The vast majority of correctional officers work for the government. Most of the remainder are employed by private companies that provide correctional services to prisons and jails. Working in a correctional institution can be stressful and dangerous. Every year, correctional officers are injured in confrontations with inmates. Correctional officers have one of the highest rates of nonfatal on-the-job injuries.
Correctional officers may work indoors or outdoors. Some correctional institutions are well lighted, temperature controlled, and ventilated, but others are old, overcrowded, hot, and noisy. Because offenders typically stay longer in federal prisons than in county jails, correctional officers in prisons come to know the people with whom they are dealing. They know what they need in terms of security and being taken care of. Therefore, federal prisons tend to be safer places to work than county jails.