As of 2010, the crime rate for New Hampshire was one of the lowest in the country. Despite this relatively low rate, predictions based on the number of violent offenses in 2010 indicated that one forcible rape will be committed every 21 hours in New Hampshire and one aggravated assault every seven.
This has resulted in there being about 2,500 people incarcerated in the New Hampshire prison system in 2011. The level of incarceration provided jobs for 1,070 New Hampshire correctional officers in 2012.
The number of offenders incarcerated in the state has been increasing in recent years. This is being driven less by new criminals, than by previous inmates who are reoffending and then being returned to prison. One sixth of the approximately 14,000 criminal cases handled by New Hampshire’s Superior Court in a given year are due to charges relating to drugs.
Becoming a Correctional Officer in New Hampshire
There is no work experience required to become a correctional officer in New Hampshire, but experience such as having been a military police officer is desirable. The requirements to apply for careers as correctional officers in New Hampshire include:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Having graduated from high school or having a GED
- Possessing a driver’s license that is valid in New Hampshire
- Being at least 20 years old when appointed
- Having good vision
- At least 20/40 corrected binocular for near vision
- At least 20/20 in the weaker eye and in both for distance vision
- Having good hearing
Applicants must pass a physical agility test that is based on the standards of the Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research. It includes:
- 1.5 mile run
- Reach flexibility when sitting
- One repetition bench press
To proceed with the selection process, applicants must meet the 35th percentile of the standards that are adjusted for gender and age.
In addition to the physical test, applicants must pass the following:
- Credit check
- Background check
- Psychological evaluation
- Medical examination
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in New Hampshire
Once they have been selected, trainees undergo nine weeks of training to learn how to become correctional officers in New Hampshire. This must take place within six months of having been hired.
Training takes place at the New Hampshire Corrections Academy. Trainees commute to the Academy for the duration of their training. Those who attend are tested on both coursework and physical tasks such as using firearms and driving. A grade of 70% is required to pass each course, and to be able to graduate, trainees must pass every subject.
Another physical test is required before graduation, and trainees must meet the 50th percentile of the requirements. After graduating from the Academy, corrections officers are certified by the state of New Hampshire. Corrections officers who are established in their careers will be given a physical fitness test and medical exam every three years. They must pass these to maintain their certification.