The number of crimes reported in Alabama increased 7% from 2010 to 2011. Particularly notable was a 22% increase in the homicide rate during that period. The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) employs more than 3,100 correctional officers to manage its population of over 31,000 inmates.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates various medium, low and minimum security facilities within Alabama including Federal Prison Camp Montgomery, Federal Correctional Institution Talladega and Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville. There were 3,457 inmates housed in federal facilities in 2013.
Qualifications to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
Prospective correctional officers in Alabama must meet a number of requirements. These include:
- Being a high school graduate or having a GED certificate
- Having a driver’s license that is valid in Alabama
- Being at least 19 years old
- Being a U.S. citizen
Not have the following convictions:
- Domestic violence
- Having been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces (if applicable)
- Being drug free
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that applicants possess the following qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of experience in
- Child care
- Emergency response
- Be between 20 and 37 years of age
- Have no felony or serious criminal convictions
- Have no history of financial insolvency or poor credit
- Have a valid driver’s license and safe driving history
Applicants with at least nine semester hours of graduate study in law, criminal justice or social sciences; or at least one year of experience working in the following areas may join the BOP at the elevated GS-6 level.
- Law enforcement
- Mental health treatment
Applying to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
Applicants seeking jobs as correctional officers in Alabama start by downloading the application form. It should be completed and sent to the State of Alabama Personnel Department.
The ADOC Personnel Division will notify applicants of the dates that are available to take part in the onsite testing that will be used to rank candidates. The testing dates all fall on a Friday, and applicants must arrive by 7 AM to take part in the tests. Those who have not filled out an exam ahead of time can complete one and bring it to the testing site.
Federal correctional officer jobs can be found at www.USAJobs.gov. An application may be submitted online along with documents including
- College transcripts
- Military service records
The Tests to Qualify to be a Correctional Officer in Alabama
The testing process will take most of the day. Applicants should bring food and water and be dressed appropriately for a physical ability test.
The first step is take the written examination. The scores will be graded, and applicants who pass will be placed on a list of applicants who are considered qualified.
The next phase will be to take the physical ability test, which includes:
- Performing 22 push-ups in one minute
- Performing 25 sit-ups in one minute
- Running 1.5 miles in 15:28
They will also have to take a physical agility test. This involves:
- Pushing a vehicle for 15 feet
- Climbing up and over a chain link fence or a wooden wall
- Crawling through a window
- Traversing a balance beam
- Dragging a 165 lb dummy for 15 feet
- Running between obstacles for a distance
- Performing trigger pulls for 30 seconds
- Strong hand: 18 times
- Weak hand: 12 times
Those who pass these physical tests will undergo the following processes:
- Medical exam
- Drug screening
- Completing a Correction Officer I pre-employment packet
Applicants will then undergo a background check. Those who are chosen are considered cadets and must undergo training to learn how to become a correctional officer in Alabama.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that all applicants pass a Physical Abilities Test which includes
- Dummy drag—a 75 pound dummy must be dragged for three minutes across at least 694 feet
- Obstacle course—must be completed with 58 seconds
- Climb and grasp—ladder must be climbed and object retrieved within seven seconds
- Stair climb—108 stairs must be climbed with a 20 pound weight within 45 seconds
- Run and cuff—a quarter mile run followed by handcuffing a target must be completed in 2 minutes and 35 seconds
Following approval, candidates will be interviewed by BOP personnel and subject to a background investigation. A medical exam and drug test will also be conducted prior to employment.
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Alabama
Cadets must undergo twelve weeks of training and must pass all of the physical, academic, and regulatory requirements to become certified correctional officers. The first week of training takes place at an assigned ADOC correctional facility and involves on the job training.
The remaining eleven weeks of training takes place at the ADOC Training Academy in Selma. Cadets live at the Academy while they are trained Sundays through Thursdays. Once they have completed this training, the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC) certifies them as correctional officers.
