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Oklahoma Corrections Officer Job Description

There are almost 2,500 inmates under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Oklahoma as of 2013.  These inmates are found in the medium security Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, the attached minimum security prison camp and the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City which houses male and female inmates transitioning to permanent incarceration.

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections supervises all corrections operations in the state, which includes 15 state-run correctional institutions, one reformatory, one state penitentiary, six community corrections facilities and 14 work centers. There are also employment opportunities for those seeking a correctional officer job at one of six private prisons in the state of Oklahoma, although they do not have the exact same employment requirements as the state-run institutions.

The prison population of Oklahoma is very interesting because it has the highest rate of female inmates in the country per capita, and also has one of the highest rates of elderly inmates in the country. Oklahoma is also one of the few states in which the prison population has increased over the last five years, countering the trend seen in the rest of the country.

Corrections Officer Duties in Oklahoma

Correctional officer jobs in Oklahoma involve keeping correctional facilities safe for the public, the inmates and the state employees working inside of them. In order to do this, corrections officers must perform the following duties:

  • Search inmates and their sleeping quarters
  • Transport inmates inside the facility and outside the facility
  • Use emergency management and CPR skills when necessary
  • Patrol and survey all aspects of the facility
  • Operates security equipment
  • Prepares reports and documents as needed
  • Responds to riots and other dangerous situations when they occur

Basic Requirements and Qualifications

Federal Correctional Officers

The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that correctional officers possess the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be 21 years of age or older, but no older than 36
  • Have good moral character without any serious criminal convictions
  • Possess a financial history without any serious improprieties
  • Have the ability to perform the following tasks
    • Drag a 75 pound dummy across 694 feet within three minutes
    • Climb 108 steps carrying a 20 pound weight in 45 seconds
    • Complete an obstacle course in 58 seconds
    • Run a quarter mile and handcuff an individual in two minutes, 35 seconds
    • Climb a ladder and grasp an object in 7 seconds

Federal correctional officers are classified as GS-5 or GS-6 upon hiring. GS-5 officers possess these qualifications:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have three years of experience in counseling, teaching, emergency response, security or management

GS-6 officers should have these qualifications:

  • At least nine semester hours of graduate study in law, social science or criminal justice; or
  • One year of full time experience in
    • Law enforcement
    • Mental health treatment
    • Corrections/detentions

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Applicants seeking a correctional officer job in Oklahoma are given special consideration during the hiring process if they have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, as recognized by the state. Also, those with military experience are also given preference over other applicants during the initial stages of the hiring process.

In order to perform the stressful duties listed above, applicants must be able to meet a basic set of requirements and qualifications for the correctional officer position. The requirements and qualifications are as follows:

  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must have a valid drivers license
  • Must be willing to relocate across the state as needed
  • Must pass a criminal background check (no felonies or serious misdemeanors)
  • Must be in good physical condition and of high moral character
  • Must have at least a high school diploma, GED or an equivalent level of education
  • Must be at least 20 years of age

Certification and Training

Federal correctional officers must complete 200 hours of training prior to active duty.  This includes 80 hours of orientation at the assigned correctional facility and 120 hours of instruction at the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA.  Academy preparation will include instruction in

  • Vehicle operation
  • Witness security
  • Policies and procedures
  • Firearms
  • Marksman observer
  • Self-defense

All correctional officer recruits are required to get certification from the Council of Law Enforcement Education and Training department prior to full-time employment. The certification is obtained by attending the training academy for correctional officers, which requires the completion of 80 hours of training during the first year of employment with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Additional on-the-job training will take place as well during the first year of employment and beyond.

Corrections Officer Salary in Oklahoma

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average Oklahoma correctional officer salary in 2012 was $32,670, which represented an average hourly wage of $15.71. Correctional officers in the top ten percent averaged a substantial 31% more, at $47,510 per year.

