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.