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  • Work in a prison or jail?

    Hello fellow C/O's and Deputy Jailers. I have a question for those of you who have worked in both state prisons and county jails. Which do you prefer and why? I'm currently with the state, but I've interviewed and likely making the move over to county. Just curious on thoughts and opinions. Thanks
    “Sweat saves blood, blood saves lives, but brains saves both.” - Erwin Rommel

  • #2
    I think you'll like county over state. I did many years in my state prison system before lateralling to county and have since moved on. From my personal experience, my county jail was ran better than the prison. We had a command staff that worked the line whereas in prison, the admin staff were there because of their education and not professional experience. Therefore, prison was ran like a business and not how a law enforcement agency should. This caused extremely low morale in staff.

    Also, in my area, jails pay substantially more than the prison system. It's not uncommon to find county and city jails that pay similar to PDs ($32-$35/hr). The hiring processes are just as stringent so the quality of my peers are way better than it was at my state.

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    • #3
      Carramrod, what area do you live in? Just curious because most sheriffs offices here in the state of georgia pay atleast $6-7k annually more than the state prison system. Not to mention that with the county jail you can move out of custody and get "on the road". Also, the state prisons system has a high turnover rate as a result of the low pay.

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      • #4
        I spent 30 yrs working in a State Penitentiary....................it not only paid VERY well but provided me with a pension that allows me to do whatever I want now. The DOC in Iowa pays MUCH more than most county jails

        County jailers are not in the track to go out on the road-----------------unless they are at one of the 4 or 5 larger counties that hire deputies to work in the jail

        I work part time for a sheriff's office and work in their jail occasionally and I worked as a deputy in one of those larger counties for a while and worked in that jail many hears ago.


        In reality you can not compare the two jobs as they are similar but not alike..................you have different duties as a jailer than as a Prison Correctional Officer as well as having a different TYPE of clientele (they might be the same people---I had inmates that I supervised in both county jail and prison AND a couple that I supervised in prison that I ARRESTED as a cop) but they have different rights, responsibility and "duties" in each of their roles.
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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        • #5
          I'm in Western Washington. Washington State DOC wages are terrible compared to county and city jails. DOC pay ranges from $40k-$50k a year whereas cities and counties in the Puget Sound metro area are around $48k-$70k a year not to mention better benefits. Retirement system is the same however. As you move further away from the metro area, the wages slide a little but are still better than the DOC.

          As for going to the road, it's no guarantee but I believe it's easier. The jails that are under the control of the sheriff's office or police department typically have the same exact hiring standards as for the patrol side. So if you can get on in the jail, more than likely you'll be able to go to the road however you still have to complete the civil service process again for the LEO position.

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          • #6
            Things are different everywhere..........................
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
              Things are different everywhere..........................
              Im glad to hear that IOWA paid well. Here in Georgia the pay is so low that it costs several million dollars a year to train and replace correction officers due to turnover. http://wabe.org/post/low-wages-fuel-high-turnover-state-corrections-officers

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dox1842 View Post
                Im glad to hear that IOWA paid well. Here in Georgia the pay is so low that it costs several million dollars a year to train and replace correction officers due to turnover. http://wabe.org/post/low-wages-fuel-high-turnover-state-corrections-officers
                Iowa starts at about $34,900 and tops out just below $60,000 after 9 yrs. That is quite comfortable for the cost of living up here.

                It is also above the average for most cop jobs in the state------------------but we still have high turnover
                Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                  Iowa starts at about $34,900 and tops out just below $60,000 after 9 yrs. That is quite comfortable for the cost of living up here.

                  It is also above the average for most cop jobs in the state------------------but we still have high turnover
                  Thats weird. At the federal level there is turnover but it seems very minimal. Just curious, is the IOWA DOC unionized?

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                  • #10
                    I haven't worked DOC but I deal with many parole violators being held pending their hearings., We have a contract with the state to hold their PVs. Our jail currently has 150ish inmates, probably 140 of those are PVs.

                    Seeing the attitude and expectations the PVs, all of whom have done time in DOC, have regarding their "rights" and the "ARs" (DOC administrative regulations) leads me to believe I wouldn't do well in DOC. Fortunately they aren't considered DOC clients in our jail, they're just jail inmates, and we can regularly tell them to **** off.
                    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dox1842 View Post
                      Thats weird. At the federal level there is turnover but it seems very minimal. Just curious, is the IOWA DOC unionized?
                      Yes-------



                      There is nothing weird about it. Working in a prison is not an optimum job and MOST people can't or don't want to do the job. The $$$$$$$ looks good and they hire on, but find out soon that it's not for them.


                      The BOP is really quite different----------------------you have to almost MOVE to a place to work for the FED which tends to make the person want to really give the profession a shot a bit longer. Promotions and moving to other jobs (outside of security) seems to be a bit easier than in the DOC.

                      Personally I don't think I could put up with the politics I hear about in the BOP..........but that's me
                      Last edited by Iowa #1603; 11-23-2014, 11:54 AM.
                      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Turnover in WADOC is extremely high as well. It's hard to retain people when they only pay $20/hr and it's even harder to find quality applicants. For every 10 people they roll in, 1 or 2 may be squared away. That's a scary reality. Glad I'm not there any more.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CarRamRod View Post
                          I think you'll like county over state. I did many years in my state prison system before lateralling to county and have since moved on. From my personal experience, my county jail was ran better than the prison. We had a command staff that worked the line whereas in prison, the admin staff were there because of their education and not professional experience. Therefore, prison was ran like a business and not how a law enforcement agency should. This caused extremely low morale in staff.

                          Also, in my area, jails pay substantially more than the prison system. It's not uncommon to find county and city jails that pay similar to PDs ($32-$35/hr). The hiring processes are just as stringent so the quality of my peers are way better than it was at my state.
                          I was maxed out in WADOC for 5 years at $3,774 per month. I switched to BOP and my starting base pay was more than I made in WADOC, two years later and I make about what a maxed out Correctional Specialist 4 or midway up the WMS Band 1 (LT and CUS).

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                          • #14
                            When I lateraled to a county jail, my pay was almost equal to what a lieutenant at WADOC made and I still had 3 step increases to go.

                            OP- did you end up making the jump to county?

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