What does a Prison Officer do?
Prison Officers are responsible for supervising, training and reforming individuals who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment. They oversee the daily activities of prisoners, enforce rules and regulations and maintain security. They are also in charge of some of the administrative aspects of the correctional facility they work in, including creating reports and maintaining records.
A Prison Officer also directs prisoners and food service employees to maintain personal hygiene and sanitary standards. Other than performing custodial duties, Prison Officers motivate prisoners to do what’s best for themselves and those around them.
Prison Officer skills and qualifications
A Prison Officer must be able to assert authority in a non-discriminatory manner. They should also be excellent observers and remain calm in stressful situations while treating prisoners with respect and humanity. A successful Prison Officer candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:
- In-depth knowledge of public safety and security
- Strong interpersonal skills, including self-motivation and assertiveness
- Excellent communication skills and people skills
- Effective problem-solving and decision-making skills
- Personal integrity and resilience
- Empathy and cultural awareness
- Meet the moral standards required, including a criminal record check
- In-depth knowledge of common laws, institutional rules and custody guidelines
Prison Officer experience requirements
While no direct experience is required to work as a Prison Officer, a candidate may have an advantage if they have experience working in the police or armed forces department. Employers can also consider Probation Officers or Security Officers who have worked in organisations that support ex-offenders.
Prison Officer education and training requirements
A Prison Officer generally needs at least a GCSE to start working. Candidates don’t need a university degree and employers usually place more importance on the candidate’s personal qualities and work experience. However, candidates need to pass several medical and fitness tests and numeracy assessments. Once hired, they complete Prison Officer Entry Level Training (POELT). This comprehensive training programme aims to develop the officer’s interpersonal skills and ability to work with prisoners. It teaches them control and restraint techniques as well as searches and security procedures.
Prison Officer salary expectations
According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of a Prison Officer in the United Kingdom is £22,572 per year. This salary varies depending on several factors, including the geographical location, experience and employer.
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