Federal correctional officers in North Carolina may serve in a diverse number of facilities. The Federal Correctional Complex in Butner is comprised of a Federal Medical Center, two medium security Federal Correctional Institutions and a low security Federal Correctional Institution. FCC Butner held 3,339 inmates in its latest population count. The Federal Bureau of Prisons also contracts out supervision of the Correctional Institution in Winton, which held 1,416 inmates in 2013. The BOP also operates a Community Corrections Management Field Office in Raleigh.
The state of North Carolina has 79 prisons and employs thousands of correctional officers. As of 2011, there were 36, 678 prisoners housed in North Carolina prisons, and the number has been slightly decreasing since.
In total, about 62 percent of all the prisoners in the state are serving sentences stemming from drug possession (17%,) larceny (12%,) breaking and entering (11%,) and assault (11%.) All prison activity is supervised by the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
Correctional Officer Duties in North Carolina
It is the responsibility of correctional officers to supervise inmate activity while in prison and to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Officers must apprehend and organize inmates while in prison, which means conducting searches, performing audio and visual surveillance work, transporting inmates both inside and outside of the prison, performing emergency services, and a host of other duties and responsibilities.
Qualifications and Requirements
Federal Correctional Officers
The basic requirements necessary to join the BOP as a correctional officer are
- No felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
- A good credit history
- Be a U.S. citizen (may be waived for institutions with strong need)
- Be between 20 and 37 years of age
- Physically capable of
- Dummy drag—drag 75 pound dummy across 694 feet
- Obstacle course
- Climb and grasp—ascend a latter and retrieve object in 7 seconds
- Run and cuff—run a quarter mile and handcuff a target in 2 minutes and 35 seconds
- Stair climb-ascend 108 steps in 45 seconds while carrying 20 pounds
The two pay grades for entering correctional officers are GS-5 and GS-6. Eligibility for GS-5 includes:
- Possession of a bachelor’s degree; or
- At least three years of experience in management, sales, teaching, counseling or emergency response
Eligibility for GS-6 includes
- At least one year of service in law enforcement, corrections or mentally ill patient care; or
- At least nine semester hours of graduate study in law, social science or criminal justice
North Carolina Department of Corrections
Applicants with an associate or bachelors degree are given special consideration during the application process, as are applicants that have military experience, as long as they have an honorable discharge on their record. Also, those with work experience in a closely related field (law enforcement, criminal justice, security, etc.) will also be given preference during the hiring process.
There are a host of basic requirements that applicants must meet first in order to be considered for a correctional officer job in North Carolina. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must have a valid drivers license
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent level of education
- Must have a clean criminal record
How to Become a Correctional Officer: The Recruitment Process
If an applicant is deemed worth of a career as a correctional officer in North Carolina, they will then be required to complete a series of examinations and certification tests. All correctional officers in North Carolina are required to pass a physical examination test, known as the COPAT. There is also a written examination, a situational and psychological judgment test, a series of interview with officials from the North Carolina Department of Corrections and CPR and emergency rescue training, among other processes.
Staff Training Academy for Federal Correctional Officers
Federal corrections officers must attend the three week training program held at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA. This program provides instruction in firearms, self-defense, bus operations, witness security and correctional procedures. After the first year, officers must obtain between 16 and 40 hours of training annually.
North Carolina Department of Corrections
During the first year of employment at a state prison, correctional officers are required to complete 200 hours of training at a regional training academy. At the end of the training, they will receive their criminal justice certification and will be allowed to work full-time as a correctional officer in North Carolina. After the first year of employment with the Department of Corrections, employees are then required to complete 40 hours of additional training each year that they work at a state prison in North Carolina.