“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

John F. Kennedy, Politician

Pros and Cons of Working as a Jailer

advantages and disadvantages of being a jailer

You think about becoming a prison officer but are not entirely sure whether this is the right career path to go for you? Good news!

This article is exactly for you since I will show you all the pros and cons of being a correctional officer in the following chapters.

Correctional Officer Job Profile

Job DescriptionJailers make sure that inmates don’t escape and also ensure a peaceful prison environment.
Salary$38,000 per year on average, most correctional officers make between $32,000 and $48,000 per year.
Job SecurityDecent since not many people want to do the job.
Job SatisfactionPoor since inmates will always try to bring you down.
Work-Life BalanceDecent since you will have many free weekends and will also not work many extra hours.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Working as a jailer can be mentally and emotionally demanding.
Future OutlookGood since jailers will always be needed.
RequirementsWhile you may need a degree if you want to work on the federal level, you can often work as a jailer for municipalities without the need for getting a college degree.

Advantages of Being a Correctional Officer

  1. Prison officers benefit from decent job security
  2. Jailers will have decent future job prospects
  3. You can work indoors as a prison officer
  4. You can avoid classical office work
  5. You will play an important role for a working society
  6. You learn how to deal with difficult people
  7. Jailers learn how to handle stressful situations
  8. You will be more thankful for your own life
  9. You can grow in character
  10. Correctional officers get a different perspective on life
  11. You don’t necessarily need a college degree
  12. You can avoid student loan debt as a prison officer
  13. Jailers can become independent pretty soon

Prison officers benefit from decent job security

One advantage of working as a jailer is that you can benefit from pretty decent job security.

While many other people will have to worry about losing their jobs on a regular basis, you will have long-term contracts and since you work for the state or for your local municipality, your risk of getting fired is rather low since those government bodies are not profit-maximizing and even though prisons are not profitable most of the time, you will still have a good chance to keep your job for decades or even for a lifetime.

Hence, if job security is really important to you, becoming a correctional officer can make quite a lot of sense for you in this regard.

Jailers will have decent future job prospects

Corrections officers not only have pretty good job security right now, but chances are that this will also not change in the future.

There will always be people who will not obey the law and correctional officers will therefore always be needed.

Sure, some people will be replaced by machines sooner or later.

Yet, the majority of correctional officers will still be needed since working in this field requires lots of empathy and machines will not learn how to handle those emotional situations in a proper manner, at least not in the near future.

You can work indoors as a prison officer

Another upside to becoming a prison officer is that you will also be able to work indoors most of the time.

This can be quite nice since you can avoid working in rather unpleasant environments outdoors.

For instance, while construction workers and many other people will have to work outdoors during times of bad weather, you will be able to enjoy a warm and dry work environment.

In turn, your overall working conditions will likely be better compared to a person who has to work in a freezing-cold environment all day long.

You can avoid classical office work

Working as a correctional officer can also be quite exciting.

Instead of just sitting in front of a computer screen all day long as many other people who work in classical office jobs have to do, you will have much more action during work.

Of course, this is not for everyone and if you are a rather sensitive person, you should definitely not become a jailor.

However, if you are the type of person who needs some tension during your workday, chances are that you will be much better off working as a jailer compared to working in an office environment where your level of action and excitement will be quite limited for most of your workday.

You will play an important role for a working society

Jailors also do a pretty important job for society to work properly. Imagine a world without jailers.

We would simply not be able to operate prisons in a proper manner and many inmates would escape. We might not even have prisons at all.

In such a world, anarchy would take over pretty soon and we would just no longer feel safe by walking down the streets.

Hence, you can do a really important job to keep our system running and also to ensure a high level of security on our streets.

You learn how to deal with difficult people

Another benefit of being a correctional officer is that you will also learn how to deal with difficult people.

In fact, inmates will not always be nice and it is on you to develop a stable mindset to deal with personal insults and so on.

While this can be unpleasant and demanding, it can also help you to develop a really strong mindset in the long run.

In turn, this will not only help you at work, but it will also benefit you in your private life since a strong mindset is the key to success in many different life situations.

Jailers learn how to handle stressful situations

Not only will you learn how to handle difficult people, but you will also really learn how to deal with stress as a correctional officer.

Sooner or later, things may get out of control and you will have to make the right decisions in a rather short period of time to prevent inmates to escape or to avoid other unpleasant things that might happen.

While stress at work can greatly lower your overall quality of life, you may also learn how to handle those stressful situations and may become more stoic when it comes to other situations in your life you have to master.

You will be more thankful for your own life

Since you will see how people in prison struggle with their personal fate, you will also be much more grateful for the high level of freedom you have in your own life.

