What Does a Prison Warden Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More


Prison wardens are excessive-ranking officials who oversee prisons. They are liable for the secure, secure, and efficient operation of prisons. They additionally oversee all prison team of workers to make certain proper and consistent adherence to all applicable legal guidelines, rules, requirements, and facility-unique rules.

Prison wardens are employed at all ranges of government and the non-public sector. They paintings in the Bureau of Prisons within the U.S. Department of Justice, state prisons, and private prisons that agreement with states. City and county governments perform jails. Jail wardens do the equal job as jail wardens, however the facilities have extraordinary populations. Jails maintain human beings serving brief sentences and people anticipating trial, at the same time as prisons house inmates with lengthier sentences.

In their every day work, prison wardens see individuals who are within the lowest times in their lives. Many inmates do not rehabilitate, and it is able to be frustrating for wardens to look humans come again to prison repeatedly. However, a few humans come to prison as soon as, get their behavior underneath control, and go away to lead effective lives; and this can be worthwhile for prison wardens.

Prison Warden Duties & Responsibilities

Prison wardens are normally responsible for the following:

  • Supervise all prison workforce for both juveniles and adults.
  • Determine staffing needs and allocate to be had workforce hence.
  • Ensure that team of workers stays compliant by using adhering to all laws, policies, and standards that govern how prisons perform, as well as to the facility policies and approaches accepted by the warden.
  • Oversee team of workers education and request routine statistics reports on education pastime consisting of delinquency on mandated habitual training.
  • Supervise or behavior investigations of alleged beside the point conduct and take disciplinary action, if deemed vital.
  • Ensure that the ability and protection system are well functioning to preserve personnel secure.
  • Manage budgets and screen fees related to constructing and grounds upkeep, in addition to substantial fitness care, food offerings, and laundry prices.

Prison wardens supervise all jail workforce, which include correctional officers, fitness care experts, counselors, maintenance body of workers, and custodial staff. They delegate obligations and make all final selections. Prisons rarely house both person and juvenile offenders, but, once they do, those two populations maintain bodily distance between each different. Wardens who administer juvenile prisons manipulate juvenile correctional officials as opposed to correctional officials for adults.

A warden guarantees the staffing wishes of the jail are met at all times. They determine staffing needs and allocate to be had body of workers in step with those needs. When desires are not met through to be had sources, a warden prioritizes staffing capabilities that have to be covered, those who can be partly protected, and people that can be foregone for a period of time. When resources are strained, wardens recommend for more resources with their managers.

When it's miles alleged that a workforce member acted inappropriately, the warden either investigates the state of affairs or appoints someone to do the job. Either manner, the warden ensures that the investigation is thorough, honest, and reaches the right conclusion. If the group of workers member is located to have acted inappropriately, the warden decides what employees movements will be taken towards the staff member.

Prison Warden Salary

A jail warden's income can vary substantially and depends at the nation wherein they paintings. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes prison wardens beneath the class correctional officers and jailers, which earned the subsequent profits:

  • Median Annual Salary: $forty four,330 ($21.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $76,760 ($36.90/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $31,a hundred and forty ($14.ninety seven/hour)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

PayScale also provides profits statistics for jail wardens, with figures higher than the ones provided by using the BLS:

  • Median Annual Salary: $87,099 ($41.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $144,002 ($sixty nine.23/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $54,715 ($26.31/hour)

Source: PayScale.com, 2019

Education, Training, & Certification

Those interested in a profession as a prison warden will need the subsequent education, training, and certification:

  • Education: Employers commonly require applicants to maintain a bachelor’s or companion's degree, preferably in criminology, crook justice, social paintings, or justice management. Some jail wardens may hold a grasp's diploma in commercial enterprise management or corrections control. Coursework normally covers the social and psychological aspects of crime, juvenile delinquency, studies and reporting skills, forensic technological know-how and investigative capabilities, and the history of crime and the justice system.
  • Training: Candidates are required to have extensive enjoy in corrections running as a police officer, corrections officer, authorities clerk, or government contractor. This enjoy must consist of time as a manager, ideally with accelerated responsibility in numerous positions.
  • Certification: Positions on this enterprise may additionally require good sized publish-certification training or different credentials. The American Correctional Association (ACA) gives certifications for those trying to enhance and gain popularity in the subject. To become licensed, applicants ought to entire a self-look at software observed through a success completion of an examination.
  • Background test: Candidates want to have a easy criminal records without a prison convictions, a clean drug display, and eligibility to personal or own a firearm.

