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  • Benefits of becoming a prison officer
  • How prison officers work
  • Who makes a good prison officer?

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New $5,000 sign-on bonus

New prison officers are now eligible for a bonus of up to $5,000. Six months after commencing, you will receive a payment of $2,500. Then, after one year’s full-time employment, you will receive an additional payment of $2,500. This incentive is designed to attract the best new prison officers and encourage you to explore all aspects of the role.

Prison officers make a difference by having a positive impact on other people’s lives.

As a prison officer, you’ll be part of the team helping to make the community safer for everyone.

We are looking for people with a wide range of skills and life experiences for roles that offer opportunity for development and growth.

 

Video transcript - Corrections Victoria is a great place to work

Larissa Strong, Commissioner, Corrections Victoria:

“I think Corrections Victoria is one of the big secrets in all of Victoria. It's such a great place to work. There is a strong sense of purpose, a strong sense of identity amongst our workforce and our people are our biggest strength.”

Andrew Reaper, Assistant Commissioner, Corrections Victoria:

“The purpose of prison is not to punish the people. It is to absolutely give them the opportunity to improve themselves and become contributing members of our community.”

(Background video of male two prison officers walking and talking with a male prisoner in the corrections centre grounds)

Simone Shaw, Clinical Director, Corrections Victoria:

“So essentially, our goal is to create safety for our community by targeting the things that we know do cause crime.”

Alex Cano, Acting General Manager, Case Management, Corrections Victoria:

“It's about assisting those individuals that come into custody and addressing their offending behaviour.”

Simone Shaw:

“Our job as a corrections service is to have people leave us in a better state than they were when they came to us.”

Andrew Reaper:

“And there is great research and evidence that says the prison officer is the most important aspect of a person being able to turn their lives around, be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community. It is the prison officer who should build that relationship.”

Simone Shaw:

“And so the personal qualities simply need to be the optimism for change, a willingness to go on a journey with somebody…”

Larissa Strong:

“…As well as be able to work in a multidisciplinary team environment and see different perspectives. Good prison officers have good people skills.”

Alex Cano:

“Excellent verbal communication.”

Simone Shaw:

“Natural warmth, empathy.”

Alex Cano:

“Corrections Victoria invests a lot in staff.”

Andrew Reaper:

“We have a significant pre-service training component and then we will continue to support our staff in their personal development via ongoing training opportunities, professional development opportunities.”

Alex Cano:

“A Prison Officer role is a job with a purpose.”

Andrew Reaper:

“You get the opportunity every day you come to work to change a person's life.”

Larissa Strong:

“If you're considering becoming a prison officer and starting a career in corrections, absolutely go for it and make that enquiry. We want prison officers of different backgrounds with different diversities, with different life skills and experiences. We want to mirror the community.”

Andrew Reaper:

“You'll work alongside great people, you'll be supported by the leadership of Corrections Victoria. It is a fulfilling career, full of challenges but full of hope and one that people should strive to be part of.”

Simone Shaw:

“And if you want a job where you can leave at the end of the day feeling really proud of what you've done and knowing that you've done something meaningful for your community, this is one of those jobs.”

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.

The employee benefits you can look forward to include:

  • 41 days of paid training
  • work life balance - you will generally work longer shifts, but fewer days a week
  • five weeks paid annual leave, three weeks personal leave and provisions for study leave
  • annual salary increases
  • earning up to $85,967 with a base salary $59,825 plus standard penalty rates and overtime
  • Certificate III in Correctional Practice that, when completed, increases base salary up to $63,470
  • learning and development courses and leadership programs
  • opportunities for higher duties
  • long-service leave of three months on full-pay, or six months on half-pay after 10 years of service - access accrued long service leave on a pro-rata basis after seven years
  • well-being programs including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • salary packaging options for novated car lease, superannuation and self-education expenses
  • relocation reimbursement of up to $10,000 for employees:
    • with ongoing prison officer roles,
    • new to public service,
    • living more than two hours away from new work location
    • to help with costs like travel, freight, temporary housing and storage.
 

Video transcript - A job that has good salary, flexible rostering and work/life balance

Addie, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“One of the things I really love about working in corrections is there's so much flexibility in the type of work that you do and also how much or how little overtime you would like to do. It does really allow me to have a lot of balance in my life.”

Ashley, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“Our roster is obviously a 24 hour roster, a seven day a week roster. The prison never closes.”

Michael, Senior Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“So our roster allows us to have a long run of days off. Sometimes we have five days off in a row.”

Jarrad, Senior Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I was in the process of starting a family and I wanted to have something where I could be an active and present parent.  This job’s really allowed me to do that.”

Megan, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“Also, there's a variety of night shifts, afternoon shifts and day shifts. So for my family and I, that just works in really well.”

Darrin, Supervisor, Corrections Victoria:

“The benefits of the shift work. Certainly there's financial advantages to it. You do get paid a little bit extra. But it also allows you to do stuff during the day that perhaps you never get a chance to do when you're working day shift.”

Tracey, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I really like the balance of, you know, getting six weeks in advance, knowing what my roster's going to be so that I can plan my lifestyle.”

Michael:

“It allows me to go out and do things within the region. I like to go out kayaking, out walking in the bush.”

Addie:

“The team that I work with are really everything. You have to really rely on your teammates. You work very, very closely together.”

Darrin:

“The camaraderie that you certainly get from working with good people, you know, they become friends and you end up doing stuff on the outside.”

Jarrad:

“I've made a lot of friends at Corrections here, a lot of people that I would still catch up with out of work.”

Megan:

“I love the teamwork. I love seeing those friendly faces that are part of your team every day and know that those people have got your back.”

Michael:

“So I really, really enjoy being a prison officer. It's a good job, good pay, good benefits, it’s a good lifestyle.”