In Oklahoma, correctional officers are paid as detailed below:

Correctional Security Officer I:

  • Minimum: $19,778
  • Midpoint: $26,370
  • Maximum: $32,963

Correctional Security Officer II:

  • Minimum: $21,756
  • Midpoint: $29,008
  • Maximum: $36,260

Correctional Security Officer III:

  • Minimum: $23,931
  • Midpoint: $31,908
  • Maximum: $39,885

Correctional Security Officer IV:

  • Minimum: $26,502
  • Midpoint: $35,336
  • Maximum: $44,170

Correctional Security Manager I:

  • Minimum: $31,848
  • Midpoint: $42,464
  • Maximum: $53,080

Correctional Security Manager II:

  • Minimum: $35,032
  • Midpoint: $46,709
  • Maximum: $58,387

The Department of Labor has identified the following salary data points among correctional officers in Oklahoma:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Fort Smith AR-OK
130
28700
Lawton OK
90
29090
Oklahoma City OK
2290
35490
Tulsa OK
940
31670
Northeastern Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area
660
28110
Northwestern Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area
380
29480
Southeastern Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area
800
31150

Enid, Oklahoma Corrections Officer Job Description

Correctional officers living in the vicinity of Enid provide a secure and structured environment for up to 3,380 prisoners on a daily basis. These dedicated professionals fill an essential role when it comes to ensuring justice and a fair chance for rehabilitation among Oklahoma’s convicted criminals.

To become a correctional officer in Enid, applicants will need to know the hiring and application requirements specific to one of these facilities:

  • The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) operates two important corrections facilities near Enid, as well as a community correction center:
    • Charles E. “Bill” Johnson Correctional Center, located in Alva and capable of holding 730 inmates
    • James Crabtree Correctional Center, located in Helena and capable of holding 1,000 medium and minimum security male inmates
    • Enid Community Corrections Center
  • The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) also operates one important facility near Enid:
    • Cimarron Correctional Facility, located in Cushing and capable of holding 1,650 medium and maximum security inmates

Becoming a Correctional Officer in Enid

Correctional Officer Jobs with the Oklahoma DOC

The Oklahoma DOC defines the minimum hiring requirements as follows:

  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or two years of college education
  • Be at least 20 years old
  • Have a driver’s license and good driving record
  • Demonstrate a good, moral character
  • Be drug free

Candidates who meet the education requirement for correctional officer jobs with college courses can choose any subject for study. An associate or bachelor degree can help applicants distinguish themselves from their fellow candidates and will also be considered during promotion evaluations.

Some subjects that are closely related to the field of corrections include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Police Science
  • Law Enforcement

Vacant Correctional Security Officer positions at the Bill Johnson CC and James Crabtree CC are listed on the DOC’s employment website. Applications can also be made through this website.

Training to become a correctional officer in Enid is specially designed by the DOC to ensure new recruits are prepared to face the daily challenges associated with working at these correctional centers. At the same time the training also meets the standards for peace officer certification by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. This includes:

  • Prisoner restraint and control
  • Detecting improvised weapons and concealed drugs
  • Prison psychology and leading by example
  • Self-defense and use of force
  • Paperwork completion and report writing
  • Emergency procedures in response to:
    • Medical emergencies
    • Mass disorderly prisoner conduct
    • Natural or man-made disasters

Correctional Officer Jobs with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)

The CCA requires all applicants for jobs at the Cimarron Correctional Facility to meet the following minimum standards:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED equivalency
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Be willing to work all hours and all shifts
  • Be at least 20 years old

Vacancies at the Cimarron Correctional Facility are advertised on the CCA’s employment website.

Correctional officer training with CCA takes place over the course of 200 hours:

  • 40 hours of orientation with the CCA
  • 120 hours of correctional officer basic training
  • 40 hours of supervised training on-the-job

Lawton, Oklahoma Corrections Officer Job Description

In and around the city of Lawton there are more than 6,250 prisoners in the criminal justice system. Correctional officer jobs in Lawton are located at nine area facilities which house these inmates, operated by several different agencies:

  • The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) operates several facilities within the commuting area of Lawton:
    • Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, with an operating capacity of 999 medium and minimum security male inmates
    • Lawton Community Corrections Center
    • Hobart Community Work Center
    • Altus Community Work Center
    • Frederick Community Work Center
    • Walters Community Work Center
    • Waurika Community Work Center
  • The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) operates a private prison in Sayre, the North Fork Correctional Facility with a capability of holding 2,400 inmates
  • The GEO Group operates a private prison in Lawton, the Lawton Correctional Facility with a capability of holding 2,830 medium security and protective custody inmates

Prospective correctional officers who are interested in pursuing careers with the Oklahoma DOC, CCA, or the GEO Group can start by learning about each agency’s hiring requirements.

