Correctional Officer Job Outlook

There are currently an estimated 450,000 Correctional Officers in the United States. The Correctional Officer job market is expected to shrink by -7.7% between 2016 and 2026.

Correctional Officer Employability Rating

C Sokanu rates Correctional Officers with a C employability rating, meaning this career should provide moderate employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will lose -30,000 Correctional Officers. That number is based on the retirement of 4,500 existing Correctional Officers.

Demand for Correctional Officers

Two recurring factors are expected to generate job opportunities and demand for correctional officers in the United States. Firstly, the stresses of the job signify a continued high turnover, which results in openings for new workers. Secondly, despite the current downward trend in crime nationwide, some criminologists predict that population growth will lead to increased criminal behaviour and rising rates of incarceration. In addition, mandatory sentencing guidelines are lengthening sentences, reducing parole, and further augmenting prisoner numbers. Faced with overcrowded facilities and the growing cost of keeping people in prison, however, some state governments are considering moving toward laws requiring shorter sentences and community-based rehabilitation alternatives to prison. As these voluntary initiatives are launched, prison populations may decline, along with the number of needed correctional officers. State budgetary constraints are causing public authorities to outsource jobs in the field to private companies that operate and staff corrections facilities. If these decisions emerge as a trend, the private sector may hire more correctional officers than governments. Though limited budgets will continue to be an issue in both state and local prisons, the overall job outlook for correctional officers remains relatively optimistic. The inherent stress of the job ensures that the high rate of turnover will not significantly change. And while offender rehabilitation programs are to be lauded and will likely achieve some positive results, the American prison system will consistently require and welcome qualified applicants.

Supply of Correctional Officers

The Correctional Officer industry is not particularly concentrated in any state.

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