What Does a Prison Security Guard Do?

What Does a Prison Security Guard Do?

Being a security guard is a challenging job and working in a prison makes your job even more complex.

So before deciding if this career is right for you, it’s best to gather as much information as you can.

To work in a prison, you need to be in stellar physical and mental condition because you will face challenging situations every day.

The ability to work and to react to stressful situations is essential in keeping you safe.

Your main responsibility as a prison security guard will be to make sure that order is maintained on the premises.

To do this you will need rigorous physical training and great observation and interpersonal skills.

Before you start preparing for this profession make sure you know what you should expect.


Job Responsibilities

Security guards have to make sure that inmates follow the prison rules.

They check for illegal firearms, break up fights, transport inmates, and take them to the medical facilities when sick or injured.

When a crisis occurs, security guards must keep their calm but at the same time, they have to act quickly and carefully to ensure that no one is injured and to minimize the damage done.

prison guard tower

Application Requirements

Application requirements vary depending on the state where you seek employment but also on the place of employment.

To qualify for a security guard position, you must be at least 18 years of age and you must be a U.S. citizen.

Some states also regulate an age maximum

A driver’s license may also be required.

As a security guard, you need a clean criminal record

Because requirements vary depending on many factors, it’s best to contact the correctional facility where you want to work before you embark on this journey.

The Application Process

The application process usually includes answering many questions during several interview sessions.

You will also have to undergo a background check because you cannot have a criminal record if you want a career as a security guard.

A personality test may also be needed.

Salary Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for correctional officers and jailers was $45,180 as of May 2019 with salaries ranging between less than $31,740 and more than 78,090.

Salaries vary depending on many factors including your level of experience and the region of employment.


The process of becoming a security guard in a prison is a lengthy one but if you have the skills necessary for the job this can lead to a long and rewarding career.

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