GITNUX REPORT 2024

Facts and Figures: Eye-opening Correctional Officer Statistics Revealed in Detail

Inside the Reality of Correctional Officers: Challenges, Statistics, and the Unseen Struggles Revealed.

Author: Jannik Lindner

First published: 7/17/2024

Statistic 1

The average age of a correctional officer is 41 years old

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72.3% of correctional officers are male

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27.7% of correctional officers are female

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The most common ethnicity of correctional officers is White (60.2%)

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Approximately 10% of correctional officers are military veterans

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About 15% of correctional officers are bilingual

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33.7% of correctional officers have a bachelor's degree

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30.8% of correctional officers have a high school diploma

Statistic 9

Most correctional officers receive on-the-job training that typically lasts several months

Statistic 10

The average correctional officer receives 120 hours of initial training

Statistic 11

Correctional officers are required to complete an average of 40 hours of in-service training annually

Statistic 12

About 25% of correctional officers have an associate's degree

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Approximately 5% of correctional officers have a master's degree

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There are approximately 434,000 correctional officers employed in the United States

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84% of correctional officers are employed by state and local governments

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16% of correctional officers work for private companies

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The average tenure for a correctional officer is 2-4 years

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California employs the highest number of correctional officers at 35,390

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Texas has the second-highest employment level for correctional officers at 34,880

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New Jersey has the highest concentration of jobs for correctional officers

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The turnover rate for correctional officers is approximately 20% per year

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About 15% of correctional officers work part-time

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The average correctional officer retires at age 58

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About 5% of correctional officers are promoted to supervisory positions each year

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About 20% of correctional officers have a second job

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About 60% of correctional officers work in state-operated facilities

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Approximately 30% of correctional officers work in locally operated jails

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10% of correctional officers work in federal prisons

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The average correctional officer has 8 years of experience in the field

Statistic 30

Employment of correctional officers is projected to decline 7 percent from 2021 to 2031

Statistic 31

About 35,700 openings for correctional officers are projected each year, on average, over the decade

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Correctional officers have a 34% higher rate of nonfatal injuries than the average for all occupations

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The suicide rate for correctional officers is 39% higher than the general working population

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28% of correctional officers suffer from PTSD

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31% of correctional officers meet the criteria for depression

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Correctional officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations

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About 20% of correctional officers report experiencing symptoms of burnout

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Correctional officers have a life expectancy of 59 years, compared to 75 years for the general population

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38% of correctional officers report experiencing physical violence on the job

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33% of correctional officers report experiencing verbal threats on the job

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Correctional officers have a 39% higher risk of suicide than the general working population

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Correctional officers have a 62% higher rate of divorce compared to the general population

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Correctional officers have a 28% higher risk of high blood pressure compared to the general population

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Approximately 40% of correctional officers report experiencing sleep disorders

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Correctional officers have a 39% higher risk of heart disease compared to the general population

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Approximately 30% of correctional officers report experiencing chronic back pain

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Correctional officers have a 68% higher rate of job-related injuries compared to police officers

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The median annual wage for correctional officers was $47,440 in May 2021

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The average starting salary for a correctional officer is $36,000

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The top 10% of correctional officers earn more than $79,340 annually

Statistic 51

Correctional officers in federal prisons earn an average of $53,420 per year

Statistic 52

California offers the highest mean wage for correctional officers at $81,750

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The average correctional officer receives 15 days of paid vacation per year

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Correctional officers receive an average of 13 paid sick days per year

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About 90% of correctional officers receive health insurance benefits

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Approximately 80% of correctional officers have access to retirement benefits

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The average correctional officer works 40 hours per week

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Many correctional officers work rotating shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays

Statistic 59

The average correctional officer supervises between 100 and 200 inmates

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The average correctional officer works 2,080 hours per year

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The average correctional officer spends 37% of their shift directly supervising inmates

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31% of correctional officers report high levels of job dissatisfaction

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About 25% of correctional officers work overtime regularly

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The average correctional officer walks 4 miles per shift

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The average correctional officer spends 15% of their shift on administrative tasks

