Detention Officer Job Description

Detention Officer Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for a detention officer job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a detention officer. Feel free to use our detention officer job description template to produce your own detention officer job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a detention officer.


Who is a Detention Officer?

A detention officer also known as a corrections officer is a uniformed member of law enforcement who is in charge of maintaining the safety, custody, and discipline of prisoners. They are in charge of the care, custody, and supervision of those who have been found guilty of a crime and given prison sentences.

In state-run facilities like jails and prisons, a detention officer is in charge of keeping an eye on detainees who are being held or held captive. Some police officers work in juvenile detention facilities and courts. You are responsible for ensuring that prisoners behave in a secure and disciplined way. You watch for suspicious activity and alert upper authorities, including the prison warden, about it. Unruly convicts might need to be forcibly detained by you. You can also be asked to accompany prisoners to and from the facility so they can be transferred and appear in court.


Inmates in jail awaiting trial as well as those in detention centers where they have been charged with a crime are under the supervision of a detention officer. The officer’s responsibilities also include working in the jail and transporting inmates to court hearings. The majority of detention officers work in juvenile offender facilities, county correctional facilities, and maximum-security prisons.

In a jail, detention officers may be used as guards. Detention officials must adhere to particular standards, including education and training. Depending on the state or jurisdiction, the criteria may differ slightly, but most want the officer to have a high school diploma and be at least eighteen years old.

A detention officer must be physically strong, in good health, and have a clean criminal history. Potential officers must complete a training program specific to each jail system. Those who are serious about working in this sector should think about obtaining a degree in criminal justice and a basic law enforcement certification.

A detention officer may work as a guard at the neighborhood jail. This officer is in charge of ensuring that the prisoners are entered into the system and is always in charge of watching over the inmates. Sometimes, officers must break up fights, search for illegal substances, and keep an eye on prisoners in the yard.

A juvenile detention officer is a different category of a detention officer. The welfare and activities of young offenders are overseen by the officers who work in these prisons. One of these professionals’ duties is to alert the warden and prison psychologists to any questionable or illegal activity. The officer’s other responsibilities include making sure the juvenile attends required classes and participates in rehabilitation initiatives.

Guarding and helping medical staff who work in jail facilities are some detention officers’ main duties. While the prisoners receive medical attention from the physicians and nurses, the cop keeps an eye on them. The officer will help with the prisoner’s transportation to and from the place if the inmate needs outpatient care from another facility. Detention officers who have received specialized training for this job also assist with medication dispensing and basic vital statistics gathering.

The majority of detention officers work in hazardous environments. Officers who intervene in inmate fights or engage in physical conflict with the offender run the danger of becoming hurt. Long hours and availability every day of the week, including weekends, are requirements for anyone working in this sector. Most police officers work in shifts and may be given morning or night shift assignments.


Detention Officer Job Description

What is a detention officer job description? A detention officer job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a detention officer in an organization. Below are the detention officer job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a detention officer job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a detention officer include the following;