Certified correctional officers serve a six month probationary period. Correctional officers who are established in their careers receive an additional 32 hours of professional training a year.
Federal correctional officers must complete 200 hours of training prior to employment. The first 80 hours of training is conducted at the assigned correctional facility. The remaining 120 hours of training, which includes self-defense, firearms and policies & procedures is provided through the Staff Training Academy in Glynco, GA. Federal correctional officers must also receive between 16 and 40 hours of additional training annually, depending on their job assignment.
Corrections Officer Salary in Alabama
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2012, that the median correctional officer salary in Alabama during 2012 was $33,560.
Below is the step-by-step salary plan offered to correctional officers of different ranks in Alabama as provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections:
Correctional Officer Trainee:
- Step 1: $28,516.80
- Step 2: $29,224.80
- Step 3: $29,954.40
- Step 4: $30,724.80
- Step 5: $31,488
- Step 1: $29,954.40
- Step 2: $30,724.80
- Step 3: $31,488
- Step 4: $32,287.20
- Step 5: $33,086.40
- Step 18 (Maximum): $45,501.60
- Step 1: $33,086.40
- Step 2: $33,902.40
- Step 3: $34,735.20
- Step 4: $35,589.60
- Step 5: $36,489.60
- Step 18 (Maximum): $50,119.20
- Step 1: $35,589.60
- Step 2: $36,489.60
- Step 3: $37,389.60
- Step 4: $38,347.20
- Step 5: $39,290.40
- Step 18 (Maximum): $53,995.20
- Step 1: $39,290.40
- Step 2: $40,252.80
- Step 3: $41,258.40
- Step 4: $42,266.40
- Step 5: $43,339.20
- Step 18 (Maximum): $59,517.60
The salary figures shown here include correctional officers throughout Alabama’s major cities as provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Birmingham, Alabama Corrections Officer Job Description
Alabama’s largest city, Birmingham, has the eighth-highest crime rate of any city in the United States, per FBI statistics. In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked Birmingham as the third most dangerous city in the U.S. Forcible rape and homicide are two of the biggest crimes in the Birmingham area.
Birmingham lies just 50 miles from the Federal Correctional Institution-Talladega. Birmingham correctional officer jobs may be based out of this federal institution or from the following nearby state facilities operated under the Alabama Department of Corrections:
- Donaldson Correctional Facility, Bessemer
- St. Clair Correctional Facility, Springville
- Birmingham Work Release Center, Birmingham
- Childersburg Community Work Center, Childersburg
Requirements of Corrections Officers in Birmingham
Under the requirements of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, correctional officers need to possess a bachelor’s degree in any field in order to obtain an entry-level job. Work experience of three years or more in teaching, counseling, supervising, emergency situations, guidance, sales or other positions may be used to fulfill the educational requirement.
For a higher grade correctional officer job, 9 graduate hours of studies, or one year of experience working in law enforcement, mental health treatment or corrections is required. Additionally, Birmingham federal correctional officers must be U.S. citizens under age37.
The Alabama Department of Corrections mandates that its correctional officers possess a high school diploma or GED. Candidates interested in learning how to become correctional officers in Birmingham must be at least age 19, a U.S. citizen, possess a valid driver’s license, be physically fit, be free of drugs, and have no convictions for felonies or domestic violence.
Training for Corrections Officers in Birmingham
Each new federal correctional officer in Birmingham must complete three weeks of training split between his or her work site (the Federal Correctional Institution – Talladega) and the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. They must take 40 hours of continuing education classes annually thereafter.
Birmingham correctional officers working at state-operated facilities must initially take 480 hours of training. After that, they are expected to take 40 hours of continuing education classes yearly.
Birmingham’s Correctional Institutions
The Federal Correctional Institution – Talladega houses just over 1000 medium-security male prisoners. It lies in close proximity to both Birmingham (50 miles) and Atlanta, Georgia (100 miles). FCI-Talladega is famous for a well-publicized prison riot that occurred in 1991, when a group of Cuban inmates took over the institution and held hostages. Minor injuries were sustained.
