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?

Skip to content

Skills you need

What makes a great prison officer? It might not be what you think.

You don’t need specific qualifications. Personal qualities are more important.

You don’t need specific experience either. We’ve worked in sectors from retail and care, to security and the Armed Forces. Our backgrounds make us different, but together we share the same goal – to make an impact.


To be a prison officer you need:

  • empathy
  • great communication skills
  • self-confidence
  • an ability to think on your feet
  • resilience
  • to be a team player

Specific skills you need to work in a women’s prison

The reasons women commit crime can be quite complex and they have often experienced trauma in their lives. You need to be mindful of this when working with women in custody.

You need:

  • to be able to build trust with the women so you can build positive working relationships
  • an ability to recognise when a woman is going through a crisis so you can provide support
  • the confidence to intervene and de-escalate situations that could potentially become harmful for the individual and others