  • Process prisoners, uphold security, and provide, and transport prisoners.
  • Receive and process detainees into the institution’s custody; conduct inmate searches, and manage personal property.
  • Give prisoners a chance to phone a lawyer or a family member and inform them about the rules and regulations of the prison.
  • Transport prisoners to courts, hospitals, and other relevant locations.
  • Maintain a watch on inmates during meals, personal hygiene, and other related activities to ensure compliance with facility policies.
  • Guard and escort prisoners to their cells while examining their physical well-being.
  • Receive, count, document, and wash all inmate laundry.
  • Personal and cell cleaning supplies are given out, and money collected from prisoners is recorded.
  • Provide convicts with medication as prescribed or directed.
  • Create routine records about prisoners and handle general office tasks.
  • Ensure that the housing is maintained and cared for.
  • Keep track of visitors, examines things brought into the prison, and examine mail that comes in and goes out.
  • Investigate crimes and important situations, gather evidence, make an arrest, and provide court testimony.
  • Carry out relevant tasks as necessary.
  • Observe the behavior of the convicts and reactions to events like fights, suicide attempts, and vandalism.
  • Execute pat downs, strip searches, and x-ray inspections of inmates’ possessions to stop the entry of contraband.
  • Keep a record of the inmates’ travels, chats, and other interactions with other residents of the prison.
  • Engage with prisoners to secure their security and safety in compliance with the norms and regulations of the facility.
  • Escort prisoners to medical appointments or other locations inside a prison.
  • Offer counsel to prisoners who are experiencing emotional or mental health issues or who may commit suicide or self-harm.
  • Uphold order in a building by applying laws and regulations and handling emergencies.
  • Keep an eye on convicts who are working in the kitchen or leisure spaces like the gym or library.
  • Account for the overall safety and security of all employees, contractors, visitors, and detainees at the Forsyth County Law Enforcement Detention Center (FCEDC).
  • Oversee prisoners directly, maintaining a safe and secure living environment while preserving their privacy rights.
  • Carry out a variety of tasks around the Detention Center.
  • Enforce security measures, uphold discipline, and avert conflicts.
  • Report any occurrences or violations, provide proof, and, if required, take corrective action.
  • Help the custody Sergeant as ordered by general administration and maintain the custody suite. Including completing the necessary steps in the inmates’ booking-in process (e.g., taking fingerprints, photographs, and DNA samples).
  • Recognize and consider every aspect of a detainee’s well-being and dignity.
  • Prepare and distribute all meals and beverages to those who are being held.
  • Ensure adherence to rules regarding food safety.
  • Keep an eye on the custody suite to ensure that the facility is generally clean and hygienic.
  • Conduct searches of detained individuals and cells or assist with searches.
  • Perform routine checks on those who are being held in cells, and notify the custody sergeant of any changes in behavior or health.
  • Assist officials from other departments (legal counsel, healthcare, or liaison) to ensure that detainee mobility and care are satisfied and adhere to statutory requirements as well as national and local protocols.
  • Receive, document, and document evidence before policy and data protection laws to guarantee the precise restitution and/or transfer of property.
  • Maintain the physical condition necessary to carry out the main activities of the work
  • Oversee inmate nutrition and keeps an eye on inmates with unique dietary requirements.
  • Supervise the area where inmates live being cleaned.
  • Monitor detainee movement inside the prison.
  • Distribute approved supplies to prisoners, such as hygiene products and mail, and supervise their recreational pursuits.
  • Enforce all relevant laws and norms for the position in question.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of all departmental and bureau policies and procedures.
  • Make sure that rules are adhered to and implemented.
  • Handle tense situations with promptness, sensitivity, and professionalism.
  • Keep inmates under control and in your custody during your term of service.
  • Maintain the security and safety of the designated facilities.
  • Complete the necessary papers for the custody and care of prisoners.
  • Create legal documents as necessary for carrying out tasks and daily security checks as necessary.
  • Participate in and completes any training required by law or TCOLE to keep the necessary certifications current (licenses).
  • Execute all additional responsibilities as specified.



  • Possess a criminal justice degree or a law enforcement certification.
  • a high school diploma and be at least 18 years old.
  • The ability to pass a state exam and a background check.


