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Nebraska Corrections Officer Job Description

Over 70,000 adults were arrested for having committed crimes in Nebraska during 2011.  The state saw an increase of 2% in 2011 in the number of crimes that were reported as compared to 2010.  The greatest increase was in violent crimes with the number of murder and manslaughter cases increasing 20% and the number of forcible rapes increasing 6%.

As of November 2011, Nebraska had 4,449 inmates in its prison system, requiring oversight from correctional officers.  Most of these inmates were incarcerated for sex crimes.  Over 18% of the prison population in June 2011 was comprised of sex offenders.  Assault and crimes involving drugs were the next two most common categories of offenses.

The Nebraska Department of Corrections had a budget of over $178 million in fiscal year 2010.  They employed over 3,600 employees to manage these inmates in ten different facilities. Correctional officers represent the largest group of employees in this department.  There were 1,940 such officers employed in Nebraska in 2012.

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Nebraska

Those seeking correctional officer jobs in Nebraska must meet a number of requirements.  They include passing an approximately two-hour DCS Correctional Officer examination.  This three-part exam consists of sections on reading, report writing, and counting.

In addition to passing this exam, applicants must also clear background and pre-employment checks.  Those who pass must then take a one-hour behavioral assessment exam.

Additional requirements to become a correctional officer in Nebraska include:

  • Possessing a driver’s license that is valid in Nebraska
  • Having a high school education or a GED
  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Not having any of the following convictions:
    • Felony
    • Domestic violence

After receiving a conditional job offer, applicants must pass the Minimum Physical Standard (MPS) overview.  This one-hour screen simulates the minimum physical effort needed to perform the tasks of a correctional officer.  It assesses the following areas:

  • Manual dexterity
  • Pushing and pulling
  • Bending, stooping, and reaching
  • Standing and walking
  • Self-defense
  • Carrying items and property
  • Operating a motor vehicle
  • Climbing stairs and a tower
  • Using firearms
  • Running and emergency responses.

Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Nebraska

New correctional officers in Nebraska are instructed for 164 hours at the Staff Training Academy in northeast Lincoln.  It is located on the Whitehall Campus.  Business attire is required.  The Academy staff look for the following abilities in their students:

  • Learning procedures
  • Following directions
  • Performing essential skills
  • Maintaining a professional demeanor, even in times of high stress

361 new employees learned to become correctional offices in fiscal year 2011-2012 by studying a large number of topics.  Some of these included:

  • Report writing
  • Securing crime scenes and evidence
  • Safety and sanitation
  • Suicide issues
  • Using force
  • First aid
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Awareness of sexual abuse/assault
  • Substance abuse
  • Performing searches
  • Inmate con games
  • Religious practices
  • Victim awareness
  • Overview of chemical agents
  • Using firearms
  • Defensive tactics

Once they are established in their jobs, correctional officers in Nebraska must be recertified every year.  They take part in in-service training at the academy.  This training varies, depending on current correctional trends and an annual needs survey.

Corrections Officer Salary in Nebraska

According to a recent publication put out by the Department of Labor, the average correctional officer salary in 2012 was $34,890.

The various correctional occupation salaries provided here were provided by the Nebraska State Jobs Career Center.

Corrections Officer:

  • Minimum: $30,145.44
  • Maximum: $40,614.08

Corrections Corporal:

  • Minimum: $32,408.48
  • Maximum: $43,659.20

Corrections Sergeant:

  • Minimum: $36,019.36
  • Maximum: $46,475.52

Corrections Lieutenant:

  • Minimum: $41,223.52
  • Minimum Permanent: $43,284.80
  • Midpoint: $51,532
  • Maximum: $61,838.40

Corrections Captain:

  • Minimum: $44,320.64
  • Minimum Permanent: $46,535.84
  • Midpoint: $55,400.80
  • Maximum: $66,480.96

Corrections Major:

  • Minimum: $47,644.48
  • Minimum Permanent: $50,028.16
  • Midpoint: $59,556.64
  • Maximum: $71,466.72

Corrections Warden I:

  • Minimum: $55,061.76
  • Minimum Permanent: $57,815.68
  • Midpoint: $68,829.28
  • Maximum: $82,594.72

This correctional officer salary data for Nebraska was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Lincoln NE
660
34050
Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
680
42010
Sioux City IA-NE-SD
100
39280
Western Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
180
30490
Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
150
32850
Northeastern Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
80
30100
Southeastern Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
330
31240

Hall County, Nebraska Corrections Officer Job Description

The Hall County Department of Corrections (HCDOC) manages its offenders in a safe, humane, and secure facility.  It does this with the help of a number of correctional officers.  The major duties for an entry level correctional officer includes the following:

  • Preparing and writing a number of reports about the conduct of inmates and other issues within the institution
  • Continually walk housing units
  • Using a video/computer terminal to enter and retrieve information
  • Conducting inmate body searches
  • Reacting quickly to emergencies
  • Distinguishing distant emergency distress calls

It may also be necessary to occasionally restrain violent inmates.