Becoming a Correctional Officer in Lawton

How to Become a Correctional Officer with the Oklahoma DOC

Candidates will need to start by meeting the minimum DOC requirements for hire:

  • At least 20 years old
  • Be able to pass a background investigation that proves a candidate is:
    • An upstanding US citizen
    • Has a driving license with a good driving record
    • Has no serious criminal history
  • Be drug free
  • Be a state resident
  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or two years of college education

Having two years of college education is an excellent way to demonstrate a candidate’s substantive qualifications. This will allow applicants to stand out from their competition as well as be a tangible skill when qualifications are evaluated for promotional opportunities. Relevant subject areas include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science
  • Psychology

Applicants can apply for vacant Correctional Security Officer positions around Lawton, which are posted on the DOC careers website.

Correctional officer training takes place in a program whose curriculum is developed by the Oklahoma DOC and meets the certification requirements to become a peace officer according to the state Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.

How to Become a Correctional Officer with the GEO Group

The GEO Group requires that its applicants possess the following qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Be able to work in stressful conditions

Applicants are preferred if they have experience in the corrections field, or if they have college-level education in fields such as:

  • Cultural Studies
  • Correctional Services
  • Behavioral Sciences

Vacant correctional officer jobs at the Lawton Correctional Facility are posted on the GEO Group careers website.

The GEO Group provides an extensive training program for all its newly hired correctional officers to ensure they are well prepared to carry out their job duties effectively.

How to Become a Correctional Officer with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)

The CCA recruits applicants who are:

  • At least 20 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a driver’s license
  • Available to work any shift and any hours

Vacancies at the North Fork Correctional Facility are posted on the CCA employment website.

CCA training involves a 40-hour orientation, followed by 120 hours of basic CO training, and culminates with a final 40 hours of on-the-job training.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Corrections Officer Job Description

As of April 2013, there were 17,922 inmates in Oklahoma’s correctional facilities, all of whom were overseen by 1,608 correctional officers. Violent offenders comprised 51.8 percent of the inmate population during this time.

The top five crimes among inmates in Oklahoma during the same period were:

  • Distributing Controlled Dangerous Substances: 17 percent
  • Assault: 11.8 percent
  • Possession or Obtaining Controlled Dangerous Substances: 9.7 percent
  • Robbery: 8.5 percent
  • Murder: 7.2 percent

Career Paths in Corrections

Federal Correctional Facility

The Federal Transfer Center (FTC) in Oklahoma City is an administrative facility that serves as a holdover facility for both male and female offenders.  As of May 2013, there were 1,518 offenders in the FTC Oklahoma City.

Corrections officers who work for the federal government must meet a specific set of employment requirements. Individuals who want to apply for correctional officer jobs with the FTC Oklahoma must be under the age of 37 (unless they previously held a federal civil service position) and they must, at a minimum, possess one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • At least three years of full-time experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • Counseling individuals
    • Persuasively selling products or services
    • Providing guidance and assistance to individuals
    • Responding to emergency situations
    • Supervising or managing individuals
    • Teaching or instructing individuals

Just some of the professions where candidates may attain the above experience include: teachers; guidance counselors; supervisors or managers; salespersons; welfare or social workers; and probation/parole workers.

Individuals who are interested in pursuing corrections officer jobs in Oklahoma City at the GS-06 level must have, in addition to one of the above requirements, completed at least nine semester hours (or 14 quarter hours) of graduate work in criminal justice, sociology, criminology, or a related field or have at least one year of experience working with individuals in a mental health or correctional facility; responding to individuals who break the law; or responding to domestic situations.

State Corrections

Corrections in Oklahoma are overseen by the Department of Corrections, which is responsible for the management, security and maintenance of 39 correctional institutions across the state and is under the supervision of the Oklahoma Secretary of Safety and Security.

Individuals interested in attaining corrections officer jobs in Oklahoma City must meet the minimum requirements for employment, as set forth by the DOC.

Candidates for Level I (entry level) corrections officer jobs in Oklahoma City must:

  • Be at least 20 years old; AND
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED and have completed a training course conducted by/approved by the Department and certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education; OR
  • Possess at least 30 semester hours of education from an accredited college or university

Candidates for Level II corrections officer jobs in Oklahoma City must meet the above requirements and have knowledge of the use and care of firearms; self-defense methods; and proper restraint methods and techniques.

