As a prison officer, you will play a vital role in supporting prisoner rehabilitation and making the community safer.
Prison Officer role
Prison officers support prisoners with their rehabilitation so that prisoners can be more constructive members of the community when they are released.
Prison officers can positively influence the behaviour of prisoners by supporting them to make better choices and reduce their risk of reoffending. At the same time, prison officers keep prison facilities, prisoners and staff, safe and secure.
The work of prison officers helps make the community safer for everyone.
Prison officers are role models
Prison officers establish respectful working relationships with prisoners and consistently role model pro-social behaviours:
- positive and constructive conversations
- self-respect and respect for others
- integrity and honesty
Prison officers are case managers
Prison officers are trained in case management so they can be effective providers of rehabilitation support to prisoners. Case management involves:
- Encouraging prisoners to actively participate in the prison community.
- Helping prisoners to set constructive goals and take steps towards them.
- Supporting prisoners with positive decision making.
As case managers, prison officers provide prisoners with access to resources that will set them up for a better future. For example:
- They enable participation in work, learning and programs.
- They help prisoners re-establish themselves in the community, by connecting them with family, community groups and agencies.
Prison officers keep everyone safe and secure
Prison officers keep each other, prisoners and the facility safe and secure. They do this by building professional relationships with prisoners, and undertaking the following activities:
- Promptly respond when there is a risk to the safety of people or the facility.
- Tune in to the mindset and actions of prisoners.
- Make sure people are where they should be.
- Complete cell searches, pat-downs, drug and alcohol testing.
- De-escalate situations when necessary.
Prison officers act with integrity
Prison officers maintain high levels of integrity in all their conversations and actions. To be effective they are:
- Respectful of prisoners as individuals each with their own personal background.
- Highly aware of what’s going on and can make well considered decisions quickly.
- Fair, transparent, and consistent in all their interactions.
- Active listeners who can adapt their conversational approach to each prisoner individually.
- Comfortable standing their ground when challenging negative behaviours and reinforcing positive ones.
- Patient, non-judgemental and able to exercise empathy (but not sympathy), and establishing boundaries to develop effective working relationships.
Who makes a good prison officer?
Prison officers who enjoy their work most:
- Are motivated by the opportunity to serve the community.
- Have a real enthusiasm for seeing people succeed.
- Are naturally patient, positive and empathetic.
- Are team players who consistently work to the best of their ability.
Prison officers come from a wide range of backgrounds
All life experiences are highly valued in the prison officer role. Every person has the potential to make a good prison officer, particularly those with:
- Life experience such as travel, education, volunteering, parenting and working.
- Customer service experience.
- Experience as a teacher, leader, coach or mentor.
- Team player with experience working as part of a group.
Benefits of becoming a prison officer
Start as a prison officer and you can develop a career across the whole of the Victorian prison system and the broader Victorian Public Service.
Employee benefits you can look forward to include:
- 41 days of paid training
- A good work-life balance, with longer shifts but more days off
- Five weeks paid annual leave, three weeks personal leave and provisions for study leave
- Annual salary increases
- Earn a base salary of $58,358 plus additional penalty and overtime rates
- Certificate III in Correctional Practice
- Learning and development courses and leadership programs
- Opportunities for higher duties
- Access to accrued long service leave on a pro-rata basis after seven years of service
- Well-being programs including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Salary packaging options for a novated car lease, superannuation and self-education expenses.
The Department of Justice and Community Safety is responsible for running Victoria's 11 public prisons and one transition centre.
Address: 1140 Bacchus Marsh Road, Lara VIC 3212
Security level: Maximum
Barwon Prison (Barwon) is a maximum-security men’s prison based in the Barwon Prison Precinct.
Barwon accommodates both convicted offenders and some remand prisoners in 478 beds across 10 accommodation units. Each unit houses a specific cohort of prisoner, from prisoners who are permitted to interact with each other and undertake paid work within the facility, through to high risk and protection prisoners.
Beechworth Correctional Centre
Address: 494 Flat Rock Road, Beechworth VIC 3747
Security level: Minimum
Beechworth Correctional Centre (Beechworth) is a minimum-security men’s prison based in North East Victoria.
It accommodates up to 210 prisoners across self-catered communal living units, as well as two-bed units and larger dormitories. Many prisoners are serving the latter portion of their sentence and developing skills essential to transitioning back into the community successfully.
