buildings:

  • The Public Safety Facility (PSF) is on 4th Avenue South
  • The ADC is on 10th Street.

The Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility is located in Plymouth.  It houses adults who are serving sentences of less than a year.

State of Minnesota Correctional Facilities – Two state facilities that house adult males at high levels of security are located near Minneapolis.  The Minnesota Correctional Facility – Oak Heights is the only level five facility in the state, housing 436 inmates during April 2013.  The Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater is the largest close-security, level four institution for adult males in the state.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Minneapolis

Education – The requirements to become a county correctional officer in Minneapolis include having completed at least two years of college with a GPA of 2.0 or greater.  The following types of experience can substitute for college credits if it has been for two years or more:

  • Law enforcement, corrections, and/or security
  • Active military service in the U.S. Armed Forces (honorable discharge)
  • Group home, public safety, treatment center, sentencing to serve crew leader

Applicants to the state Minnesota Department of Corrections (MDOC) are required to have an associate’s degree in a relevant field such as criminology, human relations, or law enforcement.  Those who have a bachelor’s degree in any field of study can apply.  Certain types of experience can substitute for this educational requirement.  They include:

  • Having been an intern at a Minnesota correctional facility
  • Having one year of experience full-time in a correctional setting
  • Having an honorable discharge for National Guard or active military duty
  • Having three years of full-time experience in any field

Training – Candidates who have been offered a position as a correctional officer for Hennepin County will have to undergo two months of training at the academy in St. Paul to learn how to become correctional officers.  After that, there is a one-year probationary period before they become established in their jobs.

MDOC candidates have a six-week training period.  State law requires trainees to be sprayed with Freeze+P—the chemical irritant used by law enforcement officials in the state—as they many encounter during their careers.

Correctional officer jobs in Hennepin County pay from $36,137 to $57,539 a year.  The pay for the MDOC varies.  First year Corrections Officer 1 receive from $32,529 to $38,169 a year.  Officers who have been promoted to Corrections Officer 2 are paid from $35,078 to $50,718 a year.

Rochester, Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

One of the six federal medical centers (FMC) run by the U.S. Board of Prisons (BOP) is located in Rochester.  FMC Rochester houses nearly 1000 men that are either mentally or physically ill or have health-related work assignments.  This prison is an administrative facility, meaning that it has inmates of all security classifications.

The mission of FMC Rochester is to provide appropriate and competent medical, behavioral, and dental care to inmates who are confined in a secure, humane, and cost-effective environment.

Because of its tradition of excellence in health care, the BOP frequently chooses FMC Rochester as its location to provide high-quality health care to offenders with complex physical and mental illnesses.  One of the local hospitals that FMC Rochester works closely with is the Mayo Clinic.

Housing for inmates at RMC Rochester is organized as unit teams, which are self-contained living areas.  They include both offices for unit staff and housing sections.  The staff members for each unit make the decisions about education, work assignments, custody classification, and recommendations for programs.

Becoming a Correctional Officer in Rochester

Each unit team at FMC Rochester has a unit officer.  This correctional officer is responsible for the housing unit’s overall security.  He or she reports directly to Lieutenants and has the following responsibilities:

  • Overseeing the orderly work crew
  • Providing input to the unit staff about inmate behavior
  • Conducting the following:
    • Counts and census
    • Room searches
    • Room inspections

Becoming a correctional officer in Rochester involves becoming a federal employee at grades GS-05 or GS-06.  Applicants are qualified to apply for correctional officer jobs on the basis of either education or experience.

Degree Option:

  • Bachelor’s degree (any major) in order to qualify at the GS-05 level

OR

  • Graduate study in order to qualify at the GS-06 level with 14 quarter or 9 semester hours in one of the following:
    • Law
    • Social science
    • Criminal justice
    • Criminology

Experience Option: 

Applicants without college degrees can still apply to become a federal corrections officer if they have the following types of full-time work experience:

  • Supervising or managing
  • Responding to emergency situations
  • Providing the following to individuals:
    • Counseling
    • Assistance, direction, and guidance
    • Teaching or instruction
  • Selling products or services
    • Persuasive commissioned sales such as automobile or insuranceGeneral experience (at least 3 years) to qualify at the GS-05 level, which included one of the following:

OR

  • Specialized experience (1 year’s equivalent) to qualify at the GS-06 level, which included one of the following:
    • Arresting and apprehending individuals
    • Ensuring that mental health patients or correctional facility inmates adhere to rules and regulations
    • Responding to domestic disturbances

Training:

Trainees take part in 200 total hours of orientation.  For the first 80, they are trained in the policies and procedures of FMC Rochester.  Next, the trainees take the 3-week Introduction to Correctional Techniques course in Glynco, GA.

