5 Essential Training Topics for Correctional Officers

Most correctional officers receive a lot of training before starting their careers, but knowledge and skills have a way of degrading over time. Corrections is also a constantly evolving environment, with new risks being introduced each year. To stay safe, remain up to date and limit liability, correctional officers need to keep training.

Following are five essential corrections training topics from CorrectionsOne Academy.

1. Contraband Control

Contraband control training should include:


2. Mental Illness & Suicide Prevention in Jails

Such training should include:

  • Recognizing the signs of a suicidal inmate
  • Proper procedures for reporting inmates who may be suicidal or experiencing mental health issue
  • How to use inmate screening and classification to identify inmates with mental illness or other disabilities
  • How the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to jails
  • Techniques for handling and interacting with inmates with mental illness
  • Identification and understanding of mental disorders and various classes of psychiatric medications


3. Officer Mental Health

Correctional leaders can help their staff prepare for the stresses of the job by recognizing when they need assistance and providing resources to help them process traumatic incidents. Behavioral health interventions have proven successful for many first responders. Correctional officers should train frequently on the following topics:

  • Managing stress and anxiety and promoting resiliency
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • The importance of sleep
  • Recognizing and preventing burnout
  • Suicide prevention


4. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

It’s not uncommon for correctional personnel, even leadership, to regard PREA compliance as voluntary. This attitude stems from the fact that there are few current legal sanctions for noncompliance. But failure to comply with PREA standards designed to protect inmates and staff from exploitation, harassment and sexual abuse poses a significant risk to officers and facilities.

PREA training for staff is a necessity and should include:


5. Staff and Inmate Contact

Correctional officers must train constantly on the proper policies and procedures for inmate and staff contact. This training should cover: