What it means to be a correctional officer varies depending on what type of prison you work in and what type of person you are. It is easier to work with adults than juvililes. It is easier to work with women than men. Easier also means less challenging so some find the easier populations boring. Some people find being a correctional officer to be very stressful while others enjoy it and hope to be a positive influence on offenders. Personally I found working with maximum security juvinile boys to be highly rewarding and medium security women boring. If you choose to go into corrections there is a great possibility for advancement and even those at entry level get plenty of practice with leadership skills. The greatest dangers a correctional officer faces are to allow those with negative attitudes to be influencial and to neglect security procedures. Just because something horrible hasn't happened doesn't mean it wont and cutting corners or being to relaxed puts others at risk.
Select what level of prison security you would feel comfortable working in..minium, moderate or maxium. Speak with officers of the prison. go in understanding that the inmates DO run the prison. Be prepared to work strange hours and face unusual situations. I would chose this career again. I would of started at a younger age.