The Birmingham Work Release Center houses 300 female inmates in community custody – that is, they work on site while receiving treatment for substance abuse and other problems. The Childersburg Community Work Center houses 250 inmates who work in the community with local and state government agencies. Also on site is the Childersburg Boot Camp, with a capacity of 150 inmates. The Boot Camp gives inmates strict discipline, exercise, education and counseling before they are released to a judge for sentencing.
Huntsville, Alabama Corrections Officer Job Description
Correctional facilities in the Huntsville area provide employment for many. The Federal Correctional Institution at Talladega, 150 miles from Huntsville, is the closest federal penitentiary. The Alabama Department of Corrections operates many state incarceration facilities. The two closest to Huntsville are the Limestone Correctional Facility and the Decatur Work Release Center.
What Type of Education Do Correctional Officers in Huntsville Need?
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum required education for new federal correctional officers in Huntsville and elsewhere. Three years of work experience in a variety of related fields, including teaching, sales, counseling, and corrections may be substituted for the bachelor’s degree. Upper-level federal correctional officer jobs require nine hours of graduate college education. One year of work experience in mental health, corrections of law enforcement may be substituted for the graduate hour requirement. Applicants must not have reached the age of 37 yet and must be U.S. citizens.
A high school diploma or the equivalent is the minimum required education for Alabama correctional officers in Huntsville. Attaining 19 years of age, holding U.S. citizenship, holding a valid driver’s license, being free from drugs, and having no convictions for domestic violence or felonies are also requirements to become a correctional officer in Huntsville working under the Alabama Department of Corrections.
What Training Do Correctional Officers in Huntsville Receive?
Prior to beginning work, federal correctional officers in Huntsville are expected to take training. Some will be conducted at their assigned federal institution, and the rest at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. Huntsville federal correctional officers are expected to complete 40 hours in continuing education training each year of their employment after the first.
Huntsville correctional officers working for the Alabama Department of Corrections take 480 hours of training as new recruits. After that, they are expected to complete 40 hours annually of continuing education.
Where are the Correctional Officer Jobs Closest to Huntsville?
The Federal Correctional Institution-Talladega is about 150 miles from Huntsville and the nearest federal penitentiary. This medium security prison for males currently houses two “famous” inmates:
- Eric Ian Baker, a white supremacist who was sentenced in 2010 to 183 months for burning an Islamic center in Columbia, Missouri in 2008
- Tony Pough, one of the “Three Hebrew Boys” gang who was sentenced to 30 years in 2010 for fraud in an $82 million Ponzi scheme
The Limestone Correctional Facility, ten miles west of Huntsville in the town of Harvest, is designed to hold 2388 maximum-security prison inmates. The institution made news in 2012 when it was hit by a tornado, with no injuries or escapes resulting from the damage that was received.
The Decatur Work Release Center, designed to hold 400 inmates, is 25 miles from Huntsville. Inmates from this WRC travel supervised to jobs in Morgan, Madison and Limestone Counties. Additionally, all inmates must provide three hours of free labor per week as a service to the community.
Mobile, Alabama Corrections Officer Job Description
The city of Mobile, Alabama has the distinction of being the state’s third largest city, and its only salt-water port. Lying along the northern part of the Gulf Coast, Mobile’s main industries are concerned with shipyards and ports. However, Mobile is also close to a federal correctional institution. The Federal Prison Camp (FPC) in Pensacola, Florida is just 50 miles east of Mobile.
Additionally, Mobile is near the following correctional facilities maintained by the Alabama Department of Corrections:
- Mobile Work Release Center, in Mobile County
- Loxley Community Work Center and Work Release Center, in Baldwin County
Education Needed to Become a Correctional Officer in Mobile
Federal Education Requirements – Those residing in Mobile who aspire to become federal correctional officers must first have a bachelor’s degree. This degree may be in any field, and is necessary in order to apply for the GS5, entry-level federal correctional officer job. For those who have nine graduate hours of college education, the possibility of obtaining a higher GS6 federal correctional officer job exists.
