Texas Corrections Officer Job Description

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates numerous facilities in Texas, making it one of the most important states in the country in terms of federal inmates supervised.  These facilities include:

  • Federal Correctional Institution at Big Spring holds1,581 low security males
  • Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Worth houses 1,861 low security males
  • Federal Correctional Institution at Seagoville housed 1,914 low security male inmates
  • Federal Correctional Institution at Bastrop holds 1,211 low security male prisoners
  • Federal Correctional Institution at Three Rivers holds 1,114 medium security male inmates
  • Federal Correctional Complex at Beaumont holds 5,206 male inmates in low, medium and high security
  • Federal Detention Center in Houston holds 945 males and females
  • Federal Prison Camp at Bryan holds 885 females in minimum security

Texas is home to the nation’s largest prison system. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) employs approximately 25,000 correctional officers who oversee 152,000 offenders housed in 111 state prisons. The TDCJ is seeking upstanding individuals to join the ranks of proud Texas correctional officers, and is offering a $3,000 recruiting bonus to new correctional officers in select units.

Eligibility Requirements Texas Correctional Officer Jobs

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Federal correctional officers working with the Federal Bureau of Prisons must meet these eligibility criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years of age but no older than 36
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have no serious criminal convictions
  • Have a good credit history

Correctional officers who enter the BOP at the GS-5 pay grade should also possess these qualifications:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have three years of full time experience in teaching, management, emergency response or sales

GS-6 correctional officers should have these qualifications:

  • Completed nine semester hours of graduate study in social science, law or criminology; or
  • Have one year of full time experience in corrections, policing, or mental health care

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. citizen or authorized to work in the U.S.
  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • No felony, drug-related or domestic violence convictions
  • No Class A or B misdemeanor convictions in last 10 or 5 years respectively
  •  Males need proof of selective service registration or exemption
  • No pending criminal charges
  • Able to stand for long periods, climb stairs/ladders, squat/bend, work at high heights, carry a body (including up/down stairs), work indoors/outdoors without air conditioning.
  • Willing to work in a highly structured environment.

Duties/Responsibilities of Texas Correctional Officers

  • Count, feed, and supervise offenders.
  • Search for contraband; conduct “pat” and “strip” body searches.
  •  Restrain combative inmates.
  • Respond to emergencies; perform first aid.
  • Transport inmates.
  • Use deadly force (firearms or chemical agents) when needed.
  • Read, review and evaluate offender records.

Texas Prison System Employs State-of-the-Art Technology

A March 13, 2013 Star Telegram article notes that a “managed access system” that diverts text messages, e-mails and internet log-ins from contraband phones is being installed in Texas prisons. Smuggled cell phones have been used to plan escapes, run illicit businesses and threaten victims/officials. In 2012, officials seized 738 cell phones from Texas inmates.

How to Become a Correctional Officer in Texas

Individuals interested in learning how to become a correctional officer in Texas must complete an application, an employment application supplement and a statement of availability. These forms can be downloaded at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Employment website. The second step is to schedule a screening appointment at one of the 45 Texas locations listed. Completed forms should be brought to the appointment. The hiring process consists of the following components:

  • Pre-employment test consisting of questions measuring memory/observation, situational and deductive reasoning, reading comprehension and basic arithmetic. Test takes about 20 minutes and sample questions can be viewed online. Passing is necessary in order to continue the hiring process. Those who fail and retake the test; however, persons who fail twice must wait one year before re-applying.
  • Drug test.
  • Physical agility test involving as many as possible push-ups, sit-ups and deep squats in one minute each; carrying a 45-pound weight 30 yards; climbing up and down stairs for five minutes without stopping; and running or walking one-quarter mile in less than five-and-a-half minutes.

TDCJ recruiting officers are available at job fairs/seminars across the state. Check online for locations.

Correctional Officer Recruit Training in Texas

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Federal correctional officers must complete 200 hours of pre-employment training.  The first 80 hours serve as orientation at the assigned facility, and the remaining 120 hours provide instruction in firearms, self-defense, and policies & procedures.  In subsequent years, federal correctional officers must obtain 16 to 40 hours of training annually.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

New recruits are required to attend a 40-hour pre-service training program at one of six Correctional Training Academy locations, followed by supervised on-the-job training at an assigned correctional facility.

Correctional Officer Salaries/Benefits in Texas

New recruits earn $2,319/month for the first two months, $2,454.90 for the third through eighth month and $2,598.05 for the ninth through 14th month. Average annual salaries thereafter range from a low of $21,337-$32,762 in places like Odessa to a high of $31,279-$48,028 in Dallas or Houston. Benefits include medical, dental and life insurance, free meals when on duty, free uniforms/equipment and uniform laundering.

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