Indiana is home to the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute which is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The FCC Terre Haute is comprised of a Federal Correctional Institution holding medium security male inmates, which also has an adjacent minimum security prison camp, and a U.S. Penitentiary which houses high security male inmates as well as a Special Confinement Unit for inmates sentenced to death. In the latest population count in 2013, the FCI held 1,124 inmates, its camp housed 481 inmates and the U.S. Penitentiary housed 1,629 inmates.
Indiana’s crime rate is slightly below the US average. Still, 292 murders and 47,115 burglaries were committed in the state in 2010. The Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) operates twenty adult facilities that had an average daily population of 26,401 inmates in 2010-2011. This level of incarceration requires the services of dedicated correctional officers, and there were over 8,100 such officers employed in Indiana in 2012.
The IDOC has a number of innovative programs, such as having pregnant inmates stay with their babies while incarcerated, along with a number of notable training programs. The American Correctional Association recognized the excellence of the IDOC by awarding it the Golden Eagle Award in 2012.
How to Become a Correctional Officer in Indiana
Federal Correctional Officer
The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that all correctional officers meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age and no older than 36
- Be a U.S. citizen (some facilities may waive this requirement if experiencing exceptional need)
- Have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
- Have a financial history without serious improprieties
Correctional officers who wish to join the BOP at the GS-5 pay grade must meet these requirements:
- Have a bachelor’s degree; or
- Have three years of full time experience in
- Emergency response
The GS-6 pay grade is available to candidates with one or more of the following qualifications:
- Nine semester hours of graduates courses in
- Social science
- Criminal justice
- One year of full time experience in
- Law enforcement
- Mental health treatment
The Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC)
There are a number of requirements to become a correctional officer in Indiana:
- Having three years of experience working full-time
- Having graduated from high school or possessing a GED
- Being at least 18 years old
- Possessing a valid driver’s license that is comparable to Indiana’s
College training from an accredited school can substitute for three years of work experience. An associate’s degree can substitute if it is in one of the following or a related area:
- Criminal justice
Applicants must be willing to undergo a background check and take part in a yearly physical ability examination.
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Indiana
Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy
New federal correctional officers must complete both phases of Introduction to Correctional Techniques which is a 200 hour training program. The first phase is an 80 hour orientation held at the assigned correctional facility. This is followed by a 120 hour program at the FLETA in Glynco, GA, which includes firearms training, policies & procedures, and self-defense. In subsequent years, correctional officers must obtain at least 16 hours of additional training annually.
The Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC)
There are two phases of training required before new correctional officers start their pre-service training. The required forty hours of training starts online with 16 training modules that must be completed. After this, prospective correctional officers take part in two days of classroom training at the facility they have been assigned to. This involves:
- Administrative topics
- Facility specific topics
- Human resource topics
This training is followed by a test on both phases.
Before they are assigned to supervise offenders, new correctional officers must take part in eighteen days of training at one of the Correctional Preservice Academies. These are located in the following regions:
- North Central
The 144 hours of training involves classroom instruction on the policies and procedures of correctional work before the new correctional officers can start their jobs.
Once correctional officers are established in their careers, there is a wide variety of training available online through the IDOC website.
Corrections Officer Salary in Indiana
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median correctional officer salary in Indiana in 2012 was $31,070.
Listed below are various salary levels for correctional officer trainees, entry-level officers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains in Indiana. This data was furnished by the Indiana Department of Corrections:
Correctional Officer Trainee:
- Minimum: $23,582
- Midpoint: $33,241
- Maximum: $42,900
- Minimum: $27,612
- Midpoint: $37,401
- Maximum: $47,190
- Minimum: $28,444
- Midpoint: $38,194
- Maximum: $47,944
- Minimum: $32,058
- Midpoint: $42,107
- Maximum: $52,156
- Minimum: $33,904
- Midpoint: $44,317
- Maximum: $54,730
- Minimum: $37,544
- Midpoint: $48,750
- Maximum: $59,956
Here the U.S. Department of Labor provides salary data for corrections officers throughout Indiana:
Fort Wayne, Indiana Corrections Officer Job Description
Correctional officers in Fort Wayne will work under state guidelines to ensure justice is carried out for the victims of crimes while providing a safe and orderly environment for inmates. Officers will have the opportunity to work with innovative initiatives proven to reduce the rate of recidivism, such as the Prevention Rehabilitation Enhancement Program at the Chain O’ Lakes facility that teaches positive and healthy communication techniques for inmates and their partners.
