Prison service officers (below principal officer)


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2017


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2015


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Prison service officers (below Principal Officer) direct, co-ordinate and participate in guarding inmates and maintaining discipline in prisons and other detention centres.


There are no formal academic requirements for entry but candidates must pass a pre-entry test and full medical examination. Basic training is followed by a 12 month probationary period during which further on-the-job training is provided. Background checks are required for entrants, and there are generally nationality restrictions and a lower age limit of 18 years.

Typical tasks

  • escorts prisoners to and from cells and supervises them during meals, recreation and visiting periods;
  • watches for any infringements of regulations and searches prisoners and cells for weapons, drugs and other contraband items;
  • guards entrances and perimeter walls;
  • investigates disturbances or any other unusual occurrences;
  • escorts prisoners transferred from one institution to another;
  • runs prisoner rehabilitation and support programmes;
  • provides care and support to prisoners in custody including prevention of self harm;
  • trains and supervises prison staff;
  • reports on prisoners’ conduct as necessary.

Common job titles

Officer, discipline
Officer, custody
Auxiliary, prison
Officer, borstal
Officer, auxiliary (prison service)
Officer, prison
Warder (prison service)
Officer, escort, prison
Officer, grade, support, operational
Officer, custodial, prison
Warden, prison
Supervisor, custody, prison
Officer, discipline (prison service)

Education background

Destination of Leavers survey, supplied by the Higher Education Statistics.