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Although the overall rate of violent crime and crimes against persons in Idaho decreased from 2010 to 2011, the rate of crimes against society and property were higher in 2011 than 2010. The incidents of forcible rape in 2011 were calculated to occur every 20.2 hours, while simple assaults took place every 42.8 minutes.
This resulted in there being 7431 individuals incarcerated in Idaho at the end of 2010, requiring oversight from a number of correctional officers. The Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) operates eight prisons within the state and is the third largest employer in the state government. Over 1,600 correctional officers oversaw inmates in Idaho during 2012.
Steps to Apply for Correctional Officer Jobs in Idaho
The Idaho Division of Human Resources is responsible for hiring correctional officers in the state. When positions are available, they are listed on the department’s website. Interested applicants can apply online when a position is posted.
The requirements to apply include being at least 21 years of age and having graduated from high school (a GED is acceptable). Applicants should be prepared to take an hour-long examination online.
The next step in applying for correctional officer jobs in Idaho is to download and fill out the Background Investigation Questionnaire. Applicants must send this to the Human Resources office, along with copies of the following items:
- Proof of being a U.S. citizen
- Transcripts of high school
- High school diploma or GED certificate
- DD-214 (if applicable)
Applicants are ranked according to their score. This generates a pool of qualified applicants who will be on a register for ninety days to a year. Applicants who have not been selected as top candidates will be notified by e-mail.
Candidates to be interviewed are chosen from among a list of the top 25 candidates, as required by state law. They must report to one of the state’s facilities for an interview and must bring the paperwork that was required for the background questionnaire.
Applicants who are found to be top candidates after their interview may be given a conditional offer of employment. They will start their careers as correctional officers by filling out paperwork for the Idaho POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Academy.
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Idaho
New employees undergo ten weeks of paid training to learn to become correctional officers in Idaho. There are four phases of this training:
The first phase of training involves a one week orientation for new employees at the POST Academy in Stratford Meridian. This will include classroom instruction on security practices and interacting with offenders, along with learning such practical skills as defensive driving.
The next week of training takes place at the assigned institution. Trainees will shadow experienced field training officers. This gives them a hands on perspective of their future responsibilities, along with practical experience working with offenders.
The third phase involves five weeks of training at the POST Academy. This instruction is a mix of classroom instruction on such topics as report writing and learning con games frequently practiced by offenders. It also involves practical training in using firearms and the techniques of arrest.
Since correctional officer jobs can be physically demanding, there is a test of physical agility that is required to pass the training and get certified as a Peace Officer in Idaho. This Fitness Agility Test Battery (FATB) involves:
- An 880 yard walk/run/jog
- Climbing a ladder
- A test of lifting and walking
- A test of dexterity and flexibility
- A test of searching and flexibility
Established correctional officers in Idaho undergo periodic training throughout their careers to keep their skills sharp and maintain their POST certification.
Corrections Officer Salary in Idaho
In 2012, it was found by the U.S. Department of Labor that the median corrections officer salary in Idaho was $31,790.
Below are the various salary levels among correctional officers of different ranks at various points throughout their careers in Idaho:
- Minimum: $27,331
- Policy: $40,206
- Maximum: $50,253
- Minimum: $30,805
- Policy: $45,323
- Maximum: $56,659
- Minimum: $34,507
- Policy: $50,773
- Maximum: $63,461
Correctional Manager 1:
- Minimum: $44,034
- Policy: $64,792
- Maximum: $80,995
Correctional Manager 2:
- Minimum: $48,651
- Policy: $71,594
- Maximum: $89,502
Correctional Manager 3:
- Minimum: $57,637
- Policy: $84,822
- Maximum: $106,038
Here are some of the correctional officer salaries throughout Idaho’s major cities as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Ada County, Idaho Corrections Officer Job Description
Correctional officers working in Idaho’s state prisons make use of the most current methods in corrections management and training, using the latest technology to maintain discipline and order among the State’s corrections institutions. By a recent count, there were over 7,600 convicted criminals in state custody, with 5,614 of those being in Ada County.
