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Can You Become a Correctional Officer With A Felony?

Can you be a correctional officer with a felony? This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions on this website, which begs the question, why do so many people with felonies want to be correctional officers?

Regardless of the reasons behind their decision to become a correctional officer the question still remains, can it be done? Is it possible? If yes then great, if no then what can I do to start a career in corrections.

Ultimately, the answer to this question will vary from person to person and situation to situation. People can be charged with a felony for a variety of offenses, some could be years in the past stemming from someone’s youth, to something that occurred rather recently, it all depends on what was done and how it was handled, but the decision on whether or not you can be hired as a correctional officer will still remain in the hands of the department you are seeking employment.

The Bad News First

The common consensus among correctional officer hiring departments is that if you have a misdemeanor charge on your record that appears in your background check, depending on what you were charged with, you basically have a 50/50 chance of being hired, but this decision is solely at the discretion of the hiring managers of your prospective department. It all depends on the charge, and what has been done in the time since the offense. Basically, have you kept your nose clean since you got in trouble or are you still on the wrong side of the law.

In terms of having a felony charge, you are basically out of luck. Most departments view any felony charges as an automatic disqualifier in the hiring process for any correctional officer position regardless of what the charge or when it took place. Now I’ve heard some rumors that some private correctional facility operators would consider hiring a job applicant with a felony if a 5 year timeframe has taken place from the time of the offense. Again, to me this is just a rumor and something that I haven’t validated or verified. But it something worth trying if you are in this position, but there may a better first step you should take first.

The Good News

If the fact that you have a felony charge is the only thing that is barring you from gainful employment as a correctional officer and it is something that you truly what to do then there may be an option for you.

I’m not a lawyer and not in a position to give out legal advise but if you have a legal problem then why not seek out a legal solution, and what better way to do that is seek out the services of a felony defense attorney. With the help and assistance of a criminal defense lawyer, it may be possible that you can have your felony conviction expunged! Basically this means that it is removed from your record, never to haunt you again… Well maybe, who can hide there past from the NSA spying right?

But seriously, if you have your felony charge expunged from your record then what would keep you from becoming a correctional officer if you met all other requirements. Having a felony expunged is not an easy or quick process; generally there is a waiting period that must have passed before the process can be initiated, and also not all felonies can be expunged from your record, felonies related to crimes against minors or any sexually related charge would not or could not be expunged from someone’s criminal history.

So if you’re willing to do the research into finding a felony defense attorney that can assist you down this path and you stay the course until the end, then maybe one day you’ll be on your way to becoming a correctional officer.

52 Responses to Can You Become a Correctional Officer With A Felony?

  1. Adam. Holton April 16, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    I have worked at three correctional facilities since being released from a federal prison for three different states .I also started as a co when I quit I was a captain..I did so well I received the supervisor of the quarter before the quarter ended.I even caught several officers bringing in contraband drugs and cell phones .contact. me I will tell you more.

    • marco tjaden August 16, 2015 at 5:14 am #

      Hi Adam,

      How do I get a job as C.O.? I was also in a Federal Correctional Institute (Sheridan) for a drug offense.

    • shannon August 16, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

      I have a felony from when I was 18 I am now 23. I was not convicted and it can be sealed but not expunged. my original dream was to be an actual officer but that seems to be out the window but regardless I hope there is something in this field for me.

    • Jacque Keepit August 27, 2015 at 5:53 am #

      Im 38 and had my rights restored except to bare arms. I plan on getting that back as well. My felony was evade and elude in 2005. Do you think i have a chance?

    • Taylor clause August 27, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

      I have a felony that I was charged with in 2013 I was 18 at the time of the incident. It was a nonviolent offense, and to be honest I would love to be able to work as a co especially to show what a huge turn around people can make… Does the violent vs nonviolent make any difference?

    • Andre Billie August 30, 2015 at 8:42 am #

      So how did you go by starting the process? And how can I get in touch with you.

    • Joe September 21, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

      Tell me more where I can work as a correctional officer

      • amber April 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

        some examples most people tend to start out as a jail guard, before advancing to prisons or treatment centers. I would advise you to call your local sheriffs office. If you know anything about evidence based practices, you should pass an nterview. you just need to know what are risk factors, how do you interview offenders, and how do you build rapport with offenders.

    • Tee November 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

      Can you please help me do the same. Never been to prision I just have felonies that are 15+ years long

    • Marcos November 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      Before my incarceration in 2006 I was looking forward in becoming a co I was jailed for a year in tdcj released in 2008 kept my nose clean since then and still would love to persue a career in corrections. Will it be possible at this point? What would my chances be?

    • A. Martinez November 18, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

      Hey what states were those

    • Jimmy November 29, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

      Hello im very interested in knowing how i can be a correctional officer and clear my criminal record call or text me thanks

      • amber April 18, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

        you need to go to court and fill out an application to expunge your record.

    • Diana December 1, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

      How did you do it?

