The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) is responsible for the care and custody of over 23,000 inmates in 25 correctional facilities across the state. The department is also responsible for overseeing community corrections programs that serve over 11,000 offenders each year. The DPSCS employs over 3,800 people, making it one of the largest employers in the state.
The DPSCS is committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for its employees. The DPSCS also provides training and support to ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their jobs effectively. Employees enjoy excellent benefits, including health insurance, pension plans, and paid leave. The department also offers opportunities for career advancement.
WHAT DOES A MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL OFFICER DO
A Maryland Correctional Officer oversees the day-to-day operations of a correctional facility. They ensure that inmates are following the rules and regulations of the facility, and they also work to maintain a safe and secure environment. Officers typically have a very demanding job, and they often work long hours. Examples of duties include:
- Responsible and accountable for immediate supervision, custody, care, and control of inmates.
- Respond to emergency situations within the facility.
- Respond to the needs, requests, and complaints of the inmate population.
- Gather information and prepare written documentation and agency reports.
- Conduct facility security and inspections.
- Use various security devices.
- Attend roll-call and various training sessions.
- Maintain proper care and maintenance of uniforms and equipment.
- Perform other job-related duties as required.
BECOMING A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER IN MARYLAND
In order to become a Correctional Officer in Maryland, candidates must first complete a written exam. Those who pass the written exam will then be invited to participate in an oral interview.
Minimum qualifications for a Correctional Officer position include:
- Graduation from a high school recognized by the Maryland State Board of Education or possession of a GED certificate recognized by the Maryland State Board of Education.
- Must have a valid Class D or Class C non-commercial driver’s license with no more than three (3) points and a relatively clean driving record. No convictions for DUI/DWI.
- Must have no criminal convictions on record.
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
- Ability to interact effectively with inmates, the public, and criminal justice agencies.
- Ability to maintain composure and demonstrate appropriate restraint in stressful and dangerous situations while maintaining a professional demeanor.
- Ability to adapt to changes in working conditions.
- Ability to establish and maintain working relationships with co-workers and supervisors.
- Ability to communicate effectively.
- Ability to read and follow directions both in written and oral form.
- Must be 18 years of age or older and a US citizen with 10 years of verifiable US residency.
- Must attend an information session.
- Must pass a comprehensive background investigation and criminal record check; medical exam and drug/alcohol screening; polygraph exam and psychological screening.
- Must provide handwriting sample for review.
- Must appear before and receive a favorable recommendation from the Oral Interview Board.
- Visible tattoos are permitted if they are not offensive, indecent, extremist, racist, or sexist. No visible tattoos will be permitted on the hands, face, head, or neck. An exception is one ring band on a finger.
- Must possess a history and exhibit the characteristics of honesty, integrity, reliability, and good interpersonal skills. Any criminal conviction(s) and/or arrest(s) may be grounds for disqualification.
MARYLAND EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS
As a condition of your employment, you must be certified by the MD Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC). The Correctional Entry Level Training Program is a paid seven-week program at one of the regional academies.
The training will include, but is not limited to the following areas:
- Classroom Instruction on topics including:
- Professionalism and Ethics
- Inmate Manipulation
- Report writing
- Legal aspect
- Sexual harassment awareness
- Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
- Effective communication skills
- Crisis De-escalation
- Understanding mental health
- Disturbance Control
- Use of Chemical Agents
- Defensive Tactics
- CPR and First Aid
- Physical Training
- Firearms Training
Successful completion of the academy will require studying, working as a team, maintaining your physical wellness, and having a strong desire to succeed. You will need to be prepared both mentally and physically for the challenge. Instructors and academy staff will work with you to help you succeed and study time after class is available. You are entering the academy to become a Corrections Professional. Success or failure is determined by you, and the academy provides the tools for you to succeed.
OPTIONAL PATH TO CERTIFICATION
The Maryland DPSCS will consider prior law enforcement experience and certification upon application.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEGREES
Having a bachelor’s degree can lead to additional career opportunities as a Maryland Correctional Officer, but it is not a requirement to be qualified.
Some Criminology or Criminal Justice Programs in Maryland include:
University of Maryland: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Towson University: Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Frostburg State University: Criminal Justice Concentration
MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL OFFICER SALARY
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Maryland as $52,870.
Newly hired correctional officers receive $2000 after successfully concluding their training at the academy and $3000 after the successful completion of their probationary period. Other benefits include:
Paid Time Off (Leave)
- Annual Leave: Starts accruing at 10 days per year
- Sick Leave: Accrues at 15 days per year
- Personal Days: Accrues 48 hours at the beginning of the year
- State Holidays: Entitled to 11 days (12 days during election years)
- Parental Leave
- Compensatory Time
- Leave Bank
- Medical, prescription, dental, and vision coverage
- Life, accidental death, and dismemberment insurance plans at low group rates
- Flexible Spending Accounts
- Health Spending Account
- Dependent Care Spending Account
Correctional Officers’ Retirement System
- Mandatory contribution of 5%
- Vests after 10 years
- Normal service retirement after 20 years of service
- Student Loan Repayment/Forgiveness Programs
- Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER JOB PROSPECTS
There are many job prospects for correctional officers in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is always looking for qualified individuals to work as correctional officers in its various facilities. The department offers competitive salaries and excellent benefits, including healthcare and retirement plans. There are also many opportunities for advancement within the department for those who demonstrate excellence in their job performance.