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Rhode Island is unique in that the state’s correctional facilities operate as both a jail and prison combined, while most other states separate the facilities into two distinct categories. Corrections facilities in Rhode Island operate under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and are responsible for housing more than 3,200 inmates as of 2011, according to a report on prison populations done by State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Department of Corrections.
How to Become a Correctional Officer: Minimum Requirements
In order to obtain a corrections officer job in Rhode Island, an applicant must meet the following requirements and qualifications:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must be a United States citizen or have a green card
- Must have a state issued identification card
- Must have a high school diploma, a GED or an equivalent certification of education
- Must be fluent in English
- Must pass a criminal background check
If an applicant meets the minimum requirements, they can then complete an application and move on through the hiring process. After an application is received, applicants will be asked to complete a written examination that will gauge basic comprehension and judgment skills.
Then there is a background check, a physical agility test, an interview with representatives from the Department of Corrections, a drug screen and then a medical and psychological examination.
If an applicant successfully completes all of those steps, they will then be required to enroll in the training academy.
In order to secure a career as a corrections officer in Rhode Island, recruits are required to complete 360 hours of training. The training academy, which is located in Cranston, is staffed by seven full-time professors that teach recruits the basic skills needed to become a corrections officer.
After the first year of employment, all employees with the Department of Corrections are required to complete an additional 40 hours of training each year. The training program is nine weeks long and focuses on procedures to ensure safety for officers and inmates alike, as well as communication skills, defensive tactics, weapons and chemical agent use and getting CPR certification and emergency situation training.
Correctional officers will also learn how to perform surveillance of inmates via video, and how to perform inmate and jail cell searches for illegal contraband, weapons, evidence and other materials. Once an entry-level officer completes the training academy, they will receive on-the-job training with a veteran corrections officer at one of the eight correctional facilities in the state.
Corrections Officer Salary in Rhode Island
The median corrections officer salary in Rhode Island during 2012 was found by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics to be $59,590. The average among corrections officers in the 90th percentile was 8.3% higher, at $64,950.
According to the State of Rhode Island, Department of Administration, Division of Human Resources, corrections officers are paid on a 15-step salary schedule. Here is a look at some of those figures:
- Up to 6 Months: $45,506
- Up to 1-1/2 Years: $47,085
- Up to 2-1/2 Years: $48,181
- Up to 3-1/2 Years: $49,390
- 265 Months (Maximum): $64,547
Correctional Officer – Steward:
- Up to 6 Months: $51,254
- Up to 1-1/2 Years: $53,159
- Up to 2-1/2 Years: $54,567
- Up to 3-1/2 Years: $57,032
- 265 Months (Maximum): $71,578
Correctional Officer – Lieutenant:
- Up to 6 Months: $54,915
- Up to 1-1/2 Years: $56,908
- Up to 2-1/2 Years: $58,497
- Up to 3-1/2 Years: $61,263
- 265 Months (Maximum): $76,651
Correctional Officer – Captain:
- Up to 6 Months: $63,175
- Up to 1-1/2 Years: $65,706
- Up to 2-1/2 Years: $67,813
- Up to 3-1/2 Years: $71,298
- 265 Months (Maximum): $88,691
The Department of Labor provides the following salary data among correctional officers in Rhode Island:
Cranston, Rhode Island Corrections Officer Job Description
The city of Cranston, located in Providence County, is home to all of the state prisons and state correctional facilities in Rhode Island, including the John J. Moran Medium Security Facility. The medium security facility is the second-largest correctional institution in the state- with a inmate population of 1,104 as of January 2013. Operating at near capacity (1.118,) the facility is the largest employer of correctional officers in all of Rhode Island. Other correctional facilities in Cranston, Rhode Island include the following:
- The Anthony P. Travisono Intake Service Center
- The High Security Center (HSC)
- The Maximum Security Center
- The Donald Price Medium Security Facility
- The Minimum Security Center
- The Gloria McDonald Trial and Medium Security Facility (for women)
- The Bernadette Building (for women)
There are no federal penitentiaries in Rhode Island, and all correctional facilities operate under the supervision of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
On average, an entry-level correctional officer will earn more than $45,000 a year, which is higher than the average officer salary in the United States. Officers also have comprehensive insurance plans, paid sick leave and vacations and a pension plan for retirement.
The Correctional Officer Hiring Process in Cranston
Education Requirements – Prior to completing an application, those wishing to obtain a corrections officer job must first have at least a high school diploma, GED or the educational equivalent. Those with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are given preference over other applicants for the position.
Other Requirements – Applicants must also be at least 18 years of age by the time they enroll in the training academy and must be a United States citizen with a clean criminal background. Those with any charges related to violent crimes and serious misdemeanors will be automatically disqualified.
Examinations and Tests – Before enrolling in the training academy, applicants must pass a criminal background check, a physical fitness test, a medical and psychological examination, a drug screen and a series of interviews with the Director’s Board for the Department of Corrections. Those who score high on the Civil Service Examination may be eligible for a pay raise, depending on experience and other factors.
Training – Recruits are required to complete a nine-week long training course at the Rhode Island Correctional Officer Training Academy, located in Providence. Through training, the recruits will learn all the skills necessary for an entry-level position, including defensive tactics, communication skills, weapons and chemical agents handling, departmental procedures, safety procedures and will receive certification in firearms handling, CPR and First Aid. Additional on-the-job training will also be done once a recruit finishes the training academy and is placed in one of the correctional institutions located in Cranston. After the first year of employment, entry-level correctional officers are required to complete an additional 40 hours of training each year that they are employed with the Department of Corrections in any form.
Providence County, Rhode Island Corrections Officer Job Description
The Anthony P. Travisono Intake Service Center is the largest prison complex in the state of Rhode Island. The prison is located on the outskirts of Cranston in the most populous metropolitan area in the state, which is Providence County. The institution is an all-male inmate facility and houses an average of 873 inmates per year, according to the 2012 prison population report. In total, the facility is composed of 16 housing units, including a cafeteria area, a visiting room, an outdoor recreational area and an administrative office building.
Many of the inmates housed at the Anthony P. Travisono Service Center are awaiting classification in order to be transported to minimum security, medium security, maximum security of federal institutions. The correctional facility operates under the supervision of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Entry-level salary for correctional officers working at the Anthony P. Travisono Intake Service Center in Providence County is $45,506, which is substantially higher than most similar corrections jobs in the country. Officers also have comprehensive insurance plans, paid sick leave, a pension plan, paid holidays and college education incentive plans. There are also many opportunities to receive pay increases after the first year of employment.
Minimum Requirements and Qualifications
Before an applicant can become a correctional officer in Rhode Island, they must first meet the minimum requirements to be considered for the position. The minimum requirements for correctional officer jobs in Providence County include the following:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must be a United States citizen and resident of the state
- Must have a valid driver’s license
- Must be able to legally possess and operate a firearm
- Must have a clean criminal background
- Must have at least a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent level of education
Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and those with military or security experience, are given special consideration during the hiring process. Applicants with these types of experience are also eligible for a pay upgrade when compared to those without the experience or higher level of education. Only those with a honorable discharge from the military will be given preference during the hiring process.
Steps to Being Admitted to the Academy
In order to be accepted into the training academy, applicants must complete the hiring process, which consists of a Civil Service written examination, a criminal background check, a physical agility examination, an interview with the Director’s Interview Board, a physiological exam and a drug screen.
Recruits are required to complete a nine-week long training schedule at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Training Academy. The training received will emphasize safety procedures, communication skills, de-escalation methods, defensive tactics, weapons and chemical agent use and certification in CPR and First Aid, among many other subjects, skills and procedures.