In fact, you will see many sad things during your career as a correctional officer and those things will show you how unimportant most other things are.

Thanks to your job as a correctional officer, you will enjoy your leisure much more and will just be thankful for all the things that are waiting for you in freedom outside those prison walls.

You can grow in character

Since you will have to deal with many stressful situations and also have to deal with difficult people all day long, you will have the chance to really grow in character as a jailor.

While you might be intimidated by all those things first, you will also be able to really make a step further and become emotionally invincible in the long run.

Sure, it takes quite a lot of mental and emotional work to get to this point.

Yet, if you finally make it, there is nothing better since comments from people who try to bring you down will no longer bother you at all and you will just secretly belittle and feel sorry for those people instead of caring about those comments on a personal level.

Correctional officers get a different perspective on life

In general, everyone who worked as a jailor for a longer period of time will get a different perspective on life and what really matters.

Since you will see many bad things during your career as a prison officer, you will also be able to enjoy the little things in life much more and this will also give you the power to carry on and to overcome difficult periods in your own life since you will know that many other people have it much worse than you.

You don’t necessarily need a college degree

While you might need a degree for becoming a correctional officer at a federal level, you may not need one if you want to work for a municipality.

Consequently, if you don’t aspire to a fancy career but rather want to work as an average jailor, chances are that finishing high school with decent grades will be enough.

Especially if there is a shortage of people who want to do this job in your region, your chances of being able to work in this field will be pretty good even if you don’t have any fancy education.

You can avoid student loan debt as a prison officer

Since you will not necessarily have to get a college degree for becoming a corrections officer, you will also be able to avoid student loan debt and all the unpleasant things that come along with it in the long run.

In fact, in our current state of the world, it is quite common for students to take on student loans to finance their education.

While this can make their time in college easier since they don’t have to worry about money that much anymore, they still have to pay the piper once they finish college or drop out for various possible reasons.

As a jailor, you will simply not have this problem since you can avoid all costs related to college and this will give you much more financial freedom, at least in the short run.

Jailers can become independent pretty soon

Since you will not have to finance any fancy education and can even make money from the first day of your career as a jailer, you will also be able to become independent of your parents pretty soon.

This can be nice, especially if you don’t want to stay at your parent’s house any longer but rather want to have your own life.

As you can see, working as a correctional officer can have many important advantages.

Yet, it is not all upside and I will also show you all the issues that come along with this career path so that you get a more comprehensive picture of what a career as a jailer really looks like.

Disadvantages of Working as a Jailer

  1. Working as a correctional officer can be stressful
  2. Inmates may try to bring you down
  3. Some inmates will just be difficult to deal with
  4. A career as a jailer can be emotionally demanding
  5. Mistakes can lead to serious adverse outcomes
  6. Corrections officers don’t make much money
  7. Some of them even need a second job to pay their bills
  8. Teleworking is not possible for jailers
  9. People may not understand your career choice
  10. Working as a jailer may be problematic if you have kids
  11. You may develop mental problems in the long run
  12. Not a nice work environment in general
  13. Sleeping problems are quite common
  14. Limited promotion opportunities
  15. You may have to go to work with a bad feeling
  16. You will see the worst of people

Working as a correctional officer can be stressful

One problem with being a jailer is that you will have to work in a pretty stressful environment.

Sure, there will be extensive security measures to make your workday as safe as possible.

Yet, there is just nothing like 100% security and you should be aware of the fact that you expose yourself to a certain level of risk by working in this field.

In fact, incidents in prisons are quite common and if you are unlucky, you may get seriously injured sooner or later.

Working as a correctional officer can also be emotionally demanding since inmates will also make fun of you and if you don’t have a stable mindset, you will just not become happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Inmates may try to bring you down

Working as a correctional officer also means that you will have to deal with inmates in a bad mood all day long.

Imagine you would be in jail without any prospects for a better future. Wouldn’t his be frustrating?!

Now you know how many inmates will feel about their stay in prison and for sure, this frustration will lead to a state where some inmates will even insult you and will not have any respect for your work at all.

Some inmates will just be difficult to deal with

While most inmates will at least have a certain level of patience and respect for you, others will just show none of those characteristics.

In fact, you will sometimes have inmates that will not care about anything at all and will just try to make your life as hard as possible.

This can really be frustrating and annoying and you should make sure that you are willing to deal with those difficult people before you decide for a career as a correctional officer.

A career as a jailer can be emotionally demanding

Another disadvantage of working as a correctional officer is that your emotional stability will really be challenged every day of your career.