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Summary

  • There are approximately 434,000 correctional officers employed in the United States
  • The median annual wage for correctional officers was $47,440 in May 2021
  • Employment of correctional officers is projected to decline 7 percent from 2021 to 2031
  • About 35,700 openings for correctional officers are projected each year, on average, over the decade
  • 84% of correctional officers are employed by state and local governments
  • 16% of correctional officers work for private companies
  • The average age of a correctional officer is 41 years old
  • 72.3% of correctional officers are male
  • 27.7% of correctional officers are female
  • The most common ethnicity of correctional officers is White (60.2%)
  • The average tenure for a correctional officer is 2-4 years
  • Correctional officers have a 34% higher rate of nonfatal injuries than the average for all occupations
  • The suicide rate for correctional officers is 39% higher than the general working population
  • 28% of correctional officers suffer from PTSD
  • 31% of correctional officers meet the criteria for depression

Behind the Bars: Unveiling the Men and Women of the Shield – A Statistical Dive into the World of Correctional Officers. With approximately 434,000 souls navigating the turbulent waters of the U.S. correctional system, these guardians of order and discipline bear the weight of a tumultuous profession. From the rollercoaster wages to the harrowing statistics of burnout, let’s peel back the curtain on this often overlooked workforce. Brace yourself for a reality check as we unravel the highs, lows, and everything in between of those who keep the keys to our incarceration system.

Demographics

  • The average age of a correctional officer is 41 years old
  • 72.3% of correctional officers are male
  • 27.7% of correctional officers are female
  • The most common ethnicity of correctional officers is White (60.2%)
  • Approximately 10% of correctional officers are military veterans
  • About 15% of correctional officers are bilingual

Interpretation

With the average age of a correctional officer tipping over the 40-year mark, it seems the prison walls have witnessed their fair share of mid-life crises. In this male-dominated field, where bravado and bars go hand in hand, it's hardly surprising that 72.3% of officers are men, while the remaining 27.7% hold their own—literally. The sea of white uniforms is no surprise, with 60.2% of officers being of Caucasian descent, although one wonders if the monotony of the uniform matches the monotony of the demographics. And as the chatter behind bars echoes with the tales of veterans and bilingual voices, one thing is clear: diversity in experience and language is a key to navigating the complex corridors of the correctional system.

Education and Training

  • 33.7% of correctional officers have a bachelor's degree
  • 30.8% of correctional officers have a high school diploma
  • Most correctional officers receive on-the-job training that typically lasts several months
  • The average correctional officer receives 120 hours of initial training
  • Correctional officers are required to complete an average of 40 hours of in-service training annually
  • About 25% of correctional officers have an associate's degree
  • Approximately 5% of correctional officers have a master's degree

Interpretation

In a world where one in three correctional officers holds a bachelor's degree, while nearly a third sport only a high school diploma, it seems the criminal justice system is populated by a diverse mix of academics and street-smarts. Despite the glamorous portrayal of correctional work in popular media, the reality is that most officers embark on their journey armed with just a few months of on-the-job training and 120 hours of initial instruction, before facing the formidable challenge of enduring 40 hours of tedious in-service training every year. However, fear not, for amidst this wild pendulum swing between ivory tower diplomas and practical street wisdom, there exists a humble cohort of officers wielding associate's and master's degrees, reminding us all that the key to rehabilitation may just lie in the most unexpected of hands.

Employment

  • There are approximately 434,000 correctional officers employed in the United States
  • 84% of correctional officers are employed by state and local governments
  • 16% of correctional officers work for private companies
  • The average tenure for a correctional officer is 2-4 years
  • California employs the highest number of correctional officers at 35,390
  • Texas has the second-highest employment level for correctional officers at 34,880
  • New Jersey has the highest concentration of jobs for correctional officers
  • The turnover rate for correctional officers is approximately 20% per year
  • About 15% of correctional officers work part-time
  • The average correctional officer retires at age 58
  • About 5% of correctional officers are promoted to supervisory positions each year
  • About 20% of correctional officers have a second job
  • About 60% of correctional officers work in state-operated facilities
  • Approximately 30% of correctional officers work in locally operated jails
  • 10% of correctional officers work in federal prisons
  • The average correctional officer has 8 years of experience in the field

Interpretation

In the complex world of correctional officers, where the key to success is often found behind bars, the numbers tell a fascinating tale. With an average tenure of 2-4 years, it seems these brave souls have a firm grasp on the phrase "doing time." California, home to 35,390 of these guardians of justice, leads the charge in this high-stakes profession. And with a turnover rate of 20% per year, it's clear that this is not a job for the faint of heart. Yet, with about 20% of correctional officers juggling a second job, it's safe to say they have a knack for multitasking. In this world of bars and stripes, where the average retirement age is 58, these officers are truly serving time in more ways than one.

