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Prison Officer

202305: Male First Time Prison Officer Recruitment Scheme – 74866
£28,880 – £34,523
Multiple Locations


Male – First time prison officer recruitment scheme

Applying for your first prison officer role and happy to relocate? Get your career off to a great start, gaining valuable experience working at one of our busier prisons.


Move away to join a prison that’s 75 minutes or more from where you currently live and not only will you benefit from a greater variety of experience than you would working at a smaller prison, you will also get higher take-home pay, your accommodation costs paid for up to 23 months, and a paid monthly trip home.

Choose 3 or more prisons you’d like to work at and, wherever possible, we will aim to find you a role at one of these.  You will be allocated to a prison that has the most need for prison officers at the time.


You are only eligible for this scheme if you are applying for your first prison officer position – not if you’re looking to move from one prison to another, or if you have previously been employed as a prison officer.


What’s on offer?

  • We will pay your accommodation costs (up to £659 per month in London or up to £589 elsewhere) for up to 23 months.
  • You will be able to reclaim the cost of a monthly trip home.
  • After 23 months you can decide whether to stay at the prison permanently or move to one that’s nearer to your home.
  • You will also be paid a recruitment and retention bonus of £1500 after the first 12 month and 23 month period totalling £3000.

As the prisons on the First time prison officer – recruitment schemelist have an ongoing need for prison officers, you should be able to start your paid training sooner than you would if you applied via our standard application process.

You’ll also benefit from comprehensive paid training, plus a range of other employee benefits and career progression opportunities.


How to apply

  • The online application begins with important details such as your National Insurance number and right to work in the UK.


You will have an opportunity to choose 3 or more prisons you’d like to work at, in order of preference. You will then be invited to complete the online tests to see if you have the basic judgement and numerical skills expected of a prison officer.  


The online assessment centre

If you pass the online test, we will invite you to an online assessment centre.

We test to see if you have the abilities, behaviours and strengths to be a prison officer.

Once you’ve successful completed the online assessment centre, we will invite you to complete a medical and fitness test.  This will cover an eyesight testhearing test and basic health screening, including a blood pressure check.

We will tell you what to expect and bring before the day.

Job details


To become a prison officer, you will need to:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have the right to work in the UK
  • be reasonably fit and able to pass our fitness test
  • have good eyesight in both eyes (both with and without corrective lenses)


For safety reasons, everyone training to be a prison officer needs a suitable standard of hearing (without the use of hearing aids).

To work in a high security prison (category A) you must have been a resident in the UK for the last 3 years.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals


Visa sponsorship

Please note we are unable to sponsor any individuals via the Skilled Worker Sponsorship / Tier 2 (General) work visa.

Successful applicants must ensure they have and maintain the legal right to live and work in the Civil Service and in the United Kingdom.


Essential skills

You don’t need qualifications to become a prison officer. Personal qualities are more important. You need to show:

  • communication and influencing skills
  • commitment to quality
  • effective decision-making
  • care and understanding



Your pay will depend on which prison you work at and your weekly shift hours. The figures below are based on a 39 hour week (you will start on a 37 hour contract until you have completed your initial training. You can then choose to increase your hours to 39 or 41 hours a week.)

Salaries quoted include an unsocial hours allowance

Salary – £30,702*

HMP Berwyn – Wrexham, Wales

HMP Bristol – Bristol

HMP Erlestoke – Devizes, Wiltshire

HMP Full Sutton – nr York

HMP Gartree – Leicestershire

HMP Guys Marsh – Shaftesbury, Dorset

HMP Hewell – Redditch, Worcestershire

HMP Isle of Wight – Newport, Isle of Wight

HMP Lewes – Lewes, East Sussex

HMP Littlehey – Nr Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

HMP Long Lartin – Worcestershire

HMP Norwich – Norfolk

HMP Onley – Rugby, Warwickshire

HMP Rochester – Rochester, Kent

HMP Portland – Dorset 

HMP Stocken – Rutland 

HMP Wayland – Thetford, Norfolk

HMP Wealstun – Wetherby, North Yorkshire

HMP Whitemoor – March, Cambridgeshire


Salary – £32,702 (includes £2,000 market supplement)

HMP Bedford – Bedfordshire

HMP Coldingley – Woking, Surrey

HMP Elmley – Isle of Sheppey, Kent

HMP Grendon – Buckinghamsire

HMP Highpoint – nr Newmarket, Suffolk

HMP The Mount – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

HMP Swaleside – Isle of Sheppey, Kent


Salary – £34,202 (includes £3,500 market supplement)

HMP Aylesbury – Buckinghamshire

HMP Bullingdon – Bicester, Oxfordshire

HMP Feltham – Feltham, Middlesex

HMP Isis – Thamesmead, London

HMP Woodhill – Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire


You will also get:

  • your accommodation costs paid (up to £659 per month in London or up to £589 elsewhere) for up to 23 months.
  • the cost of a monthly trip home.


Prison officer benefits

  • 25 days’ annual holiday (rising to 30 days after 10 years’ service)
  • paid time off for public holidays and 1 extra privilege day
  • one of the best pension schemes in the country
  • rental deposit loans
  • cycle to work scheme, travel loans and other benefits



All new prison officers in England and Wales will begin their career by completing a skill’s led foundation training programme.

Week 1 to 9: following a local induction at your ‘home’ prison 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: you will be back at your ‘home’ location where you will embed and expand on your skills and knowledge with local support.

You will receive full pay and expenses.

What to expect during training

The skills led foundation phase prepares you for life as a prison officer. You will learn and practise all the essential skills and behaviours that are vital to the role including:

  • how to look after people in custody
  • search and security procedures
  • de-escalation techniques


Job offers: merit vacancy

This is a merit job vacancy. If you are successful at the online assessment centre, you will be added to a merit list based on your score.

When all applicants have completed the assessment centre, the prison will make job offers to individuals with the highest scores first when positions become available.

You can stay on the merit list for 12 months. After this, you’ll need to apply again.

Your successful pass from the online assessment centre will be valid for 12 months if you want to apply for vacancies at other prisons.

If your application is unsuccessful at the sift/Interview stage, a six month waiting period will be applied during which time you will not be allowed to submit any further applications for prison officer positions.


Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Civil Servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles. If you feel the recruitment process has breached the recruitment principles, you are able to raise a formal complaint in the following order:

Shared Service Connect Ltd: call 0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or email

Ministry of Justice Resourcing: email

The Civil Service Commission.


We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and aim to have a workforce that represents the wider society that we serve. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice. We champion diversity, inclusion and wellbeing and aim to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and a sense of belonging.  


Disability support

As a Disability Confident employer, the Ministry of Justice is committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talent and abilities, by making adjustments throughout all elements of the recruitment process and in the workplace. You will be able to request reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process within the application form. We can offer reasonable adjustments to help with the online tests and online assessment centre.


£28,880 - £34,523

Additional Information

The jobholder must be able to fulfil all spoken aspects of the role with confidence in English or (when specified in Wales) Welsh.

If you require any assistance please call 0845 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) or e-mail Please quote the job reference 74866

Closing Date 8th June 2023