Beechworth is renowned for its community engagement programs, which include partnerships with aged and disabled care organisations, sports clubs and the Healesville Sanctuary.
Dame Phyllis Frost Centre
Address: 101-201 Riding Boundary Road, Ravenhall VIC 3023
Security level: Maximum
Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (DFPC) is a women’s prison based in the western suburbs of Melbourne. It accommodates up to 604 prisoners, including offenders in minimum, medium and maximum-security units, as well as remand prisoners.
There are several industries that operate within the prison, where offenders work for a daily wage and develop vocational skills and qualifications that can aid them in finding work when released.
One unique element of DPFC is that some prisoners who are mothers are permitted to have their infants, and children aged up to five years, stay with them in shared living units. This arrangement is granted when it is most beneficial and safe to the child and mother.
Address: Murchison-Tatura Road, Murchison VIC 3610
Security level: Minimum
Dhurringile Prison (Dhurringile) is a minimum-security men’s prison based on a working farm in North East Victoria.
Specialising as a transition facility for prisoners completing their sentence, Dhurringile focusses on equipping men with personal and professional skills that give them the best chance of avoiding a cycle of reoffending.
Prisoners are kept busy on the farm, and can work in several industries, including metal fabrication, wooden products, horticulture, maintenance, gardening and more. There is also a fully operational commercial dairy staffed by prisoners that produces 7,000 litres of milk a day.
Up to 328 men can be accommodated at Dhurringile, across a mix of 2-bed units and larger shared housing, which simulates the living scenarios many prisoners will return to upon release.
Hopkins Correctional Centre
Address: Warrak Road, Ararat VIC 3377
Security level: Medium (protected prisoners)
Hopkins Correctional Centre (Hopkins) is a medium-security prison based just out of Ararat, in the Grampians region.
Hopkins has a capacity of 760 offenders and is a key part of the corrections system due to its specialisation in accommodating protection prisoners. This type of offender needs to be separated from the general prison population as the nature of their crime or reputation may make them more vulnerable to prisoner hostility.
Hopkins includes single, double and triple-bed cells, as well as cottage accommodation and a unit for aged and medically infirm prisoners. All prisoners capable of work are placed full-time in an industry area; such as wooden products, screen printing, metal fabrication, number plate manufacture, laundry and general maintenance.
Judy Lazarus Transition Centre
Address: 50 Adderley Street, West Melbourne VIC 3003
Security level: Minimum
The Judy Lazarus Transition Centre provides a supervised pathway back into society for selected prisoners nearing the end of their sentence. It is named after Judy Lazarus, a prominent advocate of prisoner resettlement and former CEO of the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.
Langi Kal Kal Prison
Address: Langi Kal Kal Road, Langi Kal Kal VIC 3352
Security level: Minimum
Langi Kal Kal Prison (Langi Kal Kal) is a minimum-security men’s prison located in Trawalla in the Grampians region.
Up to 428 prisoners can be housed in single rooms and shared cottage-style units in an open-plan prison that is fenced off from the public.
While similar to Hopkins in its capacity to accommodate protection prisoners, Langi Kal Kal’s prisoners typically have a lower propensity for violent behaviour. There are also many elderly offenders housed here.
Prisoners are required to work full-time, if they are physically capable, and there are many industries that operate on-site; including agriculture, horticulture, woodwork, cleaning services, kitchen and general maintenance. A renowned angus cattle stud is also operated on-site and hosts an annual auction.
Loddon Prison Precinct
Address: Matheson Street, Castlemaine VIC 3450
Security level: Medium
Loddon Prison (Loddon) is a medium-security men’s prison in Castlemaine.
Up to 468 prisoners can be housed within Loddon, and its annexe, Middleton. The landscaped grounds, modern buildings and wide range of programs and activities aim to emulate a general community setting, helping offenders to transition smoothly after completing their sentence.
There is varied accommodation available to suit the differing needs of prisoners – with self-contained communal units along with smaller cell-style rooms with two beds.
The facility runs several industries for prisoners to work and gain skills in, including horticulture, food processing and metal fabrication.
Marngoneet Correctional Centre
Address: 1170 Bacchus Marsh Road, Lara VIC 3212
Security level: Medium
Marngoneet Correctional Centre (Marngoneet) is a medium-security men’s prison located in Lara, in the Barwon South West region. It sits adjacent to Barwon Prison and the new Chisholm Road Prison project, which is currently under construction.
