I've been an RN for 8 yrs and work in a Med-Surg Trauma ICU. I also work for a nursing agency part-time and go to the Virginia state prisons. I was also a correctional officer for 2.5 yrs. Nursing in the prison is not that bad. I've only been to state prisons, so, I cannot speak for the federal prison. One of the prisons I go to has a 30 bed infirmary. The infirmary is so large because they house the majority of the state prison's chronically and terminally ill inmates. At this prison, I supervise 2 LPN's. One gives all the meds to the inmates. The other does the "treatments". This means he/she does all the dressing changes, cleans all the poop, and gives all the IV treatments, whether it be starting an IV or drawing labs. Of course, I work at night, so it gets very boring and I always help the treatment nurse with whatever they have to do. I'm required to do 5 assessments a night. The pt's I have to assess have already been chosen for me. This prison also has a psyc ward where the inmates are behind closed doors. I'm responsible for giving the meds to these guys, who most of the time refuse and you have to write them up for this. The infirmary is the only place they have RN's working. LPN's work out on the units and hand meds from there. The other prison only has a clinic and a 6 bed infirmary. Here I supervise 2 LPN's. These two again, give all the meds to the inmates out on the units. I take care of the inmates who are in the 6 beds. Most of these guys are just coming back from a hospital stay or procedure and only need to be observed for a day or two.
At both prisons, I respond to emergency situations out on the units. This may be anything, and I mean anything!! Believe what others have said, these guys have nothing to do but think of ways to get out of this prison, and a medical emergency is the fastest way out, so be sharp on your assessment skills. I have seen 2 nurses that came right out nursing school
into the prison, but, they were both medics prior to nursing.
I currently have an application in at the federal prison. I've only spoken with some of the officers who work here. They have told me that the nurses do not work past 2200 and you either work 6-2, 2-10, or a 9-5 shift. Have yet to run into a federal corrections nurse to confirm this information.
So, if you have very sharp assessment skills and a good street sense about you, then give it a whirl. If it doesn't work out, go to a hospital or doctor's office or a jail. Once you're licensed, the options are limitless. Good luck and feel free to ask any questions. I will answer to the best of my knowledge.