The role of a prison officer

Prison officers perform a vital role in society, in an environment like no other. We are peacekeepers, teachers, counsellors. You could be too.

As a prison officer, you’ll be part of a diverse team doing meaningful work in our prisons.

You’ll work with a range of people and perform a variety of tasks – from keeping the prison safe and secure, to helping vulnerable people through a difficult time in their lives.

What happens after you have been offered a role?

Once you have been offered the role and have completed pre-employment checks and medical and fitness.

You will need undertake a ten-week training and learning period to become a prison officer. After which you will have a 12-month probationary period, where you will have all the necessary support to enhance skills to work effectively as a prison officer.

Assessment Criteria

During the online assessment centre you will be assessed on the behaviours, strengths and abilities outlined below.


As a professionally trained prison officer you will be given important skills and knowledge that will stand you in good stead throughout your prison service career.

Week 1 to 2: You will be given a local induction at your ‘home’ prison.

Weeks 3-9: You will go on a foundation training programme at a designated learning centre. This will usually be close to your ‘home’ prison location.

Week 10: This is where you will review your training and have the chance to use the skills you have learned prior to going live.

You will receive full pay and expenses throughout training.

What to expect during training?

The apprenticeship prepares you for life as a prison officer. You will learn and practice all the key skills and behaviours that are vital to the role including:

  • How to look after people in custody
  • Search and security procedures.
  • De-escalation techniques

Shift patterns: