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Working as a prison guard is tough, so the training has to be demanding. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Academy in Galt provides California correctional officer training. It is a 12-week course or 16 weeks if you want to work with juveniles in the system. To survive, you have to demonstrate physical fitness. You also have to show the attitude and ethics the CDCR Academy wants to see in correctional officers.
To survive correctional officer training in California, you need to be in great physical shape. You also need to follow the rules, bring the requisite items, and adhere to the demanding code of cadet conduct.
Guards have to be in good shape to handle the troubles they deal with on the job. The Galt Academy puts you through the ringer: weight training, calisthenics, running, circuit training and wind sprints. To confirm you can handle it, you undergo a CDCR physical fitness test in your first week at the academy. The test consists of a 500-yard run up and down stairs, through halls and over an agility course. Then comes a simulated stretcher carry. You have five minutes to complete the test.
If you fail the test and fail a follow-up test the second week, the academy might drop you. Getting into peak condition before you show up helps you survive to graduation.
Bring the Right Equipment
The Department of Corrections says you'll spend close to $1,500 in clothes, school supplies and athletic equipment during your training. The academy expects you to show up with some of those items purchased or ordered:
- A red laundry bag
- A black duty bag
- A leather or nylon duty belt
- Exercise wear including T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants and shorts
If you have a medical condition that doesn't disqualify you from correctional work, bring whatever you need to manage it – prescription lenses or insulin, for example. If you don't have what you need, the academy sends you home.
Follow Galt Academy's Code
To survive the academy, you have to bring the right attitude as well as the right supplies. The academy expects you to conduct yourself as a mature, responsible professional, on and off duty. Unethical behavior, particularly cheating, could cost you your spot at Galt. To survive, follow the academy's code of conduct:
- Always show up on time.
- Obey your superiors' orders.
- Knock on office doors and identify yourself before entering.
- Greet staff when you meet them. Address staff out of uniform as "sir" and "madam." In uniform, use the person's rank and last name.
- Keep track of everything the academy gives you, from your ID card to your whistle and keys.
- Never operate personal entertainment tech, such as iPods or video games, while on duty.
- While on duty, do not chew gum or put your hands in your pockets.
- Running is only allowed during training or an emergency.
You can be punished or dismissed from the academy for failing to live up to its standards.
Over the course of his career, Fraser Sherman has reported on local governments, written about how to start a business and profiled professionals in a variety of career fields.. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs. His website is frasersherman.com