Wisconsin Corrections Officer Job Description

Correctional officers working in Wisconsin will have their choice of employment venue in male or female institutions ranging from minimum to medium to maximum security. Jobs in corrections are a hot item statewide with over 7,500 employees in the field that offers benefits such as rapid promotion opportunities, a retirement package, health and life insurance, and paid vacations in the first year of employment. Not only are the benefits appealing; correctional officer jobs offer long-term satisfaction with service performed for the State and a good morale among colleagues.

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The Federal Bureau of Prisons has one facility in Wisconsin.  The Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford is just north of Madison.  This facility is a medium security facility for male inmates, which also has a satellite prison camp for minimum security male offenders. The latest population count shows 1,022 inmates at the main facility with 202 inmates at the prison camp.

Correctional Officer Snapshot

Working as a correctional officer in Wisconsin will require completing a selective application process and a challenging training course. Correctional officers will develop essential skills and training throughout this period of time, many of which they will use on a day-to-day basis, along with many that will seldom be used. A normal day includes:

  • Maintaining control and security of inmates
  • Recording appropriate information and statistics involved in shift activities
  • Documenting instances of inmate misbehavior and conduct
  • Reminding inmates of the proper corrections procedures and policies

Training Program in Madison

The Federal Bureau of Prisons

Federal correctional hours are obligated to receive 200 hours of pre-service training.  The first part of this training occurs at the assigned facility.  The second part of training is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy in Glynco, GA.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Those appointed as correctional officers will have the opportunity to attend a six-week paid training program in Madison. This is not a live-in academy, although trainees living more than 40 miles from the Madison Training Center will have weekday food and lodging accommodations provided. The academy provides instruction in critical abilities, teaching new officers how to become competent and capable. Topics covered include:

  • Crowd control methods
  • Familiarization with forged and improvised weapons
  • Public relations and facility administration rules
  • Supervision and conduct with inmates

After graduating from the training center, correctional officers will spend one week in their home institution where they will perform supervised tasks such as:

  • Inmate counseling and searches
  • Completion of records
  • Inmate transportation in an official vehicle

Upon completion of their training, officers will begin a six-month period of probation.

Wisconsin Requirements

Federal Correctional Officer Requirements

In order to join the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the GS-5 pay level, correctional officers must meet these minimum standards:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a criminal history without felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
  • Be between 20 and 37 years of age
  • Have a good financial history
  • Be able to perform these tasks
    • Climb a ladder and grasp an object in seven seconds or less
    • Run a quarter mile and handcuff an individual in two minutes and 35 seconds or less
    • Climb 108 stairs while carrying 20 pounds in 45 seconds or less
    • Run an obstacle course in 58 seconds or less
    • Drag a 75 pound dummy across 694 feet in three minutes or less
  • Have a bachelor’s degree; or
  • Have three years of experience in
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Teaching
    • Emergency response
    • Counseling
    • Security

Candidates with the following qualifications are eligible for the GS-6 pay grade:

  • Nine semester hours in graduate school studying law, social science or criminology; or
  • One year of experience in corrections, law enforcement, or mental illness care

State Correctional Officer Requirements

Only those meeting specific requirements are eligible to become correctional officers in Wisconsin. These include: 

  • Having a valid Wisconsin driver’s license upon appointment
    • Candidates must have possessed a valid driver’s license for at least two years, and may not have had more than three violations in this time
  • Any felony convictions must have been pardoned, and candidates may not have any domestic violence convictions
  • At least 18 years old with a high school diploma or an equivalent
  • Lawfully able to possess a firearm and not under some form of state or federal custody

Getting Started with the Application Process

Candidates should keep in mind that the start date of the training academy can fall about five or six months after an initial application is made. This means candidates should get informed about the application process and plan ahead.

Potential candidates can print off an application packet from the State’s Department of Corrections (DOC) website that includes everything necessary to make an initial application. These materials should be mailed to the DOC’s Officer Selections Office on East Washington Avenue in Madison, and include:

  • General State application
  • Correctional officer supplemental application
  • Eligibility checklist
  • Preference form
  • Supplemental conviction record
  • Authorization of confidential release of information

After Applying

Competitive candidates will be notified when and where they will be scheduled to take a required multiple choice test, for which they will receive a study guide. The test takes about an hour to finish and is comprised of 55 questions that evaluate a candidate’s skill in judgment and reading comprehension. After passing the test with a score of at least 70 percent, candidates will continue through the application process that includes: 

  • Selection panel
  • Medical examination
  • Physical fitness test: required scores are correlated to a candidate’s age, detailed here on page two
    • Push-ups
    • Sit-ups
    • 1.5-mile run
  • Final certification

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