Job Outlook

  • Employment of correctional officers is projected to decline 7 percent from 2021 to 2031
  • About 35,700 openings for correctional officers are projected each year, on average, over the decade

Interpretation

Well, it seems like the job market for correctional officers is experiencing a slight decline, perhaps indicating that the bad guys are taking a vacation (or behaving exceptionally well). Nevertheless, with approximately 35,700 openings projected each year, it appears there will always be a demand for those brave souls willing to keep the peace behind bars. So, whether you're in it for the thrill or just really enjoy dressing in uniform, there's still plenty of opportunities to make a difference in the world of corrections.

Occupational Hazards

  • Correctional officers have a 34% higher rate of nonfatal injuries than the average for all occupations
  • The suicide rate for correctional officers is 39% higher than the general working population
  • 28% of correctional officers suffer from PTSD
  • 31% of correctional officers meet the criteria for depression
  • Correctional officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations
  • About 20% of correctional officers report experiencing symptoms of burnout
  • Correctional officers have a life expectancy of 59 years, compared to 75 years for the general population
  • 38% of correctional officers report experiencing physical violence on the job
  • 33% of correctional officers report experiencing verbal threats on the job
  • Correctional officers have a 39% higher risk of suicide than the general working population
  • Correctional officers have a 62% higher rate of divorce compared to the general population
  • Correctional officers have a 28% higher risk of high blood pressure compared to the general population
  • Approximately 40% of correctional officers report experiencing sleep disorders
  • Correctional officers have a 39% higher risk of heart disease compared to the general population
  • Approximately 30% of correctional officers report experiencing chronic back pain
  • Correctional officers have a 68% higher rate of job-related injuries compared to police officers

Interpretation

Correctional officers: the unsung heroes facing a series of alarming statistics with resilience and strength. From nonfatal injuries to mental health struggles, the challenges they navigate are as demanding as the inmates they oversee. Despite being at a higher risk for physical violence, burnout, and health issues, they continue to stand unwavering in their duty to protect and serve. Their sacrifices are often overlooked, but their dedication remains steadfast. Salute to the brave men and women behind the bars, a beacon of strength in the darkness of our justice system.

Salary and Benefits

  • The median annual wage for correctional officers was $47,440 in May 2021
  • The average starting salary for a correctional officer is $36,000
  • The top 10% of correctional officers earn more than $79,340 annually
  • Correctional officers in federal prisons earn an average of $53,420 per year
  • California offers the highest mean wage for correctional officers at $81,750
  • The average correctional officer receives 15 days of paid vacation per year
  • Correctional officers receive an average of 13 paid sick days per year
  • About 90% of correctional officers receive health insurance benefits
  • Approximately 80% of correctional officers have access to retirement benefits

Interpretation

In the world of correctional officers, the numbers tell an intriguing tale. From the enticing starting salary that might make you want to reconsider your career choices to the lucrative top 10% perched high above the salary ladder, it's clear that this profession offers a wide spectrum of financial opportunities. With California gleaming as the golden state for correctional officer wages and the promise of paid vacation and sick days, this line of work is not just about maintaining order behind bars—it's about securing a stable future with benefits to boot. So, if you have a knack for discipline, a passion for justice, and a desire for financial security, perhaps donning that uniform could be your ticket to a fulfilling and well-compensated career in corrections.

Working Conditions

  • The average correctional officer works 40 hours per week
  • Many correctional officers work rotating shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays
  • The average correctional officer supervises between 100 and 200 inmates
  • The average correctional officer works 2,080 hours per year
  • The average correctional officer spends 37% of their shift directly supervising inmates
  • 31% of correctional officers report high levels of job dissatisfaction
  • About 25% of correctional officers work overtime regularly
  • The average correctional officer walks 4 miles per shift
  • The average correctional officer spends 15% of their shift on administrative tasks

Interpretation

In a world where the average correctional officer walks as many miles per shift as a determined marathon runner and spends close to a third of their time playing the ultimate game of "hide and seek" with inmates, it's no wonder that job dissatisfaction levels are high. Juggling a seemingly endless parade of administrative tasks, overtime hours, and a captive audience of 100 to 200 individuals, these unsung heroes of the justice system are truly the masters of multitasking. While the statistics paint a vivid picture of the challenges they face, they also highlight the resilience and dedication required to walk the thin blue line within prison walls.

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