Essential Skills

  • Communication: The capacity to communicate is the ability to clearly express information. With kids, instructors, and administrators, detention officers frequently communicate. Additionally, they must be able to communicate rules and regulations to prisoners in a way that makes sense to them. Detention officers who possess strong communication abilities can diffuse conflict and keep everyone safe.
  • Security Measures: Detention officers must be knowledgeable about security systems to guarantee the security of their facility and its residents. In case of an emergency, detention officers should be knowledgeable about alarm systems, fire detection equipment, and other security measures. They must also understand how to use any security tools they may have access to, such as electronic door locks and closed-circuit television cameras.
  • CPR/First Aid: Detention officers should be proficient in first aid and CPR because they might be the first people on the scene in an emergency. Detention officers should be capable of handling injuries, convulsions, and allergic responses as medical emergencies. Additionally, they must be able to administer CPR to a person having a heart attack or another potentially fatal condition.
  • Emergency Actions: Detention officers need to be knowledgeable about emergency responses, such as how to deal with fires and medical emergencies. This is especially crucial if the detention facility lacks a full-time fire department or medical staff. In addition, detention officers might need to know how to use basic life support tools including CPR masks and AEDs.
  • Writing Reports: Detention officers frequently document their work, including any issues that happened and the steps they took, in reports. They also compile paperwork for court proceedings or other legal documents using report writing skills. Detention officers must be able to concisely describe situations in writing so that others can comprehend them.
  • Crowd management abilities: Detention officers frequently work near sizable crowds, so crowd management abilities are crucial. During emergencies, you might need to maintain order and mediate conflicts between prisoners. For instance, you might need to direct an inmate to the medical section if they become unwell or injured so they can get care.
  • Solving issues: Detention officers frequently employ their problem-solving abilities to resolve conflicts between staff and inmates. For instance, the officer may need to find ways to calm down the inmate and explain the necessity of the rule or condition if the detainee is upset about it. Detention officers also deal with issues like how to maintain control in a room full of people talking simultaneously.
  • Patience: Working with students who are agitated, irate, or disappointed is a common task for detention officers. Patient detention officers can have their composure and concentrate on the task at hand. They must have the ability to empathize with worries and defuse situations without escalating them. When collaborating with other staff members to make sure they adhere to protocol and maintain safety in the classroom, detention officers must also exercise patience.
  • Defending Techniques: To restrain or control a detainee, detention officials frequently employ defensive measures. They might need to be able to apply pressure points, knock someone down, and bind them. When operating in potentially dangerous circumstances like fires, riots, and medical emergencies, detention officers also employ protective strategies.
  • Weapons Safety: Detention officers should be proficient in firearms safety because they can be asked to carry a gun while on the job. Before being permitted to carry a gun, detention officials need to complete the necessary training and obtain a license. To police themselves and others, individuals must also be aware of how to manage any gun-related circumstances.
  • Patrol: Patrolling is the practice of circling a specific region to maintain security. To uphold law and order and to maintain security, detention officers frequently patrol their designated areas, such as companies or schools. When they accompany prisoners from one place to another, they also make use of their patrolling abilities. Patrolling involves close attention to detail so that you can identify any impending hazards.
  • Interpersonal Competence: The person detention officers frequently interact with include inmates, other security workers, and administrators. Empathy, compassion, patience, and active listening are examples of interpersonal abilities that may all be used to forge connections with people at work. You can also utilize interpersonal abilities to resolve conflicts between prisoners or when one of them is in pain emotionally.
  • Flexibility: Being flexible is having the capacity to change course when necessary. Flexibility enables detention officers to modify their schedules and tasks as needed because they frequently work shifts that change every day. Adaptable detention officers’ situation that arises in the office or while on duty.
  • De-escalation: The capacity to reduce tension and de-escalate a situation. Detention officers frequently deal with people who are irate, enraged, or frustrated. Detention officers that possess strong de-escalation techniques can better govern their facilities and ensure everyone’s safety. For instance, if an inmate starts acting angry, a detention officer might be able to calm them down and prevent the situation from getting out of hand by employing active listening strategies and soothing language.
  • Applying force: To control convicts and keep the institution in order, detention staff frequently resort to physical force. They must have the capacity to exert control over a circumstance without endangering themselves or others. Restraint, composure, and the capacity to react swiftly are requirements for this. Detention officers also need to be skilled in using restraints compassionately and safely.


How to Become a Detention Officer

  • These could be different for jobs at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Make sure to investigate your state’s particular standards, which are often available on websites for departments of prisons. The majority of qualifications will include being a citizen of the United States, possessing a valid driver’s license, and being at least 20 years old.
  • Acquire knowledge or experience: For the majority of positions as a local detention officer, simply a high school diploma is required. Candidates with a degree or some college training often make more money, have more options for growth, and are more qualified for jobs.

Federal penitentiary facilities prefer applicants with a background in the military or law enforcement, which frequently takes the place of a degree.

  • Apply for the job, then succeed in the admission exam: The typical application process for a position as a detention officer entails completing a physical agility test, background check, and medical examination in addition to a written test and psychological evaluation before an interview.
  • Complete your training at a recognized institute: Depending on the profession or business, training for detention officers could take a few weeks to several months. It frequently involves instruction in the use of firearms, procedural instruction (in riot control, restraining techniques, and inmate transport), instruction in basic fitness, instruction in the law, and instruction in rehabilitation. After leaving the academy, on-the-job training is frequently offered as well.
  • Take the oath of office: Following completion of their training, detention officers swear an oath of office. The oath is often a vocal and written sworn statement, however, this may differ from state to state.
  • Plan ahead and train: The more opportunities there are for growth as a detention officer, the more experience you accumulate in the sector. Make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to learn new or deeper skill sets, or to attend refresher courses in topics like defensive training and guns. Higher salaries, promotions, or management roles may result from earning extra degrees, credentials, or certifications. Additionally, you have the option of specializing in a particular field, such as coaching riot or tactical reaction teams or researching psychological counseling techniques.


Where to Work as a Detention Officer

  1. Correctional Centres
  2. Courtrooms
  3. Juvenile detention centers


Detention Officer Salary Scale

In the USA, a detention officer makes an average pay of $38,424, or $19.70 per hour. The starting salary for entry-level jobs is $33,150 per year, while the average yearly salary for experienced workers is $55,776.

In the UK, a detention officer makes an average income of £24,116 per year or £12.37 per hour. Most experienced professionals earn up to £27,441 per year, while entry-level roles start at £21,716.

In Canada, a detention officer makes an average of $53,207 per year or $27.29 per hour. Most experienced workers earn up to $61,484 annually, while entry-level roles start at $49,887.

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