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Hall County

Requirements for Education and Experience – Although the minimal educational requirement to become a corrections officer for the HCDOC is a high school education, the department prefers to hire applicants that have had college level coursework and experience in the following:

  • Law enforcement work
  • A correctional setting (eg. as a counselor)
  • Having been responsible for individuals in other institutional settings

Basic Requirements – The requirements for these types of jobs include the following:

  • Being a U.S. citizen
  • Being at least 21 years old
  • Possessing a valid Nebraska driver’s license
  • Not having any of the following types of convictions:
    • Felony
    • Misdemeanor relating to one of the following:
      • Crimes against persons
      • Sex crimes
      • Fraud
      • Drugs
      • Moral turpitude
      • Having fewer than five traffic citations within the past year

Application and Hiring Process – Applicants must submit an application from the Hall County Department of Corrections that includes the following completed and signed forms:

  • Pre-employment background authorization form
  • Certification and release form

Applicants must also provide photocopies of their driver’s license, proof of education, and DD214 or DD215 (if applicable).

Promising applicants undergo a criminal history and DMV check.  In 2-4 weeks, applicants who have cleared this step with be notified of the date to take part in a 1-2 hour work style behavior assessment.  The department then ranks the test scores of the applicants and uses them to select applicants to interview.  Candidates who have been chosen to be correctional officers must consent to undergo drug and alcohol testing.

Training – Once they have been hired, these professionals learn their skills in a variety of ways.  These include structured classroom training, on the job training, and assigned training modules.  Correctional officers must also take part in annual in-service training.

Entry-level correctional officers work under the supervision of one of the following types of correctional staff:

  • Shift Corporal
  • Shift Sergeant
  • A senior corrections officer

Lincoln, Nebraska Corrections Officer Job Description

Lincoln, Nebraska is home to the Nebraska State Penitentiary, which provides maximum, medium, and minimum security oversight for offenders 21 years or older.  Using the Unit Management system, which compartmentalizes offenders into smaller, more manageable units, the Nebraska State Penitentiary houses an average population of 1,091 and supports a staff of 465.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Lincoln, Nebraska

Correctional officer jobs in Lincoln are offered through the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.  The minimum requirements to become a correctional officer in Lincoln include:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • At least 18 years of age
  • No felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Possession of a driver’s license

Applicants must successfully pass a DCS Correctional officer exam, which includes reading, report writing, and mathematics portions.  A background investigation and a behavioral assessment will also be administered.  A Minimum Physical Standards test is conducted to determine a candidate’s ability to lift, carry, push, and pull.

New correctional officers must attend the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Staff Training Academy.  Officers working directly with prison populations must receive 164 hours of Academy training.  This pre-service training program includes courses in:

  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Communicable diseases
  • Personnel issues
  • Restraints and inmate transport
  • Report writing
  • Safety and sanitation
  • Suicide issues
  • Introduction to legal issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Searches
  • Religious practices
  • Use of force
  • Life support and first aid
  • Stress management
  • Defensive tactics

Annual training is required of all correctional officers.

The State of Nebraska’s Penal System

Conditions at the Nebraska State Penitentiary are worsening for inmates as overcrowding reaches crisis proportions.  This is related to a vast surge in convictions and incarcerations of offenders found guilty on gun charges and sex offenses.  Unlike many states that have introduced community supervision to monitor low risk offenders, Nebraska continues to funnel offenders into prisons.  Nebraska prisons are currently at 145 percent capacity, which has led lawmakers to consider construction of a new prison to add to the existing nine.

Lincoln is also the site for the Lincoln Correctional Center, a facility housing medium and maximum custody inmates.  The Diagnostic and Evaluation Center is also situated in Lincoln, and serves as the entry point for new prisoners into the Nebraska correctional system.  This center has nine housing units and an infirmary; new prisoners are evaluated and classified to final prison assignment.

Inmates at these Nebraska correctional facilities may avail themselves of several educational programs.  New inmates at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center are evaluated using the Test of Adult Basic Education.  Test results allow prisoners to gain eligibility for educational programs.  The Life Skills & Parenting program includes instruction on relationships, finding and maintaining employment, computer operations, and financial management.  The Educational Release Program provides eligible inmates the opportunity to take classes at technical schools, community colleges, or four year colleges while residing at a community corrections facility. The Vocational programs include instruction in cabling, welding and food service.

