What Is the Difference Between a Parole Officer & a Correction Officer?

by Carole Ann

While a parole officer and a correction officer both work with and monitor individuals who have broken the law, their duties are quite different. A correction officer is responsible for watching the individuals while they are in jail waiting for trial, after they have been convicted and are serving time for their offense. A parole office oversees the individual after they have been released and are required to be under supervision for a period of time.

Accountability

A correction officer must sustain security among the inmates and prevent disorder among them. A parole officer meets with the individual on a regular basis following their release to make certain they are not in violation of their probation.

Authority

A correctional officer has authority over the inmates inside the jail or penitentiary, but no authority outside of the institution. A parole officer has authority over the individual in terms of reporting their compliance with their probation and has the authority to recommend their return to jail if they are in violation.

Responsibility

A correction officer is responsible only for the inmates and making reports regarding their conduct, work completed and other activities. A parole officer works with the parolee as well as their family, community organizations and local residents to ensure their compliance.

Restraint

A correction officer may be in situations where it is necessary to restrain the prisoners. A parole officer works with the individual but is not responsible for detaining them in any way. Their responsibility is to make reports and recommendations to authorities responsible for making the arrest if necessary.

Work Environment

The work environment for both the correction officer and parole officer is very stressful and may be dangerous. The correction officer is working directly with prisoners throughout their day and situations may arise that result in confrontation and injury. The parole officer may also be in dangerous situations, but they are dealing with one individual at a time and their entire day is not usually spent in such conditions.

Education and Training

A correction officer position requires a high school diploma or equivalency and in some prisons, a bachelor's degree is required along with three years of experience. A parole officer position usually requires a bachelor's degree in a criminal justice or related field. In some cases a master's degree is required for those who have no experience. Most institutions provide training for both correction officers and parole officers.

Salary

Salaries are somewhat comparable between the two positions with the parole officer earning slightly more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of a correction officer in May 2006 was $35,760, while the median annual earnings of a parole officer in May 2006 was $42,500.

Photo Credits

  • Microsoft Clip Art