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How Do I Become a Jailer?

Jailers are responsible for booking and releasing inmates from prison facilities.
A jailer is responsible for monitoring the behavior of prisoners.
In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2010 that roughly 800,000 people were held in jails at any given time.
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  • Written By: Whitney Leigh White
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2014
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If you choose to become a jailer, you take on the main responsibility of monitoring the behavior of people who have committed criminal offenses. You will usually complete other tasks as well, including the booking and releasing of inmates which requires a significant amount of paperwork and/or computer work to be completed. At times, being a jailer can consist of strenuous activities and can be very stressful. There are many skills a jailer must possess, but these skills do not necessarily have to be learned through the completion of a college degree. In addition, having a high school education, being 18 years of age, and gaining practical experience are generally all that is needed in order to for you to become a jailer.

Some municipal jails do not require their jailers to obtain a college education. They simply mandate that the jailers have a high school education and complete jailer training. Many times, in the United States, this type of jailer training is based on the American Jail Association guidelines. Depending on the exact type of training program being completed, it usually takes a person several weeks to several months to complete it. When a municipal jail does require a college degree, it most times is an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a concentration in criminal justice.

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You must possess certain skills in order to become a jailer. Many times, you will have to be computer literate since inmates are usually booked and released in electronic and digital manners. You must also be able to intervene when inmates act out; this will require you to stay in healthy physical condition. A minimal amount of maintenance skills are usually required as well, since you will have to maintain upkeep within inmate facilities, including inspecting locks, windows, and more.

Most correctional facilities will require you to have practical experience before being hired. This practical experience can sometimes be substituted with military experience. If you do not have any military experience, a minimum of 3 years supervising other people is usually required.

It is important to remember that each correctional facility and municipal jail differs on their requirements to become a jailer. Some will even prefer for you to have no previous experience so that they can train you exactly as preferred. If you know the exact facility you want to be employed through, you should contact it and identify the exact requirements it mandates for a jailer to obtain.

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