The Role of a Prison Officer

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The Role of a Prison Officer

Building a career in prison administration can be both lucrative and rewarding. The rewarding aspect is the sense of fulfilment that comes from service to humanity and to the nation. So, whether you are considering a suitable career after university or simply want to change your job, a prison officer job might appeal to you.

The Roles of a Prison Officer

If you’ve decided to pursue a career as a prison officer, there are specific responsibilities you will be charged with. Basically, you will oversee the supervision, security and safety of inmates in a jail, prison or any secure custody of this nature. Generally, prison officers are in charge of the custody, care and control of arrested persons awaiting trial. A prison officer is also responsible for security and safety of the facility itself. Usually, the UK government handles the prison officers recruitment process. This is also the recruitment situation in several other locations.

Generally, the roles of a prison officer are outlined here:

Ÿ  A prison officer ensures order among inmates and within the entire facility.

Ÿ  Prison officers also prevent assaults, disturbances and escapes. They achieve the task by closely supervising the work assignments and activities of inmates.

Ÿ  A prison officer’s task includes searching the prisoners and their living quarters routinely, looking out for tell-tale signs of contrabands such as drugs or weapons. The officers will also intervene in disputes among inmates and enforce the necessary disciplinary measures.

Ÿ  They also carry out routine inspection on the facilities, looking out for unsanitary conditions and potential hazards such as likely fire incidents. An officer will also scrutinize the bars, locks, gates, doors and grilles, checking for signs of damage or tampering.

Ÿ  The mail for the inmates usually undergos screening, including their visitors. This is to ensure that no prohibited item is smuggled into the facility. Of course, the prison officer is also charged with this responsibility.

Ÿ  As a prison officer, you will also promote activities that would prevent suicidal thoughts and acts. You should also come up with anti-bullying techniques. Again, prisoners who are vulnerable must be protected, the officer is also charged with this responsibility.

Ÿ  Prison officers also prepare prisoners for release, by embarking on major and minor rehabilitation programmes.

Ÿ  The task of a prison officer also includes writing reports on inmates.


Luckily, you will undergo training in order to handle all of these responsibilities. Also, prison officers have on-the-job training, especially in the first year of employment. If you have relevant experience before joining for the service, (plus the training acquired while on the job), you may handle more responsibilities. Such tasks include supervising an entire section of a prison.

A prison officer would usually work for several hours a week, with shifts in-between. You may be posted to a prison in another area. A larger part of the task is performed in-doors. However, there may be times where you would embark on outdoor duties. For instance, you may be assigned a supervisory duty when the prisoners are having recreation periods.

The job of a prison officer can be quite demanding, both physically and emotionally. However, it can also be highly rewarding.