Applicants who have work experience in law enforcement, corrections, or treatment of mental health customers may also apply for a GS6 federal correctional officer job in Mobile. Other prerequisites that must be met prior to applying for a job include U.S. citizenship and being under age 37.
State Education Requirements – Residents of the Mobile area who wish to become a correctional officer and work in a state correctional facility must possess a high school diploma/GED. Additionally, they must be at least 19 years of age, a U.S. citizen, hold a driver’s license, have the physical stamina to perform the duties of the job, be free of drugs, and never have been convicted for a felony or domestic violence crime.
Required Training for Correctional Officers in Mobile
Everyone new to federal correctional officer jobs in Mobile must participate in three weeks of initial training. The federal work site (FPC Pensacola) is used for the orientation training, while training that is more intensive is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. Each year thereafter, all federal correctional officers in Mobile must complete 40 hours of continuing education training.
State correctional officers in must participate in 480 hours of training initially. Each year thereafter, they must take 40 hours of continuing education in order to maintain their job status.
Locations of Correctional Officer Jobs Around Mobile
The Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Florida is on an outlying base of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. This minimum-security facility houses male inmates, and made the Forbes list of America’s 10 Cushiest Prisons in 2009, as recreational facilities and access to better jobs are available for the inmates.
Located in Mobile County, the Mobile Work Release Center holds 241 minimum-security inmates. These inmates provide free labor for state, community and city agencies in the area. They may also receive substance abuse counseling and treatment and participate in the centers’ Supervised Intensive Restitution program.
The Loxley Community Work Center holds 75 minimum-security inmates who provide free labor for nearby agencies. The Loxley Work Release Center accommodates 370 minimum-security inmates who work in the nearby Loxley/Baldwin County area.
Montgomery, Alabama Corrections Officer Job Description
Alabama’s capital and second-largest city, Montgomery, lies along the Alabama River in the Middle Alabama Judicial District. Although it is most famous for its place in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s, Montgomery also is home to several large employers, including Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama State University, Auburn University, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, and the Federal Prison Camp (FPC) Montgomery, a minimum-security federal prison camp housing male inmates.
Additionally, the Alabama Department of Corrections operates several state incarceration facilities within Montgomery County. They include:
- Kilby Correctional Facility, Montgomery
- Montgomery Women’s Facility, Montgomery
- Red Eagle Work Center, Montgomery
The Alabama Department of Corrections Central Office is also located in Montgomery.
Prerequisite for Correctional Officers in Montgomery
Federal – Candidates for federal correctional officer jobs in Montgomery are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in any subject in order to obtain an entry-level GS5 position. Those with at least nine graduate semester hours of education may qualify for a higher level GS6 position. Experience working in corrections, mental health or law enforcement can also qualify a candidate for a GS6 federal correctional officer job. All federal correctional officer candidates in Montgomery must also be under age 37 at the time of application and a citizen of the United States.
State – In order to become a correctional officer in Montgomery working in a state facility, the Alabama Department of Corrections requires candidates to have a high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 19 years old, have a valid driver’s license, be a U.S. citizen, be drug free and physically capable of performing the duties of the position, and have no convictions on record for domestic violence or felonies.
Training for Correctional Officers in Montgomery
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires all new Montgomery correctional officers to take three weeks of training. Some will be completed at the work site (in this case, FPC Montgomery) and some will take place at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. After the first year of employment, federal corrections officers in Montgomery are expected to take 40 hours of continuing education yearly.
Correctional officers in Montgomery working for the Alabama Department of Corrections are expected to complete 480 hours of initial training. After the first year of employment, they must complete 40 hours of continuing education annually.