Candidates for Level III corrections officer jobs in Oklahoma City must meet the above requirements for Level I and Level II, and they must also possess at least 18 months of experience in correctional or security work for a private or governmental corrections agency.

All candidates must also possess a valid driver’s license at the time of appointment and be willing to undergo drug testing and a comprehensive background investigation.

Individuals who want to learn how to become a correctional officer in Oklahoma City must also complete a four-week course of training at the Oklahoma Correctional Training Academy (OCTA).

A Closer Look at Oklahoma City Correctional Institutions

Correctional institutions and their inmate population (as of May 2013) in Oklahoma’s Western Judicial District include the following:

  • Charles E. Johnson Correctional Center, Alva, OK: 714 inmates
  • James Crabtree Correctional Center, Helena, OK: 799 inmates
  • Joseph Harp Correctional Center, Lexington, OK: 1,378 inmates
  • Lexington A&R Center, Lexington, OK: 418 inmates
  • Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, McCloud, OK: 1,043 inmates
  • Oklahoma State Reformatory, Granite, OK: 999 inmates
  • William Key Correctional Center, Fort Supply, OK: 1,070 inmates

Tulsa, Oklahoma Corrections Officer Job Description

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is part of the Northern Judicial District of Oklahoma, which encompasses the following correctional institutions:

  • Dick Connor Correctional Center, Hominy, OK: As of May 2013, housed 960 inmates
  • Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center, Vinita, OK: As of May 2013, housed 493 inmates

Oklahoma is also home to the FTC Oklahoma City, a federal correctional facility that serves as a holdover facility. This Oklahoma City facility served, as of May 2013, 1,518 holdover male and female offenders.

Other cities within the Northern District include Bartlesville, Miami, Vinita, and Pawhuska.

Oklahoma Corrections Statistics

Oklahoma is home to 17 correctional institutions (39 total institutions, including community corrections facilities and halfway houses) which, as of April 2013, housed 17,922 inmates who were supervised by 1,608 corrections officers. The top 5 crimes committed by inmates in Oklahoma corrections facilities during that period were:

  1. Distributing Controlled Dangerous Substances: 17 percent
  2. Assault: 11.8 percent
  3. Possession or Obtaining Controlled Dangerous Substances: 9.7 percent
  4. Robbery: 8.5 percent
  5. Murder: 7.2 percent

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Tulsa

Individuals interested in learning how to become a correctional officer in Tulsa will find that education, experience and training requirements differ between federal and state correctional officer jobs:

Federal Corrections Officer Jobs

Individuals interested in pursuing federal correctional officer jobs at the FTC Oklahoma City must also meet a number of key requirements for employment. Candidates interested in entry-level (GS-05) corrections officer jobs must:

  • Be under the age of 37 (unless they have previously held a federal civil service position); AND
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • Have at least three years of experience working in a persuasive selling environment; counseling, supervising or managing individuals; serving as an emergency responder; or teaching or instructing individuals.

Individuals interested in pursuing corrections jobs at the GS-06 level must, in addition to the above education/experience requirements, have at least nine semester hours in graduate work in one of the social sciences or criminal justice/criminology fields or have one year of specialized experience in such areas as: probation/parole; criminal justice; mental health; or corrections.

State Corrections Officer Jobs

State corrections officer jobs in Tulsa are overseen by the Department of Corrections, which falls under the supervision of the Oklahoma Secretary of Safety and Security. The DOC requires that all candidates for correctional officer jobs be at least 20 years old and possess either 30 semester hours from an accredited college or university or a high school diploma and certification from a training course conducted by the Department.

Candidates for Level II positions must have specialized training in: firearms, restraint methods, and self-defense methods, in addition to the above requirements.

All individuals interested in pursuing OK correctional officer jobs must possess a driver’s license and must be prepared to undergo a drug screening and a thorough background investigation prior to being hired.

Further, training requirements include the completion of a four-week Academy course through the Oklahoma Correctional Training Academy. Common coursework covered during Academy training includes:

  • Culture and Communication Skills
  • Defense Tactics/Self-Defense
  • Firearms Training
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Managing Special Needs Offenders
  • Offender Disciplinary Procedures
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Report Writing
  • Riot Prevention and Control
  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention

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