Their training ranges from policies and procedures to physical training and self-defense.

Qualifying with firearms is an essential part of the training to become a federal correctional officer.

Sandstone, Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

The federal prison in Sandstone is a low security institution, which as of April 2014, housed 1,300 men.  This facility has had some notable inmates, including political prisoners during the 1940s and eco-terrorists in more recent years.

When the federal government was deciding where to locate its new facility in Minnesota, 15 communities were vying to be chosen.  Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Sandstone owes its existence to its location halfway between Duluth and the Twin Cities.  These cities were the source of most of the prison population of Minnesota when the facility was built in the late 1930s.

For a ten-year period ending in 1959, the facility at Sandstone served as a mental hospital.  At this time, it was converted back to a federal prison and classified as a medium security facility.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) expanded FCI Sandstone in the early 1990s with a new building that could house an additional 500 men.

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Sandstone

Since FCI Sandstone is part of the federal prison system, its correctional officers are federal employees.  As such, they have to meet strict requirements for obtaining these jobs.

Federal correctional officers can demonstrate their expertise through obtaining college credits or having specific types of experience.  These requirements vary depending on whether applicants are seeking a GS-05 or a GS-06 level position.

College Degree Options – Either undergraduate or graduate work can qualify applicants to apply as federal correctional officers.

GS-06:

  • Graduate course work
    • 9 semester or 14 credit hours in one of the following or a related field:
      • Social science
      • Criminal justice
      • Criminology
      • Law

GS-05:

  • Bachelor’s degree (any field)

Experience Options – Applicants with the following types of full-time work experience can also apply to become federal correctional officers even without meeting the educational requirements:

GS-06:

  • One year of specialized experience in one of the following:
    • Having arrested and apprehended individuals
    • Having made sure that correctional facility inmates or mental health patients adhere to rules and regulations
    • Domestic disturbance responses

GS-05:

  • At least three years of general experience in the following types of activities:
    • Selling products or services using persuasive sales techniques such as those used in automobile or insurance sales
    • Responding to emergency situations
    • Supervising or managing employees
    • Providing the following to individuals:
      • Counseling
      • Assistance, direction, and guidance
      • Teaching or instruction

Training – Newly hired correctional officers undergo two phases of training:

  • FCI Sandstone policies and procedures (80 hours)
  • Formal academy training (3 weeks)
    • Introduction to Correctional Techniques
      • Firearms training
      • Policies and procedures
      • Physical fitness training

Interesting Facts about Sandstone Federal Correctional Institute

The prison facilities began to show their age, and the prison drinking water contained levels of radium and radon in excess of federal regulations.  The BOP implemented a $20 million upgrade in the prison’s water system in 2003.

One advantage of the new system is that it was located outside of the prison fences.  There were two benefits to this.  Deliveries could be made more easily, and the water and power facilities would not be compromised if the inmates gained control of FCI Sandstone.

Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) has a printing plant at FCI Sandstone.  It is one of three in the federal prison system.  Employment with UNICOR starts at Grade 5 and continues through Grade 1. Part of being a correctional officer at this facility can include supervising the inmates as they work for UNICOR.

Promotions are based in part on ability and compliance with rules and part on vacancies in grades.  The BOP requires a high school diploma or GED to be promoted above Grade 4.  Inmates who have learned skills through UNICOR are significantly more employable upon their release from prison.

St. Paul, Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

Minnesota had 9,500 adults incarcerated in 2010—a four fold increase since 1980.  Having such a large population of inmates requires the services of a number of correctional officers. As of 2012, Minnesota supported 4,790 correctional officer jobs at the following facilitates:

Ramsey County Correctional Facilities – Pre-trial adults in St. Paul are detained at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Adult Detention Center on Grove Street.  The Ramsey County Jail, as it is more commonly known, employs over 130 people and has the capacity to hold 500 inmates.

Adults who have been sentenced by the 2nd Judicial District’s court to a year at the most are held at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility on South Century Avenue.  This minimum and medium security institution was formerly known as the Ramsey County Workhouse.

