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Prison Officer Jobs Overview

Prison officers supervise inmates in prisons, remand centres and young offenders' institutions. Their duties depend on the type of prison, but in general they include keeping inmates safe and secure, assessing and supervising them, carrying out security checks on inmates, staff and visitors, providing support to vulnerable prisoners, writing reports on prisoners and preparing them for release. Work is normally carried out indoors, although there may be outside duties including patrolling the grounds, supervising recreation activities or escorting prisoners on external visits. The job is usually a 37-hour week on shift cycles with opportunities for part-time work and job sharing.

Prison Officer Jobs Education Requirements

There are separate prison services for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as some private prisons. Entry qualifications and training differ between services and include an initial application, passing medical and fitness tests, and passing the Prison Officer Selection Test (POST), which checks numeracy and literacy skills. The next stage is taking part in role plays at an assessment day to check if the necessary qualities for the job are present. If successful, a background security and criminal record check will need to be passed before applying for prison officer vacancies. Skills gained in other jobs, such as a security officer jobs or probation officer jobs, could be useful. Graduates who successfully complete the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) Graduate Programme (England and Wales only) can apply for a managerial post.

Prison Officer Jobs Market

While prison officer vacancies have been few because of recent budget cuts, this may be about to change. The Government has announced the creation of six reform prisons for England and Wales based in existing jails and the building of nine new prisons to replace Victorian-era establishments.

Prison Officer Jobs Salary

New starters can expect to earn between £16,000 and £20,545 depending on location, rising to up to £33,000 for senior positions.

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