The company culture pushed on new hires talks about rehabilitation for inmates and investing in training for employees. Safety is mentioned quite a bit which would be expected for corrections. The reality is that the company is very much all about saving money.
Support from management
Depended on the manager but I lucked out with the shift manager that I had.
Mixed. Some of the people are in it for 'just a job', a few are in it for a career, and then a few are in it for personal reasons (power/illicit transactions with inmates). Usually teamwork was pretty good between the unit officers and fairly good with first line supervisors/officers.
Freedom to work independently
The work was designed so that you worked with another officer either in the pod or in the control booth.
Women well-represented among top positions (Warden/Captain/etc.)
CCA has some wicked high turnover so there are frequently career opportunities. It's a pretty large company as well. There are Wardens all over the company who started out their careers as corrections officers so internal promotions do happen.
If you are willing to stick around, do decent work, and want to make a career there then moving up should not be difficult.
Overall compensation for your work
You won't get rich working in private corrections.
If you want to get rich working in corrections, go work for the Feds or state owned facilities.
Office / Work Environment
Office was fine but it's a prison so yeah the work environment is what can be expected.
Just no. 12-hour shifts working either 7a-7p or 7p-7a. If someone called off, then surprise, last minute you were going to end up staying 4 hours over so you get a nice 16-hour workday. Unlike a lot of other states, TN has no labor laws that forbid employees from being forced to work a 16-hour day.
Er, not so good lately. There's a segment of people who don't care for prisons that are for-profit, and CCA has also come under fire for understaffing practices.
It's secure. The U.S. locks 'em up at an incredible rate.
Injuries occurred from simple slip/fall accidents to people accidentally slamming their finger in the pod doors. There also were several assaults on officers by inmates. If I had my choice between working with inmates and working in a factory full of large, dangerous machinery--I'll take the factory full of large dangerous machines. The machines can't chase after you and assault you...
It's not like what people see on shows like "Lock Up" or other documentaries that show fights happening constantly between inmates. Much of the time, you are standing and watching inmates or standing in the hallway guiding movement.
Inmates have a lot of time on their hands and so have a lot of time to THINK. Certain cell blocks house rougher crowds than others and they can be more challenging in terms of keeping the inmates in the pod, asserting yourself, and conducting cell searches.
I was a "floater" and rotated to various units--the easiest were the honor pods with well-behaved inmates who were no problem at all. I also spent time in the mental health pod (no major issues). The only issue I had there was when I was in one of the rough pods and had an inmate who refused to go into his cell for nightly lockdown (bedtime).
Inclusive / Diverse
Workforce was very diverse and the company is listed as a top workplace for veterans.
Suggestions for improvement
- It's great that the company is willing to hire people who don't have a corrections background but one thing that is missing in their orientation is information on dealing with common issues with inmates. The company should also spend more time on safety and look at where improvements could be made.
What I like about the company
Company did a good job with workplace diversity and had good programs for inmates.
What I dislike about the company
Often took the word of inmates over employees, co-workers who were involved in illicit business with inmates, low compensation, long hours.