Sites for Montgomery, Alabama Correctional Officer Jobs
The Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery is located on the grounds of the Maxwell Air Force Base. It houses minimum-security male offenders. It is listed on Forbes Magazine’s list of the Nation’s Cushiest Prisons, as its inmates participate in substance abuse and vocational programs. Some may also earn commercial driver’s licenses while incarcerated at FPC Montgomery.
Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery, on the other hand, is a maximum-security facility designed to hold 1250 inmates. All inmates in the state of Alabama are received at Kilby and processed there before staying or being sent to another facility. Kilby is also famous for its dog-tracking teams that hunt down escapees.
The Montgomery Women’s Facility sits behind Kilby Correctional Facility and holds 276 women inmates. Some are on work release to full-time employment within the Montgomery community.
Montgomery’s Red Eagle Work Center houses 264 minimum-custody inmates and provides free labor and community service to the city of Montgomery. Some inmates work for Alabama Correctional Industries in jails and schools during the workweek and return to the facility to stay on weekends.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Corrections Officer Job Description
The Alabama Department of Labor expects job opportunities for corrections officers to grow at an average rate of 1.71 percent each year between 2008 and 2018, equivalent to an average of 255 new jobs annually. Tuscaloosa is the state‘s fifth largest city and closest to the Federal Correctional Institution-Aliceville. Tuscaloosa correctional officer jobs may be found in this federal penitentiary or within Alabama’s state prison system.
Correctional officer jobs in Tuscaloosa may also be based out of state incarceration facilities. The following state prisons are within the Northern Federal Judicial District of Alabama, of which Tuscaloosa is a part, and are the closest state facilities near the city of Tuscaloosa:
- Bibb Correctional Facility, Brent
- Donaldson Correctional Facility, Bessemer
- Hamilton Aged & Infirmed, Hamilton
- St. Clair Correctional Facility, Springville
- Limestone Correctional Facility, Harvest
How to Become a Corrections Officer in Tuscaloosa
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that all candidates interested in learning how to become entry-level correctional officers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. Candidates may substitute three years of full-time work experience in the following areas and types of jobs for a bachelor’s degree for entry-level federal correctional officer jobs:
- Social worker
- Probation or parole officer
- Working with juvenile delinquents
- Emergency medical technician
- Clergy member
- Air traffic controller
- Security guard
- Day care facility worker
Federal correctional officer candidates in Tuscaloosa must also be under the age of 37and be a U.S. citizen.
The Alabama Department of Corrections requires correctional officers working at state facilities to have a high school diploma or GED. Candidates must also be at least 19 years old, have no felony or domestic violence convictions on record, have a valid driver’s license, be a U.S. citizen, be in good physical health and be drug-free.
Training for Correctional Officers in Tuscaloosa
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that all new federal correctional officers in Tuscaloosa complete training both at their assigned institution (FCI-Aliceville) and at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA. Each year, federal corrections officers must complete up to 40 hours of continuing education training.
The Alabama Department of Corrections requires new Tuscaloosa correctional officers to complete 480 hours of training. Then, Tuscaloosa corrections officers must complete 40 hours of continuing education training annually.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Correctional Facilities
The Federal Correctional Institution – Aliceville is a facility for female inmates. It is designed to hold 1500 medium security and 250 minimum-security inmates. Completed in 2011, FCI-Aliceville is one of the newest federal correctional institutions in the nation.
Located in the nearby city of Brent, Bibb Correctional Facility holds 1896 prisoners. Its purpose is to give prisoners self-improvement, education and substance abuse programs to aid in their return to society. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer holds 1492 inmates and the largest segregation unit of any Alabama prison, with a capacity of 300. It also includes a death row with a 24-inmate capacity.
Hamilton Aged & Infirmed is designed to hold up to 300 minimum and medium security inmates who are older and/or in need of medical services on a daily basis. With a capacity of 1324, St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville includes 365 inmates who have received a sentence of life without parole. Limestone Correctional Facility in Harvest can house up to 2388 inmates. A cattle and farming operation is also run from this institution.