County Jail and State Prison Security.


April 12, 2003, 01:03 AM
Hi, I know that this isnt the place for this sort of post. But I am considering a new job as a prison guard or jailer at the county jail. The pay is good $23k to $30k a year. I was just wondering if any of you out there could share with me what to expect and any
other info that you may have.
I live in a small town so the co jail shouldnt be that bad. But what about the prison guards?:confused:

Feel free to PM me.

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April 12, 2003, 02:06 AM
If you can get on with the state DOC you will do much better. They typically offer better pay, benefits and retirement plans. You also have much better job security. Once you pass the probationary period of a state agency it takes a lot to get you fired, unlike local or private run facilities where you have no protection from being fired.

There really is no difference in working in a county jail and a prison. The same principles apply. Treat everyone fairly and as humane as possible with consideration given to security levels. Never show favortism and always conduct yourself in a professional manner and never allow someone to get under your skin. If you take matters personally it will eventually lead to serious problems later.

Anyway..give me a PM. I currently work here in FL and have worked in Oklahoma.

Good Shooting

El Rojo
April 12, 2003, 02:36 AM
Being a CO isn't too bad. The one thing you have to remember when dealing with inmates is never take anything personal. At the end of the day, you get to go home and they don't. So no matter what you win. Sure they get one little thing over on you, big deal, you are going home at the end of the day, they stay there. Who wins in the end? And never, ever trust an inmate. Always double check their story.

April 12, 2003, 04:35 AM
mak the one thing to remember about County, is you will have some there who have not been convicted and some who have,this will require you to act a little different, once you move to the state or federal system they are all CONVICTS,and have nothing to lose by trying to jam you up, so your mind set is different. At the State level you will more than likely recieve more if not better training and have some chance of advancement

April 12, 2003, 06:36 AM
For the most part, jails are for those who can`t make bail. The one basic right they lose is the ability to move about freely. They`re not convicted of any crime. There are convicts brought in from state prisons for trial on other charges or as witnesses to trials but they`re the exceptions.

Prison as explained is for convicts. They`ve been convicted of a crime and their rights are different.

When that Admin Gate or B door clangs shut, you`re basically a prisoner for 8 to 16 hours. I`ve worked with C.O.s who would have been better radio car partners than the real cops I`ve worked with. The job will make you nuts though.:eek:

April 12, 2003, 08:26 AM
Dave McCracken (the head Shotgun forum expert) worked in the MD DOC for a long time. He could probably give some good advice, send him a PM, I dont know if he browses the General forum.


April 12, 2003, 09:44 AM
since when is $23,000 to $30,000 good pay? i'd say barely liveable especially for the job they do. 187

Standing Wolf
April 12, 2003, 11:19 AM
I lasted five months as a prison guard in the early 1980s. It was good experience, but altogether the most depressing job I've ever had.

4v50 Gary
April 12, 2003, 11:25 AM
Like Standing Wolf says, very depressing job. Be extremely professional and don't take anything personal. It's a job and at times, the only difference between the inmate and the officer is that the officer gets "release time" to go home every day. Inmates respect COs who are professional with them. After a while, you develop a reputation and inmates will talk.

Never allow discuss your personal life with them either. That stays at home. Talk sports and know sports. It's good for common grounds to idle time. They've got little else to do other than sceme, scam, and 24 hours to figure out how to outsmart you.

Learn your facilities policies, procedures, do's and don'ts. And of course, watch the alcohol intake. The job can become stressful and you're better off working out than trying to drown out the stress.

Chuck Perry
April 12, 2003, 11:25 AM
I have a lot of respect for CO's. One job I would never want. I only drop off and pick-up prisoners, and can't wait to get out of there every time. Don't think I could stand being locked up with the animals all day.

April 12, 2003, 12:04 PM
As a prison chaplain, perhaps I can put in my $0.02 worth...

First, treat any county or local prison job as a stepping-stone to a better agency. With a year or two of experience under your belt, you're very likely to be an acceptable candidate to your State or even the Federal prison system. With the Feds, in particular, you'll be working for one of the best-run agencies in the Government, and the pay and benefits are not bad.

Secondly, as others have said, it's a high-stress job. Some facilities are higher-stress than others (e.g. maximum-security vs. minimum-security), but the stress is always there. If you can't handle stress well, don't go there! Work out, have hobbies and outside interests to keep your mind on happier things, etc. Above all, don't take your work home with you! Many marriages suffer in the law enforcement/corrections world because the LEO/CO can't separate married life from work. They are two different environments. In one, you never trust ANY inmate, and are always on your guard. In the other, you trust them all - or if you don't, you need marriage counseling! You have to be able to keep these worlds separate, or risk serious trouble.

Third, remember that wise man, Abraham Maslow, and his famous dictum that "If the only tool you have is a hammer, pretty soon every problem begins to look like a nail". Convicts typically have a very limited set of "tools" to deal with life: high on their list are threats, violence, deception and lies. They will use these "tools" to deal with you, too, if they can, because they don't know any other way of life. You should have a much wider set of life "tools", and a big part of your job will be to apply those tools to understand what the convicts are up to. Perhaps your example can teach some of them a few new "tools" as well, and help them change their lives. For others, unfortunately, they fear neither God nor the Devil, and aren't interested in changing. This will make your life difficult at times.

It's an important job, and one that's very underrated by many in the "outside world". If you decide to go that route, be as professional and as honest as you can. We need guys like you in corrections!

April 12, 2003, 12:57 PM
Most inmates I work with (top 30% pop.) have some degree of mental illness, are emotionally unstable, prey on the weak (inmates) and are of very low character. But they excel at sweet talking their way through life. I work with 60 "special management" types that run a high risk of being killed if they were placed with the main inmate population. They have done the sort of crimes that are only talked about in low voices by the staff. Your highest risk as one has already said is being "set-up" by an inmate, within the first 90 days you will see a staff member fired or resign because he/she got jammed-up. Woman staff seem to be the most vulnerable and the most near-sighted. BIG #1 rule: never, nerver work with female inmates, they are by far and away worse than male inmates. Turn down the job if it involves females. Take DOC rather than jail for reasons stated above and if you do get hired on, you will never have another boring day on the job, unless you work night shift.:)

April 12, 2003, 11:45 PM
OK Thanks for the info.:uhoh:

Ala Dan
April 13, 2003, 02:13 AM
Both have advantages and dis-advantages. I think our
friend RED has it right; as in most cases the state
DOC will offer a better benefit's package. However, there
is one local city police department in my area that by far
offers a benefits package the equals or exceeds the
state DOC package. The main difference is that the
city CO's fall under the State Of Alabama Teachers
Retirement Program; which is one heck-e'va good

Both jobs will entail "boo-koo's" of paperwork, so
prepare yourself for that!:uhoh: After all, "the job is not
complete until the paperwork is finished". Also, one
seeking this type of employment needs to prepare
physically and mentally for acceptance into a bonafided
law enforcement academy; cuz most agency's will
make this a mandatory requirement. Here is Alabama,
is no piece of cake; as one is assigned to Craig Field,
which is home to Alabama's state trooper academy.
Its run para-military style; as some military folks are
still stationed there.

All in all, its good training and one will graduate having
learned a lot more than they went there with! Some
topics covered are: First Aid, FireArms, United States
Criminal Code, Officer-Inmate Relations, Correct Use
Of The Baton, Code Of Conduct, etc.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

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