Fort Wayne correctional officer jobs are found in three nearby State Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities in the region:
- The Chain O’ Lakes Correctional Facility in Albion is about 30 miles northwest of Fort Wayne
- The Miami Correctional Facility is located about 70 miles southwest of the city in Bunker Hill
- The South Bend Community Re-Entry Facility is about 80 miles to the northwest of Fort Wayne
Preparing for Corrections Officer Careers in Fort Wayne: Education and Experience
All correctional officers must have a high school diploma or GED in the State of Indiana. The DOC also requires applicants to qualify for eligibility by meeting one of the following requirements:
- Three years of college courses
- An associate’s degree in:
- Criminal Justice
- Any other related area
- Three years of full-time work experience
The Indiana Department of Corrections offers a tuition reimbursement program for all its employees who enroll in college courses for the benefit of their corrections careers. Eligible officers can receive up to 75 percent capped at $2,200 towards their education.
All candidates must also:
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be able to pass a background investigation, an annual physical abilities test, and a drug screening
New correctional officer recruits will need to complete a 40-hour employee orientation course that is based on 16 computer training modules and classroom education. This is followed by a Pre-Service Training Academy that lasts four weeks and covers the essentials of how to become a correctional officer. Upon completion of their training, officers will be capable of meeting the most challenging aspects of their job description:
- Use of force to restrain inmates
- Ability to deal with verbal harassment and threats
- Strict compliance with all facility policies and procedures
- Conduct searches of inmates and their cells for weapons, contraband, stolen goods, and other prohibited possessions
Applying with the State
The Indiana State Personnel Department lists its vacant correctional officer job openings online. Candidates can browse for desired locations and apply via an online account following the instructions provided on the advertised job flyer. The state also hosts periodic job fairs where candidates can speak with a corrections representative about employment opportunities and the application process.
- South Bend Community Re-Entry: Minimum security inmates with an average daily population of 96
- Miami Correctional Facility: High-Medium security inmates with an average daily population of 3,147
- Chain O’ Lakes Correctional Facility: Minimum security inmates with an average daily population of 145
Indianapolis, Indiana Corrections Officer Job Description
Operating out of Indianapolis, Indiana, the Indiana Department of Correction manages two prisons in the state’s capital city:
The Indianapolis Re-Entry Educational Facility offers a minimum-security environment for nearly 550 adult male inmates. The prison, established in 2006, houses inmates in an atmosphere designed to emulate cottages on college campuses. Inmates may wear approved civilian clothing rather than traditional prison garb.
The Indiana Women’s Prison, founded in 1872 as the country’s first all-female prison, is a maximum-security correctional facility serving nearly 600 women. The accommodations are traditional jail cellblocks. The Indiana Women’s Prison also has death row cellblocks for women facing capital punishment for their crimes, but no women have sat on Indiana’s death row for many years.
Correctional officers or correctional officer trainees are hired through the Indiana Department of Correction. People wishing to work at the Indiana Women’s Prison should understand that most of the inmates have special physical or emotional needs; thus, additional supervision and training may be required for new corrections officers.
Duties may include screening visitors, searching vehicles, sorting and delivering mail once each piece is screened for security, patrolling the inside and outside of the prison and intervening in conflicts between inmates.
A college degree or equivalent work history is required to work as a correctional officer in Indianapolis.
Education and Experience Requirements for CO Jobs in Indianapolis, Indiana
Prospective correction officer trainees must be at least 18 years of age and complete a thorough background process that includes a criminal records check, physical exam, and drug screening.
Criminal convictions related to domestic violence bar an applicant from further consideration; all corrections officers must be legally eligible to carry firearms and use them if necessary.
- Completion of high school or a state-approved equivalency program is required.
- Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s Degree in any field or three years of full-time work experience. An associate’s degree in social work or criminal justice may also meet the job entry requirements.
Training Requirements for Indianapolis, Indiana Correctional Officers
The Indiana Department of Correction requires successful completion of its Correctional Training Institute. Academy coursework includes conflict resolution methods, cultural sensitivity training, safe handling of hazardous materials, preventing sexual harassment, weapons and self-defense skills.
Every year, correctional officers must pass a medical exam and complete any additional courses required by their supervisors.
Inmate Programs Available at State Correctional Facilities in Indianapolis
Both the Indianapolis Re-Entry Educational Facility and the Indiana Women’s Prison have extensive education and rehabilitation programs:
- Twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous are available.
- A Christian program, Celebrate Recovery, is also offered for those wishing to study the Holy Bible while recovering from their addictions or codependent behaviors.
- The Indiana Women’s Prison offers groups for domestic violence survivors as well as the 12-step program Al-Anon, designed for family members and friends of alcoholics.
- Anger management groups, parenting classes, financial education, job training, music classes, and public speaking courses are available to inmates.
South Bend, Indiana Corrections Officer Job Description
Operating out of the South Bend Indiana region near the Illinois and Michigan state borders, Indiana State Prison in Michigan City houses approximately 2,450 male inmates. The complex consists of 53 buildings, including residential accommodations for select employees.
The Indiana Department of Correction hires officers to supervise inmates at each of its prisons. Indiana State Prison correctional officers have a wide range of duties, including but not limited to patrolling the interior and exterior of the property, maintaining inmate records, handling monetary deposits from family members and friends of inmates, screening mail for illegal items such as drugs, searching visitors and their vehicles as needed, counseling inmates, and supervising work crews inside and outside of the prison walls.