Addie:

“It offers a lot of opportunity. It offers a lot of flexibility. And the pay is really great.”

Jarrad

“I think if anyone's thinking about applying, I think you should do it. Once you take into account the salary the work life balance, the roster, the team that work here, it's a safe place and I couldn't recommend it more highly.”

Darrin:

“Take it with both hands and grab the opportunity because it's something that you won’t regret.”

How prison officers work

Prison officers support prisoners with their rehabilitation so that prisoners can be more constructive members of the community when they are released.

They also keep prison facilities, prisoners and staff safe and secure.

Prison officers can positively influence the behaviour of prisoners by supporting them to make better choices. The work of prison officers to reduce the risk of prisoners reoffending helps make the community safer for everyone.

Prison officers are role models

Prison officers establish respectful working relationships with prisoners and consistently role model these 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 includes:

  • 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.
 

Video transcript - Prison officers help people turn their lives around

Andrew Reaper, Assistant Commissioner, Corrections Victoria:

“The purpose of prison is not to punish the people. It is to absolutely give them the opportunity to improve themselves and become contributing members of our community.”

Larissa Strong, Commissioner, Corrections Victoria:

“99% of the people that come into prison will go back to the community. So our job is to actually return them to the community in a better position to be a better neighbour.”

Alex Cano, Acting General Manager, Case Management, Corrections Victoria:

“Case management is a collaborative process in which people work together for addressing an individual's needs.”

Susan, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“Case management is working one on one with a prisoner, helping him to work towards his rehabilitation.”

Megan, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria

“To then obviously try and implement processes to try and help their offending behavior, to recommend them to participate in programs. “

Tracey, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria

?What are they going to do during their time here in the prisons to make their sentence more meaningful? What can they do to improve themselves and become better people at the end of the day when they leave prison?”

Ashley, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria

“As a prison officer, we would have a case load of prisoners. That involves us working with the men to develop goals and plans and strategies to actually help address their offending behaviour.”

Jarrad, Senior Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria

“The prisoners can set any kind of goals that they want. I think it's really good to have achievable goals just to get some rhythm and success in their life. It can be something as simple as exercising every day to getting up and making their bed. Or as things progress, they could try to be a bit more challenging, like get employment or learn a new skill.”

Andrew Reaper:

“But also give them guidance in where they can get further help, whether it's our clinical services, whether it's our reintegration pathway model.”

Michael, Senior Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria

“The more tools that we can give them once they're out in the community, the better.”

Andrew Reaper:

“And there is great research and evidence that says the prison officer is the most important aspect of a person being able to turn their lives around, be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community.”

Larissa Strong:

“A good case management skill is really engaging with people building a professional rapport, motivating people to see that there's hope. And that's also incredibly important in terms of your day to day relationship with the men and the women that are in our care. I think the big selling point for me of why you would want to be a prison officer is that you do get to make a big difference in someone's life.”

Alex Cano:

“And seeing somebody walk out of prison after they've completed their sentence and all the program requirements is actually quite rewarding because of the work that not only one person has done, but the actual prisoner.”

Andrew Reaper:

“You get the opportunity every day you come to work to change a person's life. And what could be better than that? Because that ultimately not only makes that person better, it prevents further victims and it makes our broader community safer. What an incredible role.”

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 are trained in case management so they can be effective providers of rehabilitation support to prisoners.

Case management includes:

  • 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.

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 these 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 situations and characteristics
  • 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 tailor their conversation and approach to each prisoner individually
  • comfortable standing their ground when challenging negative behaviours and reinforcing positive ones
  • patient, non-judgemental and exercise empathy (but not sympathy) and establish boundaries to develop effective working relationships
  • hold their own moral compass and operate within standard procedures.

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.
 

Video transcript: Just go for it!

Susan, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“Life experience is very important to becoming a prison officer.”

Darrin, Supervisor, Corrections Victoria:

“People with a different variety of life skills, whether they be previous jobs that they've had, previous positions they’ve had.”

Susan:

“Getting married, having children, getting divorced, dealing with accidents, injuries, changing jobs, being unemployed, a whole range of things. Just gaining knowledge and understanding from all these experiences and learning how to cope with all the challenges that life throws at you.”

Addie, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“We have lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds.”

Michael, Senior Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“Before becoming a prison officer I worked in security.”

Tracey, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I actually worked in human resources.”

Claire, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I've been a chef for many years. I've had my own business.”

Jarrad, Senior Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I completed my teaching degree. I decided that I'd had enough of that.”

Abuk, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I worked in a legal firm as a legal assistant.”

Susan:

“I was working in admin for many years.”

Ashley, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I spent a decade in community health.”

Amanda, Prison Officer, Corrections Victoria:

“I worked on a slaughter farm. I also picked grapes.”

Craig, Senior Industry Officer, Corrections Victoria

“I was a baker and a pastry cook.”

Darrin:

“I was 15 years in a private fire protection company.”

Addie:

“I was a jeweller and a yoga teacher. You are really likely to find that your skill set or your character or your traits will be suited to an aspect of our work here.”

Darrin:

“The biggest tool that you can bring into the job is life skills.”

Claire:

“So if you are thinking about applying, every single one of us have life experiences and life skills that can be applied into the prison system. There’s so much opportunity. And I would just encourage you just do it, just go for it.”

 

Smiling prison officer standing outside

Get ready to apply

Here’s how to prepare to become a prison officer.

How to apply

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​​​Information sessions

Register to attend a free one-hour online information session.

Listen to prison officers talk about what it's really like working inside a prison.

Get a better picture of how the roster system works and why penalty rates plus overtime can significantly increase your take-home pay.

It's a great chance to ask questions so you can decide if this is the career for you.

Book now (External link)

Health and fitness

Learn about the health and fitness requirements