    • Kc December 4, 2015 at 3:48 am #

      Hello there,

      I have a exspunged domestic violence charge that is over 10 years old. I current tly work in aa prison as a contractor but would like to be a c.o. can you please give me some advice in this. Like should I disclose my exspunged record. I have worked for other states government agencies and haven’t has any problems.


    • Terell December 16, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

      I was convicted of a felony, forgery. It was in 2004. Do I have a chance to be a co, I use to be a Co back in 97

    • Derrick January 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi how are doing I wanted to know more about how you became a corrections officer with a felony I really need help I got felony at a young age at 16 to be exact an all Ive wanted to do my whole life was be in law enforcement an I made a really dumb mistake an I have to find a way to get my dream back this is the only career field I want to be in. I need all the information I can get I’m currently taking classes in criminal justice

    • Derick mcgriff February 24, 2016 at 5:47 am #

      Hi my name is Derick I’m trying to be a c/0 but have a felony.

    • Tovan malmberg February 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Hey thank you for your post help me if you can I have a with held agudication that 10 years old felony of course what should I do

    • Dan March 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

      Hey can you tell me how you became a correctional officer with a felony???

    • Eric March 8, 2016 at 8:57 am #

      I live in Maryland and have a misdemeanor charge 1999 (domestic). Do I have a chance of becoming a CO?

    • RJ April 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

      Adam, I would like to know how this was possible because I was certified as an adult at 16 and transferred to the county jail in 1995. I was sentenced to prison in 1996 and was released in 2005 completing my entire sentence since then I am now 37 I would like an opportunity to become a correctional officer.

    • Mary April 13, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

      Adam.. how can we contact you

    • Myeshia Crosby April 21, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

      Adam how to get the process started my husband was a correctional officer before but has a felony and loves to be one again but Alabama doesn’t expunge felony.

    • Daniel May 31, 2016 at 7:23 am #

      Hi I’ve had my right restored and my Gun rights also. I would like to know more about how you were able to enter the field.

    • Juno June 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      Adam, I live in Texas. Been TDCJ twice. Been clean and sober since 2012. Would like to know if it could been done.? I would be very interested.

    • Ian Flores June 24, 2016 at 9:54 am #

      Ian Flores I’m from Texas I was convicted of a feloney it was burglary of a habitation 2001. I also have discharging a fire arm , deadly conduct on my record in 2000 they were both dismissed I Also have two public intoxication . I have not been In trouble since served 8 years in the US Army as infantryman with two deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan earn the rank of SGT in charge of 4 to 8 soldiers honorably discharged. I’ve been applying to be a correction officer but keep getting denied. Can you help me out an tell me what I can do ?

    • Larry June 26, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

      My name is larry i got 2 felonies from 2008 ive doen time in a state prison.i was to be a c.o do you no any private prison or state prison that would give me a shot

    • xavier July 13, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

      I have an almost 6 year felony for larceny $400 from the state of Virginia, haven’t been in any trouble since, is it possible for me to be a CO in the state of Texas?

    • Syd July 14, 2016 at 8:59 am #

      so you were an ex convicted felon and got a job as a CO
      how did you accomplish this?

    • Ivory Jameson October 9, 2016 at 5:20 am #

      I have a felony about 14 ywars ago im almost 40 living in the state of florida gow do i get a job with corrections

    • Antonio October 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      My name is Antonio. I have a question I’m interested in become a correctional officer. I had a felony conviction 17 years ago. I obtain a certificate of relief and my security guard license. What are my chances

    • Van October 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      Hi Adam can you tell me the info to get started on trying to get back into the field , I was a co ,but got a charge did my little time but the dept let me go do I have a chance again .

    • David November 9, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

      I wanna be a prison guard. But have felonies. Help

    • Van January 11, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

      Can you tell me how you got the jobs

  2. Donnie Jones August 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

    About convicted felon

  3. Jason Scott November 17, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    I recently moved to California from Ohio. I have multiple felonies. However, Since my last conviction in 2005, I have been an over the road truck driver. I also have plans to finish my education. I believe that being a corrections officer is the career that I think would be the most beneficial for both me and the State of California. Can it be done??

  4. donna November 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    Hello I am a convicted felon and it was a drug charge.I’m so interested in becoming a co.I want to help other felons and to let them know I’ve been there I understand what they are going and not alone.I really want to be a co how can I do that?please tell me how?
    Thank you

  5. Kenneth H. January 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    I was convinced in 2010 and since then been out of trouble can I become a correctional officer it’s a class 4 felony

  6. Steve May 16, 2016 at 6:18 am #

    If you’ve been convicted of a felony-regardless of how minor you may think it is (as the article already states) you are pretty much out of luck for a job as a police officer and correctional officer. True, the conviction can be expunged but in many states you’re still dealing with agencies that have access to your convictions (even if they have in fact been expunged).

    So what I’m saying is this:

    Johnny runs from the police in his car after a night of drinking. He pleads no contest to felony eluding and gets a year in the pen and probation. This all happened in 2002. He then approaches the court and shows them that he has turned his life around and they agree to expunge the conviction, except for the right to bear arms (VERY difficult to overturn).

