Prison operational manager
Prison governors manage prisons, remand centres and young offenders’ institutions.
Salary range: £47,500 to £75,500
How to become a prison governor
You can get into this job through:
- working towards this role
- a management training scheme
You may be able to start as a prison officer and apply for place on a prison service management trainee scheme. You’ll need several years’ experience, including line management, to apply.
The scheme can lead into senior management jobs and eventually deputy governorship roles, then governor.
Companies that run private prisons have their own entry requirements.
You can apply to join the Senior Leadership Scheme. This is a 3-year training scheme available from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).
You may have an advantage if you’ve got a degree, though it’s not essential. Employers are just as interested in what you’ve achieved throughout your career.
Experience in management and excellent communication skills, as well as assertiveness and integrity, are important.
You can also apply through the Unlocked Graduates programme. This is a 2-year leadership development route available to graduates, who:
- meet the HMPPS eligibility criteria
- already have, or be expecting to get, an upper second class degree
- have GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
- have the right to work in the UK for the length of the programme
You’ll study for a postgraduate master’s in leadership and custodial environments as part of the training.
You can find out more about working in prisons from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- business management skills
- leadership skills
- customer service skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of human resources and employment law
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
- pass security checks
- be over 18 years of age
What you’ll do
As part of your day to day duties, you may:
- manage prison security, standards and budgets
- supervise prisoners and make inspections
- support vulnerable prisoners and those at risk of self-harm
- carry out disciplinary procedures
- manage and motivate prison staff
- update records and write reports
- develop the prison to meet government targets, like the control of drugs
- work with other professionals, such as medical staff, social workers and probation officers
You could work in a prison.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could work in a more secure prison or join HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
You could also work in the national headquarters of HMPPS.
Another option is to work within prison service colleges or training units around the UK.