Job Description and Salary for CO Support Staff and Other
Prison Jobs

While correctional officers maintain order and ensure the safety of incarcerated inmates in local, state and federal prisons and other detention centers, the countless duties and responsibilities involved in running a heavily populated facility means they can’t do it all alone. Correctional officers and detention facility administrators rely heavily on a host of specialized professionals in high-skilled prison jobs to ensure the efficient and productive operation of correctional institutions.

Drug Treatment Specialists

Job Description – Drug treatment specialists are the professionals tasked with determining the proper course of drug treatment for incoming inmates and ensuring current inmates remain on track and committed to their drug treatment programs. They often conduct drug education classes and counsel inmates with substance abuse problems. Their daily activities often include writing drug treatment plans, developing aftercare plans for soon-to-be-released inmates, and conducting interviews to determine treatment eligibility.

Drug treatment specialists must possess a four-year degree in one of the behavioral or social sciences or be able to show coursework in their bachelor’s program related to the behavioral or social sciences, such as courses in sociology, criminal justice, social work, or counseling. Advancement in this profession is usually incumbent on master’s level coursework or a master’s degree.

Salary – A drug and alcohol treatment specialist for the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office can earn between $65,439 and $106,399 annually.

Recreation Specialists

Job Description – Recreation specialists implement, organize and administer recreational inmate programs and activities within a correctional institution. Recreational programs for inmates are often focused on good decision making, positive social interaction, and self-awareness. It is the duty of the recreational specialist to ensure all recreational activities are adequately monitored as to provide inmates with beneficial programs.

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Most recreational specialists possess a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in such areas as counseling or social work.

Salary – A recreation Specialist within the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons earns between $38,619 and $55,605.

Safety Compliance Specialists

Job Description – Safety compliance specialists ensure the application and compliance of safety standards, health laws and regulations within a correctional institution.

A four-year degree in one of the occupational health fields, such as safety, occupational health, or industrial hygiene, from an accredited college or university is usually the minimum educational requirement for a career as a safety compliance specialist in corrections.

Professional certification as a certified safety professional (CSP), certified health physicist (CHP), or a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) are common professional certifications in this field.

Salary – A safety compliance specialist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons earns between $51,630 and $81,204 a year.

Behavioral Clinicians

Job Description – Behavioral clinicians evaluate inmates by observing and by administering psychological tests. These professionals also compile data for staff psychologists and are often called upon to make recommendations to specific offender programs or offender classification assignments.

Most behavioral clinicians working in a correctional institution setting possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology from an accredited college or university. Corrections counselors working under behavioral clinicians often have four-year degrees and experience in corrections, counseling, education, psychology, or social work.

Salary – Correctional behavioral clinicians in state Department of Corrections generally earn between $30,484 and $35,666 a year.

Correctional Release Coordinators

Job Description – Correctional release coordinators counsel offenders and determine their eligibility for release, transfer, or work release programs. These professionals prepare reports used for parole boards and for court use. Correctional release coordinators also counsel inmates on the appeal process and provide assistance for inmates completing the appropriate forms for transfer or work release programs.

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A four-year degree from an accredited college or university in social work, business administration, personnel management, public administration, sociology, corrections, counseling, or criminology are all commonly accepted paths leading to a job as a correctional release coordinator.

Salary – Correctional release coordinators are generally hired at a base pay of $26,880 to $41,126.

Correctional Teachers

Job Description – Correctional teachers oversee all academic and vocational classes and programs in a correctional facility. These professionals prepare lesson plans, evaluate the success of programs and the progress of students, and select courses. They often work with other corrections professionals to select courses and programs that best meet an inmate’s treatment plan.

Correctional teachers must possess teaching degrees and a valid state teacher’s license.

Salary – Correctional teachers in state Departments of Corrections and Rehabilitation generally earn between $52,128 and $109,212 a year.

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