Professional work experience or a college education is required to become a correctional officer trainee or correctional officer. Approximately 540 people work in various capacities at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.
Job Requirements and Training to Become a Correctional Officer at Indiana
Education Requirements – Applicants must not have any criminal convictions related to domestic violence, as Indiana correctional officers must qualify to carry firearms. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, hold a valid driver’s license from Indiana or another state, and successfully complete a medical screening process that includes drug testing.
- A high school diploma or equivalency certificate (GED) is required, although higher education is preferred.
- Three years of full-time work experience or a bachelor’s degree in any subject is required. In some cases, an associate’s degree in a field related to criminal justice or social work is sufficient.
Training Requirements – All corrections officers or correctional officer trainees must successfully complete a program through the Indiana Correctional Training Institute. The academy includes classroom and hands-on training in weapons and self-defense skills, sexual harassment prevention, conflict resolution, cultural diversity and hazardous materials.
Since Indiana State Prison correctional officers often work 16-hour shifts, an annual medical exam and physical fitness test, as well as additional on-the-job training, is required.
About Indiana State Prison in Michigan City
The entire facility sits on 100 acres of land. The prison has minimum and maximum-security units as well as the death row cellblock for offenders facing execution for their crimes. Inmates live in blocks of cells in 15 buildings. The Indiana State Prison in Michigan City was originally built in 1860 and was the second correctional facility erected in the state. It is located roughly 50 miles from Chicago, Illinois.
Programs available to inmates include a barber training school, the United States Department of Labor apprenticeship program, dog and cat rescue projects, suicide prevention, anger management, Alcoholics Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, organic gardening, literary education, auto body vocational education, a welding program, a horse rescue effort, parenting classes, and food preparation training.
The Indiana State Prison in Michigan City is environmentally-conscious or “green.” The buildings feature energy-efficient lighting and water saving faucets. Recycling is strongly encouraged.
Terre Haute, Indiana Corrections Officer Job Description
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has two penitentiaries in southern Indiana that make up the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex (FCC):
- FCI Terre Haute houses around 1,700 male inmates in a medium-security prison and an adjacent minimum-security camp.
- USP Terre Haute offers maximum-security incarceration to approximately 1,550 male inmates.
Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a federal correction officer in FCC Terre Haute must meet a strict set of education, experience, and physical requirements.
Education and Experience Requirements for CO Jobs in FCC Terre Haute
Correctional officer Jobs at FCC Terre Haute are available at GS-5 and GS-6 levels. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and younger than 37 years of age. Interested applicants who meet these minimum requirements can apply to either pay grade depending on qualifications.
Applicants for a GS-5 federal CO position in FCC Terre Haute must have the following:
- A four-year degree earned at an accredited university or college
- Experience can take the place of education if an applicant has worked for a minimum of three years as a full-time employee in a related field. Responsibilities in a related field must be related to the following roles:
- Management and supervisory roles
- Instructors, teachers, and guidance roles
- Emergency response
- Social care and assistance to others
- Sales roles
Applicants for a GS-6 federal CO position in FCC Terre Haute must have the following:
- At least 9 credit hours or 14 quarter-hours in postgraduate work in a relevant field, such as:
- Criminal justice
- Social science
- Experience can take the place of education if the applicant has worked as a full time employee with responsibilities such as:
- Supervision of inmates in a mental institution or in a correctional facility
- Apprehension or arrest of law offenders
- Domestic disturbance response and assistance
Training Procedures for Newly-Hired Federal Correction Officers in FCC Terre Haute
Applicants are required to undergo a strict background check, a panel interview, physical examination, and pre-employment drug test before being considered for a federal CO position at Terre Haute.
Once considered, newly hired federal correction officers must undergo training at FCC Terre Haute to familiarize themselves with the facility’s policies and procedures. Newly hired federal correctional officers will undergo physical, self-defense, and marksmanship training during their first 60 days on the job.
More About the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute
The objectives of the correctional facilities at FCC Terre Haute differ based on the level of security and the type of inmates housed in each respective facility. FCI Terre Haute and USP Terre Haute are both high-security locations. FCI Terre Haute also is home to a Communications Management Unit (CMU) that houses inmates who are determined to pose a serious threat if their incoming and outgoing communications are not closely monitored. USP Terre Haute is home to a Special Confinement Unit where federal death sentences are carried out. USP Terre Haute was chosen as the location to carry out federal death sentences due to its central location in the United States.
The core objective of FCI Terre Haute and USP Terre Haute is to encourage inmates to participate in programs that will help prepare them for their release and to reduce the inmate’s chances of committing another offense. For example, the programs inside the FCC Terre Haute include GED, ESL, and drug education classes, while inmates in USP Terre Haute can work at UNICOR, which is a prison industry that provides towels and accessories to the military.