Are you OK with cookies?

We use small files called ‘cookies’ on Some are essential to make the site work, some help us to understand how we can improve your experience, and some are set by third parties. You can choose to turn off the non-essential cookies. Which cookies are you happy for us to use?

Prison Officer

202309: First Time Prison Officer Recruitment Scheme – Male prisons – 79091
£30,902 – £40,726
Multiple Locations


First Time Prison Officer Recruitment Scheme – Male prisons


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, but 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 2 years
  • You will be able to reclaim the cost of a monthly trip home
  • After 2 years 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

As the prisons on First time prison officer recruitment scheme list 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.



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 – £32,851*

HMP Berwyn – Wrexham, Wales

HMP Erlestoke – Devizes, Wiltshire

HMP Gartree – Leicestershire

HMP Guys Marsh – Shaftesbury, Dorset

HMP Isle of Wight – Newport, Isle of Wight

HMP Lewes – Lewes, East Sussex

HMP Long Lartin – Worcestershire

HMP Onley – Rugby, Warwickshire

HMP Rochester – Rochester, Kent

HMP Portland – Dorset 

HMP The Verne – Rutland

HMP Wayland – Thetford, Norfolk

HMP Whitemoor – March, Cambridgeshire


Salary – £34,851 (includes £2,000 market supplement)

HMP Grendon – Buckinghamshire

HMP Highpoint – nr Newmarket, Suffolk

HMP The Mount – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

HMP Stocken – Rutland


Salary – £38,530 (includes £2,000 market supplement)

HMP Feltham – Feltham, Middlesex


Salary – £36,351 (includes £3,500 market supplement)

HMP Aylesbury – Buckinghamshire

HMP Elmley – Isle of Sheppey, Kent

HMP Bullingdon – Bicester, Oxfordshire

HMP Swaleside – Isle of Sheppey, Kent

HMP Woodhill – Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire



Salary – £38,445 (inner London)

HMP Wandsworth – Southwest London



You will also get:

  • your accommodation costs paid (up to £659 per month in London or up to £589 elsewhere) for up to 2 years.
  • the cost of a monthly trip home.


Prisons operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means you will have to cover various shift patterns that will include evenings, some nights, weekends and public holidays (these days are added to your holiday allowance).  Most prisons work with a changing shift pattern of 39 hours a week.


You may also have opportunities to work additional paid hours.




  • 25 days’ annual holiday (rising to 30 days after 10 years’ service)
  • paid time off for public holidays and 1 extra privilege day
  • Civil Service pension of up to 20% of your salary
  • cycle to work scheme, travel loans and other benefits


Prison officer rewards & benefits | HM Prison & Probation Service (


Assessment Process


During the recruitment process you will be assessed on the behaviours, strengths and abilities you need to become an effective prison officer. These include:


  • communicating and influencing
  • managing a quality service
  • making effective decisions
  • caring


Your natural strengths are assessed to find out what motivates and energises you. We will also assess your numerical, written English and spoken English abilities.

Online Test

You will be invited to complete the online test, to see if you have the basic judgement and numerical skills expected of a prison officer.

The online assessment centre (OAC)

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

Read more about the application process.



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 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.


Operational Support Grade Role

Our Online Assessment Centre (OAC), will not only assess you against the key criteria to become a prison officer but will also determine your suitability for appointment as an operational support grade  OSG   


If following attendance at your OAC, you are unsuccessful in your application to become a prison officer, we may instead offer you an alternative role as an OSG. Operational support grade – Ministry of Justice


If you are offered an alternative OSG role You will have an opportunity to choose 3 or more prisons you’d like to work at, in order of preference. Please note an OSG role does not include the First Time Prison Officer relocation scheme benefits / allowances.  Further information will be provided to you if you offered an alternative OSG role. Operational support grade – Ministry of Justice


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 can raise a formal complaint in the following order:


  1. Shared Services Connected Ltd: call 0345 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm) or email
  2. Ministry of Justice Resourcing
  3. 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.


£30,902 - £40,726

Additional Information

If you require any assistance, please call 0345 241 5358 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm) or e-mail Please quote the job reference .

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

Closing Date: 05th October 2023