Marngoneet has capacity to house 859 men, including prisoners at its Karreenga annexe.
While it is a secure walled facility, modern buildings and large recreational fields give Marngoneet an open feel intended to provide a constructive environment for offenders to improve their lives within. Many programs are administered to help prisoners adopt more positive behaviours.
Marngoneet also runs several commercial industries, with its bakery renowned for producing bread and pastries for many other prisons around the state.
Melbourne Assessment Prison
Address: 317-353 Spencer Street, West Melbourne VIC 3003
Security level: Maximum
Melbourne Assessment Prison (MAP) is a maximum-security men’s prison based in the Melbourne CBD.
It is the first point of contact for all alleged offenders coming into the corrections system in Victoria. Here, men who have been arrested on charges that potentially carry jail time if convicted are assessed before being bailed or placed on remand.
MAP is also a specialist mental health prison and features the Acute Assessment Unit – a 15-bed psychiatric facility.
Up to 305 prisoners can be held at this secure multi-level building, which is located near Southern Cross station. MAP is also perhaps the busiest prison in the state, with many prisoners arriving for assessment or being transported out to other facilities daily.
Metropolitan Remand Centre
Address: Middle Road, Ravenhall VIC 3023
Security level: Maximum security remand
Metropolitan Remand Centre (MRC) is a maximum-security men’s prison based in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. Most prisoners here have been placed on remand, which means they’ve been accused of a crime and have not been granted bail, and they’re now waiting for their case to be heard in court.
Prisoners here typically stay until either being found innocent, and returned to the community; or being found guilty, at which point they’ll be transferred to another prison for a longer stay.
MRC can house up to 833 prisoners, mostly in single cells that sit inside larger buildings. These units their own dedicated program and resource facilities, interview rooms, clinics and recreational equipment and space.
Address: 9 Maldon-Shellbourne Road, Nuggetty VIC 3463
Security level: Minimum
Tarrengower Prison (Tarrengower) is a minimum-security women’s prison, located in the Loddon Mallee region.
Prisoners here typically sleep in their own rooms but share kitchen and living areas.
Tarrengower has a small capacity of just 72 beds and specialises in preparing offenders for a return to their community following the conclusion of their sentence.
There are many programs offered that are aimed at giving the women education and employment opportunities, which will help alleviate the conditions that can lead to reoffending.
Get ready to apply
Once you’ve decided to become a prison officer there’s a few things you need to know to about the role before you apply.
Firstly, you'll need to make sure you are familiar with the position description and the requirements of the role.
The entire application process takes approximately 15 weeks to complete.
Hudson recruitment provide information and support to applicants throughout the process. Contact the Hudson team on 1300 037 541 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
There are 9 stages from when you start your application including a series of assessments, meetings and checks.
The online application form takes 30 - 60 minutes to complete.
Situational Judgement Questionnaire
If you pass the initial application phase, you'll be invited to complete a questionnaire that will test your suitability for the job.
Remote video interview
You will receive a link and instructions on how to complete a video interview. You will be asked to respond to several capability questions. Make sure you have around 30 minutes set aside to do this.
You will then be asked to complete a personality assessment and two psychometric assessments. The first is an Abstract Reasoning Assessment that looks at your learning agility. The second is a Verbal Reasoning Assessment that looks at your verbal comprehension.
Attend an assessment centre
Assessment centres are typically held on-line with groups of applicants. Applicants at assessment centres are typically asked to participate in a group activity, a role play and a written exercise. You will also complete a personality assessment and tests of reasoning ability and computer skills.
Your personal and professional references will then be checked. As the position requires high security clearance, you will also undergo a police check. You will need to let us know if you have ever been charged with or convicted of any offence. Some offences will automatically disqualify your application but others may not. Non-disclosure is treated seriously, though, so it's better to let us know up front about any incidents in your past.
Before being made an offer, we will also get in touch with you to arrange a health and physical assessment. Being a prison officer can be physically demanding, so we want to make sure that you can do it safely and without putting yourself or others at risk. To give you an idea of what's involved, take the health assessment survey and find out how you can be well prepared.
Review your offer
The Department of Justice and Community Safety will make employment offers to successful candidates at this point.
There's a lot of information to learn once you become a prison officer, so we give all of our newly recruited squad members a minimum of 41 days fully-paid pre-service training. It's full-time, Monday to Friday, and combines both theoretical and practical learning (including two weeks on the job).