Prison Officers

Prison Officers are responsible for the supervision, training, security, and rehabilitation of prisoners as committed by the court system. They must be able to establish positive relationship with prisoners and possess a large amount of empathy/understanding while also holding a position of power. Prison officers must often make quick decisions and deal with unexpected situations.

Quick summary

  • Starting salary: $42,000 P/A
  • Senior salary: $65,000 P/A
  • Average salary: $55,000 P/A
  •   * Wages will vary according to your level of skill, experience and employer
  • Employment level: 12,300 as of November 2012 (Projected employment levels in 2017 of 13,200)
  • Average weekly hours: Average weekly hours worked for a full time Prison Officer is 36.7 hours
  • Employment by region: The top three regions for employment as a Prison Officer include:
    • NSW: 31.8%
    • VIC: 20.6%
    • WA: 17.0%

Employment growth

Total employment growth over the past 5 years for male and female, employed part-time and full-time is 3,400

Gender (including full time and part time)

The percentage of males and females working full time and part time are:

  • Male Full Time: 73.9%
  • Male Part Time: 4.1%
  • Female Full Time: 20.4%
  • Female Part Time: 1.6%

Other relevant information

Duties and tasks

  • Break up altercations as necessary
  • Complete prisoner reports/reviews, work with other health/social staff members
  • Maintain and safe and healthy environment for prisoners
  • Motivate prisoners to take actions that are best for themselves and others
  • Often complete custodial duties
  • Perform search procedures and security checks
  • Provide care and support for prisoners and participating in rehabilitation programmes as necessary

Skills required

  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Cultural awareness and empathy
  • Hold strong people management skills
  • Must have the ability to act in a humane/just/courteous manner
  • No formal education/training is required
  • On-the-job training may be provided

Working conditions

Prison Officers are often paid very well due to the fact that they often work in potentially dangerous environments. Some prison officers do not feel safe in their environments due to the fact that they must manage violent criminals. Most work is indoors, though supervision/patrolling duties may extend outside the prison as well. The job of prison officer can be rather stressful and requires the ability to deal with a variety of difficult people, as confrontations often arise.

Professional associations / Industry information

ACT Corrective Services

Northern Territory Correctional Services

Queensland Corrective Services

The Department for Correctional Services (South Australia)

The Department of Corrective Services (WA)