    Even though you have had the conviction expunged, your name is still in the correctional system as you were once an inmate. So while you may in fact have a (somewhat) cleared offense, there is a VERY good chance that the correctional institution/police department you’re applying to still knows about it.

    Lets put it this way: I’ve known very few police/correctional officers that have misdemeanor offenses (DUI, worthless checks). I know a LOT of officers by the way.

    I’ve never known a single one that has EVER been convicted of a felony (expunged or not). It’s just not the right career to be in with a criminal record. If you established at one point in your life that you don’t care about the justice system, they will remember it forever. Nothing you can do.

    • Lindsey July 9, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

      I have a procuring alcohol to a minor. Misdemeanor. Went to jail for a month. Resulted in probation. An that was last year. Some time down the road am I still able to become a c.o or anything in the field?

  7. hattie smith June 16, 2016 at 7:22 am #

    in 2011 I plead guilty to a m1 for bad check never did jail time just probation can I get a job as a co, I live in the state of pa

  8. Adam Holton June 17, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    To every one that replied This is Adam .I am so sorry about things one is since I wrote this I haven’t looked at the post I actually have started a correctional Sgt job very recent as a sgt.I hope someone sees this I can tell u what private prison companies that will . But u have to been out at least seven years

    • linda carter August 20, 2016 at 5:18 am #

      hi I have a question I apply for a correction officer job in my home town. so I pass my interview with a hand shake from the interviewer.saying he would give me a chance. so I then had to turn around and do a background check. what I want know I have thief by deception charge and foodstamp this all happen 21 year ago I haven’t been in any troubles I also work with a school system for 21 year ..but both were drop to a misdemeanor Do I have a chance in getting the job as a correction officer

    • Derek D. October 2, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

      Adam, Please let me know. I would be very Interested in finding out those private facilities. It’s been 7+ years for me. Thank you for your time and hope to hear from you shortly. I understand your busy life, so I would only require a small amount of time from you. Again thank you.

    • Greg Lombardo October 3, 2016 at 9:46 am #

      I live in NY and I have a felony grand larceny non violent (it was from the place I was working at) conviction that’s 9 years old. what can I do if I wanted to try to have a career as a correction officer

    • Yaya Brown October 17, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

      Adam Holton, please share the private companies that will hire. I got a felony at age 19 and I’m currently 35 my charge was back in Jan. 2000. I can get jobs at call centers and I’m honest about my felony, which I got probation for and was my first and only offense. I been fired from jobs after being there for a year or more because of my felony. Florida isn’t a forgiving state when it comes to felonies. All I did was use a (FUEL) credit card that my co-worker said it was okay to use for employees. It was a fuel card that sat on the counter of the Exxon mobile gas station we worked in. She said because we were employees we could use it for gas. Except I couldn’t ring up items or gas from my own register. She was 52 yrs. old already a felon from the chain gang in Georgia. I didn’t know this about her until the police arrested us both from our shift. At the Exxon gas station in Tampa, FL, I was so young and green but it was a lesson learned. My public defender also steered me wrong and told me if I plead guilty. Since it was my first offense that the charge would be on my record. (WHAT A FUCKIN’ LIAR) I didn’t know the law because I wasn’t getting into trouble like that. I can’t even get this expunged or sealed because I plead guilty. Please give me any info on what prison hire CO’s in any state please.

    • Brittany Morais December 30, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      Can you please give me a list of some private companies that will .

      • Van January 11, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

        Did you ever find out the hiring agencies

    • Van January 11, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

      Can you tell me how you got the jobs
      What agencies will hire
      I never did time , I was a CO , and got caught up with another Deputy he went to prison , I only did jail time but I want my old status back

  9. linda carter August 20, 2016 at 5:31 am #

    TO ADD TO MY QUESTION I’m 55 now but at the time of my incident I were around 26 year old

  10. gi_wil November 8, 2016 at 9:42 am #

    Hey if its your goal in life to become a Correctional Officer go for it. I’m going on 8 yrs. I can tell you why I think so many felons turn around and want to apply for this position. Basically they live where we work they see the plus and negatives of this career. Some feel they can do a better job since they understand the system from the other side. thankfully i have not been arrested so I don’t know what it is to be a felon except for what I see day in day out at work. This job can be one of the best paying jobs in the market. Its easy and to be truthful most of the time your waking around or seating watching group activity. But don’t be fool the day things turn bad it gets really bad fast. you can get seriously hurt or even lose your life behind that wall. its why I believe we get a high rate. unfortunately most private correctional facility don;t pay so high so the are willing to settle for less qualify applicants causing even more risk to those behind bars as well as those who have to work in this environment. At my facility its roughly a 95% military higher. one word of advice if your thinking of becoming a Correctional Officer do it to help those behind bars not inflict more reason to leave and return to a life of crime. Mainly inmates who are between 18 thru 29 who will be returning to our communities.