A lot of correctional officers consider themselves cops. It may come as a shock to them, but they are not cops. They are exactly what their title implies – officers of a correctional institution who are primarily responsible for maintaining security and the safety of prison inmates. That does not qualify them to be cops.
A cop is a licensed local or state police officer who is responsible for protecting the public, enforcing local and state laws, and arresting lawbreakers. All 50 states have strict licensing procedures that require recruits of municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies to successfully complete a proscribed curriculum at a certified police training center. Agents of the FBI, DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies are also cops.
Parole officers are cops, but only in those states where they are officially recognized as peace officers with powers of arrest. And in some states correctional officers are designated peace officers when in hot pursuit of an escaped convict. Otherwise, correctional officers are not recognized as cops.
Correctional officers do deserve special recognition. They have an important and dangerous job. They are often subjected to all kinds of abuse by prison inmates. During their shifts they are confined to almost the same degree as the inmates they are in charge of. Unfortunately the public does not hold correctional officers in high esteem. They are unappreciated and underpaid. But calling themselves cops does not change any of that.