Candidates for correctional officer jobs in Boise and throughout Ada County will need to rise above their applicant competitors and make it through 10 weeks of training.
Those applicants who make it through the hiring process will complete a 10-week training program that prepares them for successful careers as Ada County correctional officers, teaching them how to become efficient professionals in their field. Training will proceed as follows:
- One week of job shadowing at the officer’s home corrections facility
- Five weeks at the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Academy in Meridian where officers will receive instruction in:
- Inmate con tricks
- Arrest techniques and report writing
- Physical agility obstacle course test
- Verbal Judo
- Four weeks of a field training program in a correctional facility, completing a POST field training manual
Applying, Requirements, Education
Beginning the application process for Ada County correctional officer jobs involves a simple process of first selecting an advertised posting on the state’s employment website and then applying through an online profile. If there are no current openings, candidates can sign up to be notified of by email when there are vacancies.
Candidates will need to take two online exams upon submission of their application that will take about an hour, and should keep a calculator, pencil, and paper nearby. The exams will test for basic knowledge and eligibility qualifications such as:
- Possessing either:
- Two or more years of college or university education in any field, including psychology, sociology, social work, and criminal justice
- Two or more years of serious work experience
- A combination of the above and/or military service and/or volunteer work
- U.S. citizen at least 21 years old, with a high school diploma or GED
- Having normal hearing, sight, and motor abilities
- Preference given for candidates who are bilingual in English and Spanish
- Willingness to perform difficult aspects in the job description:
- Work unarmed with unrestricted criminals in a hostile environment
- Work in guard towers or other confined spaces for an entire shift
- Physically restrain and break up prisoner fights
Ada County Hiring Process
The top-qualifying applicants will be notified and requested to submit a Background Investigation Questionnaire and proof of minimum qualifications to the Human Resources office. Candidate’s making it past this step will be invited for an interview, which may be followed by a conditional offer of employment and the completion of an Idaho POST Training Academy application packet. Ada County is in the Department of Corrections Fourth District which also includes:
- Garden City
- Valley County
- Boise County
- Elmore County
Boise, Idaho Corrections Officer Job Description
The Idaho Department of Correction manages more than 21,000 inmates throughout the State, with the majority of those offenders being housed in the Boise area. In fact, there are no less than six correctional institutions in the Boise area:
Correctional Alternative Placement Program – The Correctional Alternative Placement Program is a 432-bed correctional facility that provides intensive treatment programs for low-to moderate-risk offenders who are in need of substance abuse treatment.
Idaho Correctional Center – The Idaho Correctional Center is a privately-operated facility; however, the Idaho Department of Corrections provides oversight for the contract with the Idaho Correctional Center. Built in 2000, the Idaho Correctional Center houses up to 2,080 minimum, close, and medium custody inmates.
Idaho Maximum Security Institution – The Idaho Maximum Security Institution, which opened in 1989, was created to house the State’s most disruptive offenders. This correctional facility houses up to 402 offenders, with the population consisting mainly of close custody and administrative segregation offenders. The Idaho Maximum Security Institution also operates the Idaho Secure Mental Health Facility, and houses offenders who are sentenced to death.
Idaho State Correctional Institution – The Idaho State Correctional Institution is the oldest and largest correctional facility in the State. This facility, which can house up to 1,688 offenders, is designed to house long-term, medium-custody offenders and also has special-use beds for outpatient mental health and geriatric offenders.
South Boise Women’s Correctional Center – The South Boise Women’s Correctional Center, which houses up to 284 women offenders, is a treatment and transition facility for minimum-security inmates. There are a number of inmate programs through this institution, all of which are designed to provide inmates with intensive treatment, education, and accountability.
South Idaho Correctional Institution – The South Idaho Correctional Institution is a minimum-custody facility that houses up to 656 offenders in a dormitory setting. Most offenders are assigned jobs or work either inside or outside the facility. The South Idaho Correctional Institution also operates a pre-release program for offenders paroling from the system.
