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Each week we will bring you a new topic, providing you with life lessons from people across the Prison Service. Hosted by Ben Bailey Smith and created by Acast Creative alongside HMPPS.
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Why work in a women's prison?

Working with women in custody has some specific challenges that you may not encounter in a male prison. Women in custody have often had extremely difficult backgrounds. The majority of women in prison have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. This can lead to a lack of trust in staff.

We are looking for dedicated women and men to join a diverse team and go the extra mile to support vulnerable women through a difficult time in their lives. We will provide you with new, additional specialist training and help and resources you need to succeed. Whatever the challenge, you will have the support from your team to make a difference every day.


Women's prisons are a really interesting area for new changes and new opportunities.
Zoe, Prison Officer


Dog training

Our women’s prisons training has some bespoke aspects which differ to that of our male prisons.

The women’s prisons training package ensures you are skilled to assess, manage and support women in custody, including their specific risks and requirements. This will enable you to respond to women in custody in a way that focuses on their needs.

Chilese tells us what skills and qualities you need to be a Prison Officer in a female prison

Application process

Application completion can vary depending on how quickly an assessment date is secured, and how long your background checks take. On average, it takes 6-7 months from when you start your application to day one on the job. You will be kept updated and informed at every stage.

1. Apply online

This process will only take on average 10 minutes to complete.

Start by finding a prison officer vacancy – click ‘View job & apply’ to read the job description and apply.

Enter important personal details, such as nationality and your right to work in the UK. We use these to check you’re eligible to be a prison officer.

You will need your National Insurance number.

2. Online tests

You will be invited to complete a scenario-based test. You will be given different behavioural and numerical scenarios you might face as a prison officer. This takes on average 25 minutes to complete.

We use this test to check you have the basic behaviours and numeracy skills expected of a prison officer.

We will let you know immediately if you pass the online tests. If you are successful, we will invite you to the Online Assessment Centre.

3. Online Assessment Centre

The Online Assessment Centre is a half-day assessment. Our friendly assessors will virtually meet you and test to see if you have the abilities, behaviours, strengths and fitness to be a prison officer.

We will give you more information of what to expect and how to best prepare later in your application journey. Or you can prepare now through our candidate portal.

4. Additional assessment

You will be invited to provide a written response to three behaviour-based questions. We will explore your understanding of the prison officer role in a women’s prisons and why you are interested in the role.

For each question you will have up to 250 words to respond. You will be asked to consider a situation you may face as a prison officer in a women’s prison.

5. Background checks

Once your prison officer position is available, we will carry out your pre-employment checks including security, identity, past employment, and health. These checks can take a few weeks.
If a position is not available, you will be put on a merit list. We only begin the background checks when there is an immediate vacancy for you. You can wait on a merit list for up to 12 months.

6. Application success

Once you pass the online tests, assessments and background checks, you will be eligible to work as a prison officer. Learn more about offers and onboarding.

Before you start in your role, you will complete foundation training. During this training you will learn and practise the key skills and behaviours that are vital in the role of a prison officer.