Omaha, Nebraska Corrections Officer Job Description

There are several facilities in Omaha, Nebraska where prospective correctional officers may find jobs.  The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services operates the Omaha Correctional Center – which is a medium and minimum security facility – as well as the Community Corrections Center in Omaha.  The Douglas County Department of Corrections oversees management of the Douglas County Jail.

The Omaha Correctional Center has a maximum capacity of 712 inmates.  The average population at this facility is 580 which is supervised by a staff of 178.  The Substance Abuse Unit is housed at this facility, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous, mental health counseling and various educational programs.

The Community Corrections Center – Omaha is a 180 bed facility that houses inmates on the Work Release program. This facility offers 156 male and 24 female inmates on low or minimum security custody the opportunity to work in the community. Eligible inmates must be nearing the end of their sentences or approaching parole.  A staff of 34 manage operation of this facility.

The Douglas County Jail has a total capacity of 1,453 male or female inmates, with an average population of 986 males and 120 females.  Douglas County Jail officers also supervised 60 offenders through re-entry, 52 offenders on house arrest, and 64 on work release.

Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Omaha, Nebraska

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Job Requirements

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services hires applicants only with the following minimum qualifications:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Possession of a high school diploma or equivalency
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license
  • No felony or domestic abuse convictions
  • Willingness to work on nights, weekends or holidays

Newly hired state correctional officers must complete the training program at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Staff Training Academy.  The 164 hour program includes courses in

  • Orientation to corrections
  • Report writing
  • Crime scene and evidence
  • Orientation to safety and sanitation
  • Suicide issues
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Firearms
  • Use of force
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Restraints and transporting inmates

The Staff Training Academy also provides an updated in-service training curriculum that correctional officers must complete each year in order to recertify.

Douglas County Department of Corrections Job Requirements

Correctional officer jobs in Omaha, Nebraska may also be found at the Douglas County Department of Corrections.  Applicants for correctional officer jobs should possess these qualifications:

  • 19 years of age or older
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a valid driver’s license

New recruits must complete six weeks of training to learn how to become correctional officers prior to active duty.  The first 136 hours of training are devoted to classroom instruction in the following topics:

  • Risk management
  • Suicide prevention
  • Interpersonal sensitivity
  • Physical health issues
  • Stress management
  • Inmate classification
  • Blood borne pathogens
  • Pressure point control tactics

Following classroom training, officers will receive 104 hours of instruction on the job. After the first year, correctional officers must receive at least 40 hours of in-service training each year.

Tecumseh, Nebraska Corrections Officer Job Description

The Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) houses medium and maximum security inmates, along with those on Death Row.  The TSCI opened in 2001 and has room for 978 men.

Caring for nearly one thousand inmates requires a staff of more than 400.  The majority of those employed at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution are correctional officers.  These professionals provide an array of services in addition to supervising the inmates in their living, dining, and work areas.

Part of the responsibilities of correctional offices at the TSCI include:

  • Conducting inspections of the inmates, buildings, and grounds
  • Performing security observations, including duty on the facility’s tower
  • Preparing reports on incidents and misconduct
  • Placing and removing restraints on inmates
  • Responding to emergency situations
  • Restraining and controlling inmates
  • Transporting inmates
  • Using various forms of technology to communicate with other staff
  • Distributing mail and medication to inmates

Job Requirements and Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Tecumseh

Corrections officers at the TSCI work for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) and must meet a number of requirements to be hired by this agency.  While the basic educational requirement is a high school education, applicants with some college training in corrections or criminal justice are likely to stand out when they apply.

The basic requirements to apply for these correctional officer jobs in Tecumseh include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Not having any of the following types of convictions:
    • Felony
    • Domestic violence
    • Having a valid driver’s license

Applicants must pass the NDCS Correctional Officer exam to be considered for employment.  This two-hour test covers reading comprehension, report writing, and basic math.  Additional steps in the hiring process include background screening and a pre-employment check.  After this, applicants must pass a one-hour behavioral assessment exam.

The NCDS trains its correctional officers at its Staff Training Academy in Lincoln.  Correctional officers undergo 164 of pre-service instruction to provide them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitude to succeed in their field.  Some of the many courses taken by correctional officers at the academy include the following:

  • Communicable diseases
  • Suicide issues/hook knife
  • Orientation to safety and sanitation
  • Correctional communications
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Restraints and transporting inmates
  • Basic life support and first aid
  • Substance abuse
  • Searches
  • Inmate con games
  • Victims awareness
  • Chemical agent overview
  • Firearms
  • Defensive tactics
  • OC certification

Correctional officers with the NDCS must maintain their annual certification in the following areas:

  • Firearms
  • First aid
  • CPR
  • Self-defense

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