Rhode Island is unique in that the state’s correctional facilities operate as both a jail and prison combined, while most other states separate the facilities into two distinct categories. Corrections facilities in Rhode Island operate under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and are responsible for housing more than 3,200 inmates as of 2011, according to a report on prison populations done by State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Department of Corrections.
How to Become a Correctional Officer: Minimum Requirements
In order to obtain a corrections officer job in Rhode Island, an applicant must meet the following requirements and qualifications:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must be a United States citizen or have a green card
- Must have a state issued identification card
- Must have a high school diploma, a GED or an equivalent certification of education
- Must be fluent in English
- Must pass a criminal background check
If an applicant meets the minimum requirements, they can then complete an application and move on through the hiring process. After an application is received, applicants will be asked to complete a written examination that will gauge basic comprehension and judgment skills.
Then there is a background check, a physical agility test, an interview with representatives from the Department of Corrections, a drug screen and then a medical and psychological examination.
If an applicant successfully completes all of those steps, they will then be required to enroll in the training academy.
In order to secure a career as a corrections officer in Rhode Island, recruits are required to complete 360 hours of training. The training academy, which is located in Cranston, is staffed by seven full-time professors that teach recruits the basic skills needed to become a corrections officer.
After the first year of employment, all employees with the Department of Corrections are required to complete an additional 40 hours of training each year. The training program is nine weeks long and focuses on procedures to ensure safety for officers and inmates alike, as well as communication skills, defensive tactics, weapons and chemical agent use and getting CPR certification and emergency situation training.
Correctional officers will also learn how to perform surveillance of inmates via video, and how to perform inmate and jail cell searches for illegal contraband, weapons, evidence and other materials. Once an entry-level officer completes the training academy, they will receive on-the-job training with a veteran corrections officer at one of the eight correctional facilities in the state.