The Correctional Officer

A Practical Guide

Third Edition

by Gary F. Cornelius

Tags: Corrections

Table of Contents (PDF)

Teacher's Manual available

432 pp  $60.00

ISBN 978-1-61163-453-2
eISBN 978-1-5310-0319-7

10% discount and free ground shipping within the United States for all orders over $50

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Read a sample chapter on security duties here.

The job of today's correctional officer is a demanding one, whether it is working in an adult prison or in a local jail. The correctional officer has the responsibility to safely confine criminal offenders, and, by doing so, properly keeps the public safe. This book is meant to give the reader, whether a student or a trainee, a clear, realistic understanding of what correctional officers do—from patrolling cellblocks, preventing escapes and handling security issues to dealing with various types of offenders and their behaviors. Written by a retired jail officer and adjunct professor with over 27 years of experience in confinement, classification, community corrections, correctional officer training and corrections policy development, this updated edition discusses the following topics:

  • Corrections: Definition, Offenders, Goals and Functions
  • Types of Correctional Facilities
  • Correctional Officers: Personnel Issues and Training
  • Early Development: Punishment and Early Prisons
  • The Development of the Modern Correctional Facility
  • An Examination of Today's Inmate
  • Special Populations and Methods of Handling
  • Physical Plant and Classification
  • Key and Tool Control, Headcounts, Searches and Transportation
  • Interacting with Inmates
  • Avoiding Manipulation
  • Inmate Violence
  • The Rights of Inmates

The Correctional Officer is realistically written, features a glossary of commonly used corrections terms and has been updated in detail. Each chapter contains discussion questions to assist both the college instructor and corrections trainer. This book has the following goals:

  • To be a training resource for correctional agency training, to be used at the recruit and in service training levels so officers can improve their job skills
  • To provide insight into the history, philosophy and evolution of correctional systems
  • To provide to the correctional officer social, economical, vocational, educational and behavioral information about criminal offenders
  • To give information on maintaining positive traits and job skills that can enhance the career of the correctional officer

PowerPoint slides are available upon adoption. Sample slides from the full 622-slide presentation are available to view here.

The teaching materials also include a Test Bank available in Word and Blackboard formats. It is also available through Respondus. Please email for more information.

"The Correctional Officer is an excellent informational resource to new recruits in the Massachusetts Department of Correction Training Academy. The book provided an expanded view of corrections that's in sync with our philosophy and practices of training new Correctional Officers in the 21st Century. The introduction of this publication in the Recruit Training Program has reinforced a more collegial training environment that further complements our training model."

— William Dupre, Director of Staff Development, Massachusetts Department of Correction

"Gary has dedicated his life to training correctional officers, and he has put his heart and soul into this book in order to help all in the field of corrections. He has instructed at our training academy for many years and our officers have benefited immensely from his training. With this book, all in the corrections field who work with inmates can benefit from Gary's instruction and experience."

— Vince Ferrara, Executive Director Hampton Roads (VA) Criminal Justice Training Academy, retired

"What Cornelius has done is presented us with a very useful textbook. The new officer, the seasoned veteran, the pre-professional, the training instructor and the college instructor will all benefit from this straight forward work by one of corrections most honest and talented authors."

— Joe Bouchard,

"Mr. Cornelius has once again created a 'must have' piece of correctional literature for both seasoned correctional staff and new officers alike. This book meticulously outlines in detail all aspects of the roles correctional staff play within the criminal justice system. The Correctional Officer is indeed an excellent literary resource for correctional management and line staff."

— Sgt. Charles F. Porter, Assistant Director of Training, Western Tidewater Regional Jail

"In an industry that depends on its line staff, this updated edition is a valuable resource for new and aspiring officers, for trainers, and for the agency's recommended reading shelf. It is also appropriate for college-level educational programs and community libraries that focus on career options."

— American Jails

Comp Copy If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.