Correctional officers must master verbal judo

The most important skill a correctional officer can arm him or herself with is strong communication skills


By Daniel Scorza, student, Criminal Justice at American Military University

Unlike law enforcement officers, correctional officers have minimal tools to deal with unruly or threatening inmates. Most correctional officers only carry a radio, restraints, and sometimes a baton. Rarely are they even issued pepper spray. Firearms are only available in locked areas of the facility and are only used in the most serious situations such as a prison riot.

The reason correctional officers are unarmed is because they are constantly outnumbered and in close quarters with dangerous offenders. If correctional officers were armed like regular patrol officers—with a Taser, firearm, and pepper spray—they risk being disarmed by an inmate. In essence, minimally arming officers prevents institutional takeover, hostage situations, and injuries.

[Related: Three Ways Corrections Prepares You for a Career in Law Enforcement]

Because correctional officers don’t have many tools at their disposal, the most important skill a correctional officer can arm him or herself with is strong communication skills.

​​Full Story: Correctional officers must master verbal judo

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