Juvenile correctional officers monitor and provide security to juvenile offenders. They ensure the safety of the facility compliant with rules and regulations, compile reports on the daily activities as well as in the case of incidents, and report unusual activity. They also supervise rehabilitation procedures of the offenders.
The duties of a juvenile correctional officer typically include:
- Transporting inmates to and from court hearings, medical facilities, classes or recreational activities
- Patrolling correctional facility to ensure it is clean, secure, and well-maintained
- Supervising inmates throughout the day, including meal time and recreational time
- Completing daily reports
- Completing incident reports when violence or disorder erupts
- Providing intensive security for juveniles with higher risk or security status
- Enforcing the rules and regulations of the correctional facility
- Reporting breaches of security or inappropriate behavior to supervisors
Beyond general security and supervision, juvenile correctional officers also often engage in:
- Working with therapeutic teams to facilitate group discussions and counseling sessions
- Teaching juvenile offenders basic life skills, problem-solving skills, rehabilitative skills and behavioural management
- Observing and recording the progress of juvenile offenders and reporting it to supervisors
- Observing and recording mental and physical health and behavioral concerns of juvenile offenders and reporting it to supervisors
- Following medical orders and dispensing medication to juvenile offenders
- Providing vocational counseling and providing counseling referrals to juveniles and their families
The following job titles also refer to juvenile correctional officer:
correctional youth security officer
young offenders detention officer
youth detention counselor
youth correctional officer
juvenile corrections officer
detention centre youth worker
youth detention worker
young offenders officer
juvenile detention officer
Juvenile correctional officers work in secure detention facilities, such as juvenile jails and juvenile prisons. They may also work in group homes, residential treatment centers, or day treatment programs.
Most juvenile correctional officers work full time, and many work more than 40 hours per week. They may work evenings, weekends, and holidays, and they may be on call 24 hours a day. Some juvenile correctional officers work in shifts, and some may be required to work overtime.
The work can be stressful and dangerous, and officers must be able to deal with emotionally charged situations. They must also be able to maintain control in the face of potential violence.
In general, juvenile correctional officers must possess a high school diploma or equivalent and, in a few cases, college degrees or college coursework, usually in the social sciences, such as criminal justice, psychology, sociology, or juvenile justice. Applicants with felony convictions are typically disqualified.
It is typical for selected candidates to take written entrance exams and physical fitness assessments. Further, candidates may be subject to:
- Background investigations
- Polygraph examinations
- Psychological evaluations
- Medical examinations
- Urinalysis (drug screenings)
A valid driver’s license and acceptable driving record may be required for some juvenile office jobs. The minimum age for juvenile correctional officers is 18 or 21, depending on the state. Newly hired officers typically attend a training course prior to assignment to a facility, where they will receive additional training on the job.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Juvenile correctional officer is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Juvenile correctional officer career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to juvenile correctional officer.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of juvenile correctional officer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of juvenile correctional officer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of juvenile correctional officer.
- Law enforcement: The different organisations involved in law enforcement, as well as the laws and regulations in law enforcement procedures.
- Legal use-of-force: The characteristics of the use-of-force, which is a legal doctrine employed by police and army forces, to regulate acts of violence during interventions. Use-of-force is ought to balance security needs with ethical concerns for the rights and well-being of intruders or suspects.
- Illegal substances: The forbidden substances which cannot be transported from one area to another, or carried by an individual, as well as their nature and how to handle them.
- Correctional procedures: The legal regulations and policies concerning the operations of correctional facilities, and other correctional procedures.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of juvenile correctional officer.
- Restrain individuals: Restrain, or control by force, individuals who violate regulations in terms of acceptable behaviour, who present a threat to others, and who perform acts of violence, to ensure the individual is unable to proceed in this negative behaviour and to protect others.
- Undertake inspections: Undertake safety inspections in areas of concern to identify and report potential hazards or security breaches; take measures to maximise safety standards.
- Oversee rehabilitation process: Oversee the rehabilitation process of offenders during their stay in a correctional facility, to ensure that they follow the instructions, show good behaviour, and work towards full re-integration when they are released.
- Handle conflicts: Mediate in conflicts and tense situations by acting between parties, such as service users, important others like families, and institutions, striving to effect an agreement, reconciliate, and resolve problems.
- Apply knowledge of human behaviour: Practice principles related to group behaviour, trends in society, and influence of societal dynamics.
- Identify security threats: Identify security threats during investigations, inspections, or patrols, and perform the necessary actions to minimise or neutralise the threat.
- Mentor individuals: Mentor individuals by providing emotional support, sharing experiences and giving advice to the individual to help them in their personal development, as well as adapting the support to the specific needs of the individual and heeding their requests and expectations.
- Escort defendants: Escort suspects and known offenders from one area to another, such as in a prison or from a cell to a courtroom, to ensure they do not escape, that they are not violent, or otherwise exceed the limits of acceptable behaviour, as well as to be able to respond to any emergencies.
- Patrol areas: Patrol a designated area, watch out for and respond to suspicious and dangerous situations, and communicate with emergency response organisations.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of juvenile correctional officer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Criminology: The study of criminal behaviour, such as its causes and nature, its consequences, and control and prevention methods.
- Juvenile detention: The legislation and procedures involving correctional activities in juvenile correctional facilities, and how to adapt correctional procedures to comply with juvenile detention procedures.
- Surveillance methods: Surveillance methods used in the gathering of information and intelligence for investigation purposes.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of juvenile correctional officer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Conduct frisk: Conduct frisks, or pat downs, with individual to ensure there are no illegal or dangerous items concealed on their person, in a manner appropriate and compliant with regulations.
- Show responsibility: Accept responsibility and be accountable for professional decisions of yourself or others as part of a job or one’s role.
- Maintain logbooks: Maintain the required logbooks according to practice and in established formats.
- Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
- Comply with the principles of self-defence: Observe the principles according to which a person should only use so much force as is required to repel an attack. The use of deadly force is limited to situations where attackers are using deadly force themselves.
- Ensure compliance with types of weapons: Use different kinds of firearms and other types of weapons and their matching ammunition, in compliance with legal requirements.
- Respond to enquiries: Respond to enquiries and requests for information from other organisations and members of the public.
- Handle surveillance equipment: Monitor surveillance equipment to observe what people are doing in a given area and ensure their safety.
- Advise on conflict management: Advise private or public organisations on monitoring possible conflict risk and development, and on conflict resolution methods specific to the identified conflicts.
- Ensure law application: Ensure the laws are followed, and where they are broken, that the correct measures are taken to ensure compliance to the law and law enforcement.
- Practice vigilance: Practice vigilance during patrol or other surveillance activities in order to ensure safety and security, to look out for suspicious behaviour or other alarming changes in patterns or activities, and to respond quickly to these changes.
ISCO group and title
5413 – Prison guards
- Juvenile correctional officer – ESCO
- Juvenile Correctional Officer Jobs and Salary – CorrectionalOfficerEdu.org
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- What is a Juvenile Correctional Officer? – Chron
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- Featured image: By Adam.J.W.C. – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5