Becoming an Idaho State Correctional Officer in Boise
Correctional officer jobs through the Idaho Department of Corrections are entry-level jobs, meaning that candidates need only possess a high school diploma or GED upon entering the Department. However, many candidates for Idaho DOC jobs nevertheless still choose to pursue a post-secondary degree to better prepare themselves for a career in corrections and future advancement opportunities. Degrees commonly sought by individuals pursuing careers in corrections include:
- Criminal justice
- Justice administration
- Public administration
Candidates for Idaho State correctional officer jobs in Boise must complete an online application on the Idaho Division of Human Resources website, which involves:
- Completing the two online, written exams as part of the online application process. Individuals have 60 minutes to take the written exam.
- Downloading, printing, and completing the background investigation questionnaire
- Submitting the background questionnaire, proof of U.S. citizenship, high school transcripts or a GED certificate, and sending it to Human Resources Services
Candidates who are chosen are then asked to come in for an interview. Top candidates are selected and given a conditional offer of employment. Those individuals who are given a conditional offer of employment must then pass a background investigation, as well as medical, hearing, physical agility, and medical examinations.
Training for Idaho Correctional Officers in Boise
All new Idaho State correctional officers must complete the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Academy to become certified peace officers. The training process for new corrections officers is 11 weeks and includes:
- New employee orientation (1 week)
- Job shadowing (1 week)
- POST Academy (5 weeks)
- Field training (4 weeks)
POST Academy coursework includes study in areas such as: firearms, arrest techniques, report writing, and verbal judo, just to name a few.
The field training program allows new corrections officers to work alongside an experienced field training officers to expand upon and enhance the training they received from the POST Academy.
Pocatello, Idaho Corrections Officer Job Description
The Idaho Department of Correction, as of April 2013, oversaw an inmate population of 8,198. Of those, nearly 13 percent—or 1,047—inmates were female. Pocatello, Idaho, is home to the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center (PWCC), the Department’s first correctional institution designed to meet the specific needs of female inmates.
The PWCC currently houses 291 female inmates. Of these inmates, 80 were sentenced for drug-related crimes; 83 for property-related crimes; 63 for assault-related crimes; 38 for murder/manslaughter; 16 for sex-related crimes; and 11 for alcohol-related crimes.
The PWCC houses female inmates of all levels, with the majority of the population—120—housed in a minimum-security capacity. Another 71 inmates are housed in a minimum-security capacity; 47 in a close-security capacity; and 39 in a community-type setting.
The PWCC, which opened in 1994, features a reception and diagnostic center for women. In addition, this Idaho correctional facility also offers its inmates vocational work projects, education, a pre-release program, and a work-release program.
Qualifying for Idaho State Correctional Officer Jobs in Pocatello
Qualifications – Individuals interested in becoming an Idaho State correctional officer at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center in Pocatello must be a United States citizen and must possess a high school diploma or GED.
A college degree, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree, may provide individuals with a wealth of additional professional opportunities within the Idaho Department of Corrections. Just a few of the common majors for those pursuing this career field include:
- Criminal justice
- Justice administration
- Police science
Examinations – The first step for attaining an Idaho State corrections officer job includes the completion of two, online examinations through the Idaho Division of Human Resources. Qualified candidates are invited for an oral interview and only those selected candidates are then given a conditional offer of employment.
Upon the completion of a background investigation, as well as a number of examinations that test vision, hearing, and physical ability, chosen candidates then complete the 11-week training program.
Physical Agility Testing – All candidates must successfully complete a physical agility test. The standards of the physical agility test were established through a number of job task analysis studies. Specifically, candidates must be able to successfully meet the following standards:
- Walk, run, or jog 880 yards in 8 minutes or less
- Climb a 15-foot ladder to a platform, dismount the platform, climb back down the ladder
- Lift a 50-pound item, carry it 20 feet, place it on a table, and then return the object to its original position on the ground
- Kneel, unlock a box, stand up, and return to a starting position; repeat the process 4 times
- From a standing position, kneel down and life flat on the back; move backward under a barrier and then back to a standing position
Training – The training program includes the following components:
- New employee orientation
- Job shadowing
- POST Academy Training
- Field training