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National Correctional Officer's Week – May 4-10, 2025

We celebrate National Correctional Officers Week in the first week of May — from May 4 to 10 this year. Former President Ronald Reagan established this week on May 5, 1984. He saw the need to create a week for correctional officers to thank them for their services and celebrate their contributions to society. Often, they are to make sure the court orders are seen through and implemented. During this week, various U.S. agencies honor correctional officers in our jails, prisons, and community correctional facilities by organizing different programs for them.

History of National Correctional Officer's Week

Back in 1871, prison staff was minimal. At the time, the Colorado Territorial Prison employed just one warden and six guards who were known as ‘turnkeys,’ since their jobs were primarily locking and unlocking the prisoners’ cells. This position paid about $25 per month and required no education or physical competency. For many years, the turnkeys were not very serious about their role since it demanded little from them. They rarely wore the proper uniform or maintained a professional appearance in front of the inmates.

In the 1940s, the prison budget increased while the large prison population decreased. This allowed prison administrators to broaden their expectations of correctional officers and make their jobs more interdisciplinary. Correctional officers began to be more professional and specialized.

In the 1950s, prison institutions became less intense and inmate programs reoriented with a rehabilitative philosophy. Penitentiaries came to be called correctional institutions, and prison guards became correctional officers. Correctional officers received a hike in their pay grade, a professional work environment, and advanced training to perform better in their careers.

In the 1990s, with the increase in the prison population, correctional institutions neglected their rehabilitation and their treatment was severe. Several institutions came under attack by the public for civil rights breaches and the ineffective treatment of their inmates. Correctional officers were also criticized for their ineptitude in dealing with overcrowding. As a response to this, correctional institutions altered their training modules again and emphasized professionalism in the correctional officers.

National Correctional Officer's Week timeline

2040 B.C.
The Earliest Jail Systems

The Egyptians introduce the earliest known jailing systems.

Correctional Institutions are Introduced

The facilities housing prisoners change from large rooms to vast correctional housing systems, focusing on rehabilitation, not only incarceration.

A Change in the Punishment System

The method of punishment is changed from corporal to psychological punishment, hard labor, and transportation.

The Week is Established

President Ronald Reagan establishes National Correctional Officer's Week on May 5.

National Correctional Officer's Week FAQs

What disqualifies you from becoming a correctional officer?

Having a criminal record disqualifies you from becoming a correctional officer.

Are correctional officers cops?

Yes. Correctional officers are law enforcement officers.

Do correctional officers carry firearms?

No, most correctional officers do not carry guns. However, at federal medium and maximum security institutions, they are required to carry firearms.

How to Observe National Correctional Officer's Week

  1. Send a thank-you card

    It takes nothing to say a small thank you. Let your local correctional officer know that their work matters.

  2. Read up about the role

    If you find this job interesting, the best way to start is by reading up about what the profession entails. Find your nearest library or browse the internet for more knowledge about the role.

  3. Tweet about it

    Show how much you appreciate correctional officers by tweeting about them every single day of the week. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #NationalCorrectionalOfficersWeek!

5 Facts About Correctional Officers

  1. They need a high school diploma

    A high school diploma is a minimum requirement to apply as a correctional officer.

  2. They go through training before employment

    They are trained at an academy run by the hiring agency or a private company where they learn prison policies, operations, and security procedures.

  3. Most officers average $43,300 a year

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up until May 2011, most correctional officers made about $43,300 a year.

  4. The highest salary was $69,840 per year

    The highest compensation received by correctional officers was about $69,840 per year in New Jersey.

  5. A 5% increase in job prospects

    Study reports reveal a 5% increase in jobs for correctional officers in the future because of population growth.

Why National Correctional Officer's Week is Important

  1. They do important work

    Correctional officers help keep our community safe. They also help rehabilitate offenders.

  2. We celebrate their contribution

    It is crucial for us to celebrate the efforts of correctional officers. They play an important role in keeping order within the facilities.

  3. It is an unseen public service

    Since correctional officers’ place of work is in a secure and private location, we often don’t see them as part of our public life. However, it is important to remember that they play a big role in ensuring public safety.

National Correctional Officer's Week dates

2022May 1Sunday
2023May 7Sunday
2024May 5Sunday
2025May 4Sunday
2026May 3Sunday

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