Prison Warden Skills & Competencies

This profession calls for the following competencies:

  • Physical and mental stamina: Wardens must be able to manage the prison environment to decrease the probability of violent events that may result in critical injuries and fatalities amongst prisoners and body of workers.
  • Leadership: To advantage and keep the honor of their staff, wardens must display appropriate management and deep know-how of the crook justice area.
  • Verbal conversation talents: Wardens represent prisons to oversight authorities and outside entities. Even even though the jail may additionally have a public information officer, news journalists may additionally need to interview the warden. Therefore, wardens must polish their public speaking abilities.
  • Critical-thinking talents: When faced with a probable violation, a prison warden must examine and compare the situation to decide the most appropriate solution.
  • Business control abilties: Running a prison requires coping with budgets and tracking costs, in addition to overseeing the preservation of buildings and grounds.
  • Negotiation skills: There can be violent or contentious incidents that require desirable negotiation abilties to diffuse situations before they end up lifestyles-threatening.
  • Self-protection competencies: Inmates may be unpredictable and become violent at times, requiring wardens to guard themselves from damage.

For many that keep a prison warden role, it's miles the final process they hold earlier than retirement. Wardens are seasoned specialists who've demonstrated their understanding, capabilities, and capabilities over an extended profession.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer employment records specially for jail wardens. However, it does offer statistics for correctional officer jobs, which might be projected to say no by way of 7% till 2026. State and neighborhood finances constraints and prison populace ranges will determine what number of correctional officers are important.

Work Environment

Prison wardens may match in an workplace or other regions of the jail facility, or outside overseeing inmate and staff operations. The environment can be tough at instances. Even within the safest prisons, emergencies are bound to occur. Security breaches such as escapes or riots may also arise, and natural or guy-made failures may additionally strike. Prison team of workers individuals need to live calm for the duration of these times.

Wardens serve as incident commanders in emergency situations. They snap into action to direct sources towards abating the emergency and addressing the aftermath. They do this until they get help from outdoor the prison from companies including the National Guard or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Even while their authority is outmoded by means of a brand new incident commander, the warden is an imperative part of the incident command shape due to the risky nature of jail populations.

Work Schedule

Constant safety is needed at all hours, seven days per week, so rotating shifts will occur at some point of the day and night time. Officers can assume to work a rotating time table to consist of weekends.

How to Get the Job


The North American Association of Wardens & Superintendents (NAAWS) and the American Correctional Association (ACA) offer resources, consisting of job postings, for industry experts.


has membershipship in agencies consisting of the U.S. Deputy Warden's Association (UDWA) and the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) can introduce you to different industry professionals, that may lead to a task.


Wardens are hired via the regular government hiring procedure. Because people in these positions have direct get entry to to inmates, employers behavior crook records and historical past tests. Felonies disqualify individuals from employment. Finalists are regularly asked to submit to drug testing earlier than a task provide is prolonged.

Because the position has this sort of high stage of duty and because the warden’s manager does not have an workplace on the jail, panel interviews are often used inside the hiring technique. This sort of interview facilitates hiring managers mitigate the effect of any biases they'll have. Hiring managers must be capable of believe new hires, however they do not want to misplace that agree with. Panel individuals provide their enter on who must be employed, but the closing choice stays with the hiring manager.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People interested in a prison warden career may want to remember the following jobs, along side the median annual earnings:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018