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Prison officer

Prison officers supervise inmates in prisons, remand centres and young offenders' institutions.

Potential salary
£20,750 to £38,000
Working hours
37 to 39 a week
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

In this role you could be:

  • keeping inmates secure
  • carrying out security checks and searches
  • supervising prisoners and maintaining order – this can involve authorised physical control and restraint
  • supporting vulnerable prisoners
  • promoting anti-bullying and suicide prevention policies
  • going with prisoners on external visits like court appearances or hospital appointments
  • preparing inmates for release through rehabilitation programmes
  • updating records and writing reports on prisoners

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in a prison.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

With experience and training you could move into specialist projects, like rehabilitation work with specific groups of prisoners and their families.

You could become a supervising officer, custodial manager, head of function, deputy governor or governor.

You can find out more about how to become a prison officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.

Data from National Careers Service.
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