Employment of correctional officers and bailiffs is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Correctional officers will continue to be needed to watch over the U.S. prison population. Most states are projecting that they will have more prisoners in the future. However, changes to criminal laws can have a large effect on how many people are arrested and incarcerated each year.
Faced with high costs for keeping people in prison, many state governments have moved toward laws requiring shorter prison terms and alternatives to prison. While keeping the public safe, community-based programs designed to rehabilitate prisoners and limit their risk of repeated offenses may also reduce prisoner counts.
Bailiffs will continue to be needed to keep order in courtrooms.
Job prospects should be good as some local and state corrections agencies experience high job turnover. The need to replace correctional officers who retire, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force—coupled with rising employment demand—should generate job openings.
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Law enforcement workers
Correctional officers and bailiffs
Correctional officers and jailers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program