How to Become a Correctional Officer in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MADOC) is responsible for overseeing the state prison system and managing inmates at 16 correctional institutions across the state. It aims to provide care, custody and various programs for those under supervision in prisons, in order to help them safely and successfully reenter into society.
If you want to join MADOC as a correctional officer, the following information would be of great use to you:
Minimum Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Massachusetts
According to the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 31, § 64, those who intend to apply to become a correctional officer in the state much fulfill the following requirements:
- Applicants must have high school diploma or a GED, or an equivalency certificate issued by the Massachusetts Department of Education
- This education requirement can be waived off if the candidate has served at least three years in the armed forces of the US, with an honorable discharge
- Candidate must have a permit to carry firearms
- Candidate must not have any prior criminal record
In addition to these, you would also need to be a US citizen and fulfill the minimum age requirements set by your state.
Steps to Become a Correctional Officer in Massachusetts
Once you have met the minimum requirements, you can move on to the actual process of becoming a correctional officer.
Jurisdictions and Municipalities typically have their own specific requirements for candidates, but as a general matter, all require the completion of some sort of an entrance exam. This exam would be an extensive process. It would include a physical aspect which ensures that aspiring officers possess the ability to handle rigorous duties, especially in cases where handling of disturbances is required at the facility. In addition to that, candidates will be needed to clear a written exam that would test their knowledge on legal issues that arise during incarceration. Some jurisdictions might also require the clearance of a psychological exam that would test the ability of the aspiring officer in terms of mental and emotional health. This is specifically important in case of correctional officers since working with inmates in correctional facilities can take a toll on the officers.
After you have cleared the entrance exam, you will need to begin your formal training to prepare for the challenges of being a correctional officer. The training program would largely depend on the job and employer. You will be required to complete a training academy program if you do not have any prior experience in law enforcement. The program can last for a few weeks and can even go on for months, depending on your employer’s requirements. You will be given instruction on subjects such as the use of weapons, self-defense techniques, handling inmates in different situations, officer safety, physical conditioning and crisis management.
The training requirements would also vary according to the level at which you are applying – federal or state. For federal level employees, The Introduction to Correction Techniques I class is taught at the federal medical institution in Massachusetts, FMC Devens. New hires are required to go to the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Glynco, GA, for further training.
For State level positions, Correctional Officers hired in Massachusetts must complete 10 weeks of the Department of Corrections Basic Training Academy.
With all requirements met, aspiring officers would need to figure out where they want to work. There are several facilities across the state for aspiring correction officers:
- South Middlesex Correctional Center, Framingham – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
- MCI Framingham, Framingham – Medium/Maximum Security
- North Central Correctional Institution, Gardner – Medium/Minimum Security
- Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, Shirley –Maximum Security
- Pondville Correctional Center, Norfolk – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
- MCI Norfolk, Norfolk – Medium Security
- MCI Shirley, Shirley – Medium/Minimum Security
- MCI Plymouth, South Carver – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
- Old Colony Correctional Center, Bridgewater- Medium/Minimum Security
- Northeastern Correctional Center, West Concord – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
- MCI Concord, Concord – Medium Security
- MCI Cedar Junction, South Walpole – Maximum Security
- Boston Pre-Release Center, Roslindale – Minimum Security/Pre-Release
- Bridgewater State Hospital, Bridgewater – Medium Security
- Bay State Correctional Center, Norfolk – Medium Security
- Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center, Bridgewater –Minimum Security
- Massachusetts Treatment Center, Bridgewater – Medium Security
- Lemuel Shattuck Hospital Correctional Unit, Jamaica Plain – Medium Security
To advance in your field, you will need to improve on your existing educational credentials. This may increase your chances of getting a higher pay or a promotion. With better education you may enter the managerial side of correctional facilities or the program development side for inmates, etc.
How much does a Correctional Officer make in Massachusetts?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Correction Officer I earn a starting salary of $1686.57 bi-weekly. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also lists down data for Correctional Officers and Jailers in the state, with the annual mean wage being $66,060. There are 6,080 correctional officers currently employed in the state.
If you are planning on becoming a correctional officer in Massachusetts, do your research well and make sure you are well aware of the process before you get into it.