Minnesota Correctional Facilities – The state of Minnesota’s facility for extremely high-risk adult male inmates is near St. Paul in Oak Heights.  It is the state’s only level five facility.  As of April 2013, 436 inmates were located there.

Another state correctional facility that is located in close proximity to St. Paul is the Minnesota Correctional Facility—Stillwater.  It is the largest level four, close-security institution in the state for adult males.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in St. Paul

Education – Educational requirements to become a correctional officer in St. Paul vary depending on the employer.  To work for the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MDOC), applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field or an associate’s degree in a field relevant to the corrections field, such as criminal justice, law enforcement, or human relations.  The following type of experience can substitute for the educational requirement:

  • One year of full-time experience in a correctional setting
  • Internship in a correctional facility in Minnesota
  • Military or National Guard duty with an honorable discharge
  • Three years of experience full-time in any field

Correctional employees of Ramsey County must have a high school education and a combination of two year’s of college and/or work experience.  Candidates who are fluent in Spanish, Somali, or Hmong are desired.

Training – Recruits for MDOC positions learn how to become correctional officers through six weeks of training.  In addition to learning to maintain security and enforce the rules of the facility, training also entails exposure to the chemical irritant Freeze+P.

Waseca, Minnesota Corrections Officer Job Description

Waseca is the site of a low security federal correctional institution (FCI) for women.  As of April 2014, FCI Waseca housed 1,058 female inmates. This site was once part of the University of Minnesota and was converted to a prison in 1992.  FCI Waseca opened in 1995 as a men’s prison and then become solely dedicated to housing female offenders in 2008.

Most of the women are incarcerated for drug-related crimes.  Since it is a low security facility, the buildings inside the prison do not have barred doors or windows.  The prison uses many of the existing buildings from the original college, including the dorm rooms, which have been modified to house four people instead of two.

The inmates at FCI Waseca are housed in units.  Each unit has a correctional officer that is directly responsible for supervising inmates and enforcing the rules and regulations of the unit.

Becoming a Correctional Officer in Waseca

Correctional officers at FCI Waseca work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) as federal employees.  The government has strict standards for those seeking correctional officer jobs.  Applicants are deemed qualified to apply for these positions if they have a college education or specific types of experience.  They can apply at the GS-05 or GS-06 levels.

College Degree Option – A bachelor’s degree with any major will enable applicants to apply to become federal correctional officers at the GS-05 level.

Graduate course work is required to apply at the GS-06 level.  Applicants must have at least 9 semester hours in a field such as a social science, psychology, criminology or criminal justice.

Experience Option – Individuals who lack a college degree, but have substantial full-time work experience can still apply to become federal correctional officers.  To apply at the GS-05 level, they need three years of full-time work experience in an area such as:

  • Emergency response
  • Product or service sales using persuasive sales techniques
  • Having worked with individuals in the following manner:
    • Assisting, directing, or guiding
    • Counseling
    • Teaching or instructing
    • Managing or supervising people

Only one year of full-time work experience is required to apply at the GS-06 level, but it must be more specialized to the duties of correctional officers.  For instance, work in law enforcement or enforcing the rules and regulations in a mental health or correctional facility will qualify applicants to apply at this level.

Required Training – Successful applicants are trained at FCI Waseca for eighty hours and then travel to Glynco, Georgia, to study “Introduction to Correctional Techniques” for three weeks.  This academy training covers everything from legal protocols to qualifying with a firearm.

Rehabilitation at FCI Waseca in Minnesota

Inmates at FCI Waseca start planning their strategy for reentering society on their first day of incarceration.  A Case Manager assesses the inmates using the Inmate Skills Development System (ISDS).  He or she then identifies skills that the inmates lack and recommends goals and programs based on these skill deficit areas.  FCI Waseca assigns a Release Readiness Folder to all inmates to help them plan their preparation for release.

This facility has a Career Resource Center next to the inmate Leisure Library that offers access to computers, so that the inmates can learn to use a keyboard, as well as develop word processing skills and resume writing skills.

Most of the women at FCI Waseca work for UNICOR—the Federal Prison Industries program.  This prison has a UNICOR textile sewing factory that makes military shorts.  Other job options with UNICOR include working in the business office, warehouse, quality assurance, maintenance and packaging.  Correctional officers oversee their work.

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