Custody officer job description

Updated April 17, 2017

Custody officers are civilians who work at city jails or other correctional institutions. These individuals monitor the prison population and help process new inmates into the facility.


Custody officers process new inmates through the confiscation and tagging of their personal property. They fingerprint new arrivals, prepare reports and court documents, provide meals, maintain security and search prisoners for illegal items.

Education and Experience

Candidates must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most employers prefer that applicants have at least one year's experience in law enforcement, riot control or a similar field.

Other Requirements

According to a Snohomish County, Washington, job description, prospective custody officers must pass a criminal background check as well as physical and psychological examinations. On a yearly basis, employees must meet the qualifications for using firearms.

Work Environment

Many custody officers work in maximum-security facilities where potentially violent inmates are housed. Individuals may be required to work nights and weekends and are expected to be on call as needed.

Compensation Package

Although salaries vary, some facilities, such as in Inglewood, California, offer candidates an average starting salary of at least £20,280 annually, with yearly raises, paid health insurance, sick days and vacation time as fringe benefits.

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About the Author

Hailing from Northwest Arkansas, Al Vick has been writing environmental and political material for more than 20 years and is the author of several short stories. He has been published in the "Ozark Gazette" and "Online Journal" and holds an associate degree in arts from Rhode Island Junior College.