Joseph Woods began his career with the Department of Corrections (DOC) in 2003 as a correctional officer at Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). In 2004, he was promoted to sergeant, where he served as the interim director for the ambulance service at KSR. Woods was promoted to lieutenant in 2006 and then to captain in 2010. In 2012, Woods was promoted again, this time to production supervisor with KCI. In this role, he oversaw the license plate plant at the facility.
In 2014, Woods was promoted to operations manager and transferred to KCIW. He was responsible for the KCI plant at the prison, which included overseeing accreditation for the operation. In 2016, Woods was promoted to administrative branch manager of KCI. Most recently, he served as acting director of KCI based in Frankfort. While continuing to fulfill his obligations as branch manager, Woods also inspected facility operations across the state and ensured vacant positions were filled.
Woods is a longtime member of the Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency (KCCD). He is the recipient of the 2019 Deputy Commissioner's Award for Adult Institutions.