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Career Profile: Prison Warden


Prison wardens are head administrators of adult correctional facilities. They manage the day-to-day operations of correctional facilities or prison, ensuring that specific laws and regulations are strictly enforced. Wardens are responsible in supervising public funds, securing public safety, and meeting the needs of thousands of people housed in a complex institution. Prison wardens also keep the prisoners secure within the facilities.

Prison wardens should meet the required educational and work experience. A college degree in law enforcement, corrections, criminal justice, or psychology is usually required, but courses in administration, business and law are also helpful. Wardens begin their careers as a corrections officer or probation officer. After acquiring the required education, experience, and training, correction officers can advance to the position of warden.

Wardens are trained both in administration and law enforcement. They should also have experience in management or administration in other jobs, even outside the law enforcement field. A background in law enforcement and experience as a police officer, investigator or criminologist is beneficial when working your way up to prison warden.

The National Institute of Corrections offers training for wardens to make them ready for the basic institutional and administrative institutional skills to efficiently manage a prison. There are different stages of training necessary, starting with fundamental supervisor course, a bachelor's degree or equivalent to 100 hours of management and organization training. A master's degree in supervision or administration is also required, or an equivalent of 50 hours of supervision and management training, in addition to other supplementary trainings and programs. Furthermore, it is also required for the prison warden to render an annual minimum of 40 hours for additional on-the-job training to keep the certificate.

How does a prison warden spend his workday?
  • A prison warden usually starts his day with a staff meeting to know what happened while he was out of the office.
  • During the meeting, the warden also notes any concerns or problems of the inmates that needs to be addressed, such as the transfer of an inmate to another facility.
  • He visits cell blocks or inmate housing units.
  • He makes sure that prisoners are provided with their needs, such as food, clothes, and programs.
  • Wardens also make phone calls to the family of an inmate or take calls from anxious crime victims who ask for updates on the status of the prisoner.
  • Wardens also coordinate the death sentence of an inmate. He provides the inmate with a chaplain, the last meal, and other rights in accordance with the law. He also supervises the training session how to carry out the death procedure to make sure there will be no mistakes are made while performing the sentence.

Average salaries of prison wardens vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits. Prison wardens make a starting salary of $43,000 per year. This salary will continue to increase as wardens gain more experience and years of service. Some wardens of large prison systems make over $100,000 per year.

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Criminal Psychology and Rehabilitation

The study of criminal psychology, also called forensic psychology, focuses on the study of the thoughts, intentions, motivations, and reactions of lawbreakers. It does not only study the reasons why people commit criminal acts, but also their reactions after doing the crime, either in court or fugitive.

Criminal psychologists develop psychological profiles of perpetrators to help police understand the nature, patterns and motives of criminals. They study the childhood background of serial killers, the psychological pressures people experience that led them to rob banks to solve their financial problems. They are also concerned in the methods how criminals deal with the outcome of a crime, including criminals who decide to run or misbehave in court.

The perceptions of criminal psychologists are important in investigating a criminal. They can also make use of the diverse clues to obtain a clear and deep perception into the type of crime and the individual who executed it. Similarly, criminal psychologists also look at the profile of the victims the offender chooses, derive inferences about the criminal and possibly figure the target victims from their profiles.


Criminal psychologists often testify in court cases to assist the judges understand the mentality of the offender. A criminal psychology expert may be asked requested to observe or partake in the questioning and cross-examination of a crime suspect or to work together with the offended party to collect information. He can also collect psychological evidences from circumstances at the scene of the crime or the criminal's home, and propose places of search, which may satisfy the investigators.

Many criminal psychologists concentrate on working with juvenile delinquents or criminal victims. They generally have degrees in child psychology, and pursued further training in forensic psychology and criminology. These children may be their patients in a clinical practice. Criminal psychologists testify in court about child criminals, or suggest support to criminal examinations and inquiries involving children.

Criminal rehabilitation aims to lessen unlawful recidivism. In fact, it is the most cost-efficient form of crime prevention. Education is one of the means to successfully rehabilitate a criminal. The society is educated as a whole to uphold the significance of guarding the laws and guarantee that there is less prejudice against former prisoners. It ensures that former criminals have fewer tendencies to go back to a life of misconduct.

Education is also recommended to let the prisoners to improve and stay important to the changing world beyond the prison walls. In criminal rehabilitation, inmates are given the privilege to boost their knowledge because studies show that a lot of inmates do not have fundamental grade school education. This severely hinders their success of getting jobs; thus, they turn to criminal lives. Basic criminal rehabilitation courses ensure that inmates who signed up for the program have a standard level of literacy.

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