There will always be someone who tries to bring you down and you should really make sure that you have a stable mindset so that you can deal with those things in a mentally healthy manner.

Otherwise, you will just not become happy with your jailer career in the long run and will have to quit your job pretty soon.

Mistakes can lead to serious adverse outcomes

You should also not underestimate the pressure that comes along with working as a jailor.

Your mistakes can lead to serious adverse outcomes and can cost lives in the worst case.

Hence, you will always have to be awake and watching out for trouble that might occur in the next moment.

In fact, the level of tension between inmates is often quite high due to conflicts in the past and you will be the one who has to keep those animals under control.

Corrections officers don’t make much money

While you will have a pretty demanding job to do, this will not be reflected in your salary at all.

In fact, most corrections officers make pretty poor money and barely any jailer makes more than $50,000 per year.

There are many other jobs from which you could make this amount of money without having to deal with the emotional burden that comes along with a jailer career.

Also if you want to afford some luxury, becoming a correctional officer will not be the right way to go for you.

Instead, you should rather aspire to a career as an investment banker or other occupations where you could make significantly more.

Some of them even need a second job to pay their bills

Some correctional officers are not even able to pay their bills and have to work a second job to cover their expenses.

This is especially true if you live in a region where rents are quite high.

In such a case, your salary from your jailor job will often not be high enough to pay rent and to cover other basic expenses and this means that you have to work some additional hours in the private sector.

In turn, you will barely have any leisure if this is the case and working a second job can also be really annoying since your level of flexibility regarding what you want to do with your life will be almost zero.

Teleworking is not possible for jailers

Another downside to working as a jailor is that you will also not be able to work from home.

While many other people who work in office jobs have this luxury and can stay at home for a few days a week, you will have to be present in prison in person.

Consequently, you will also not have the same level of flexibility when it comes to managing your private and professional life at the same time.

People may not understand your career choice

Your family and friends may also not understand your career choice at all.

In fact, correctional officers have a rather low social status and will also not make much money.

Hence, be prepared to get some negative comments in this regard if you really decide for a career as a prison officer.

Working as a jailer may be problematic if you have kids

Working as a correctional officer may not only be problematic for your own quality of life, but it can also be problematic in case you have children since your kids will always worry about you.

In turn, this can be really demanding for your kids on a mental and emotional level and if you want to do your family a favor, you may just want to go for a safer job instead.

You may develop mental problems in the long run

Due to the bad things you will see during your shifts in jail, you may also develop serious mental issues sooner or later.

In fact, many people are not emotionally stable enough to deal with all the adversity in a proper manner and will suffer from depression and other mental problems.

Not a nice work environment in general

Prisons are also not the nicest work environments.

In fact, they are often just means to an end and there will not be any beauty in most of those institutions.

This also means that you will not be able to work in a fancy office environment but rather have to spend your time inside those unappealing buildings.

Sleeping problems are quite common

Another problem with working as a jailer is that you may also develop serious sleeping problems.

In fact, many correctional officers are just not able to unplug from work and will dream about the bad things they have experienced.

Some of them will also stay awake all night and this lack of good sleep can contribute to serious health issues in the long run.

Limited promotion opportunities

You should also not expect fancy promotion options as a jailer.

Quite often, you will do the same job for decades without any hope to get out of this life anytime soon.

You may have to go to work with a bad feeling

Since you will have to deal with many issues and unpleasant things during your shift, you may also have to go to work with a bad feeling in your stomach.

In fact, many correctional officers report that they secretly don’t like going to work at all and some of them are even afraid to do so.

You will see the worst of people

In general, prisons are not the nicest workplaces and you will often see the worst of people.

Hence, make sure that this is really what you want before you decide for becoming a correctional officer.

Top 10 Being a Jailer Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Jailer ProsBeing a Jailer Cons
Jailers have decent job securityJailers don’t make much money
Good future job prospectsWorking as a jailer can be stressful
You can do an important job for societyYou have to deal with annoying people
Jailers don’t work many extra hoursMental issues are quite common
You can work indoors as a jailorYou may suffer from sleeping problems
Jailors can grow in characterPrisons are not nice work environments
You learn how to deal with stressWorking as a jailer can be risky
You learn how to handle difficult peopleLimited promotion options
You will value your own life much moreYou may need a second job
You don’t need any fancy educationMany jailers quit sooner or later

Should You Become A Prison Officer?

As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages to a career as a jailer.

In the end, you should take your time and evaluate all the pros and cons of working as a correctional officer properly so that you can make a profound career choice that can make you happy in the long run.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a police officer

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a judge

Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a politician

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/184645/annual-mean-wages-for-largest-occupations-in-state-government/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_officer

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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