What are the Different Types of Prison Jobs?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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Prisons are a vital part of many societies. While these workplaces are not for everyone, many people enjoy the opportunity to aid in the rehabilitation of prisoners and the management of prison life. There are many different types of prison jobs that require a wide variety of different skills.

Most prison jobs require applicants to meet certain basic requirements, as well as have special training for their particular position. In some countries, a person cannot work for the prison system if they have a criminal record or do not hold citizenship in the country. Other requirements may include physical fitness and age limits. Most new prison workers take an extensive training course to properly prepare them for the unusual working environment.

The running of a prison is a complex and interesting process. While prisons are built to hold people who have committed crimes, modern philosophy and the legal system requires them to be just and humane locations. Some prison jobs involve the day to day managerial and administrative tasks of running a prison and require secretarial or management skills. Processing paperwork, liaising with other sections of the legal system, and keeping accurate files on inmates may be common requirements of an administrative job in a prison.


Since prisoners can sometimes be violent or unpredictable, most prisons have a large force of guards to maintain order and calm. While these guards must be physically prepared to deal with dangerous situations, many experts stress that guards must be professional at all times and not engage in harm or brutality. Being a prison guard often requires firearm licensing as well as completion of specific training programs. Since the job can be dangerous, prison guards are often quite well compensated for their work.

Most prisons feature health facilities for the inmates, creating many prison jobs for health care workers. Since many prisons are communal places, illness can spread through a prison population like wildfire, requiring immediate attention and action to contain. In addition, since fights are not uncommon in some prisons, healthcare workers skilled in dealing with traumatic injuries are highly valued.

Some prison jobs are designed to improve the education of inmates in hopes of rehabilitating them. Teachers may be required to do many types of prison jobs, from teaching inmates to read to providing vocational training for life after jail. By educating prisoners, teachers hope to open their minds to things in the world besides crime, as well as equipping them to lead a crime-free existence once their sentence is up. Although all prison jobs involve a measure of danger, many teachers find working with prisoners to be a highly rewarding experience.


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Post 4

I wish there were better job training opportunities for prisoners while they are inside. If they can get training for a decent paying job while in prison then they are more likely to stay away from crime on the outside and not return to prison.

Post 3

I know prison jobs pay well and there are often prison job vacancies, but I wonder whether the money would be worth the stress and risks you have to handle. I cannot imagine working in a maximum security prison and having to interact with violent inmates for eight or twelve hour shifts. I read somewhere that a prison guard is one of the top 10 most stressful jobs.

Post 2

I have a neighbor who works as a prison nurse in a state prison. Jobs in nursing in the prison system are relatively easy to get. She started out on the bottom rung and within a year she was able to transfer to another prison and work as a supervisor.

Post 1

Most prison jobs pay a good salary. I have a cousin who took a job in the prison system as a guard. She didn't really want to be a prison guard, but there were several positions open at one of the local prisons and she needed a good paying job. By the way, she was working at a men's prison.

Before she took the job, I didn't even know women guards worked in men's prisons. She said she got used to working there, but she never felt totally comfortable for the three years she worked in the prison. As you can imagine, the prisoners gave her a tougher time because she was a woman.

My cousin eventually got a job with the post office and she says she wouldn't want to go back to the prison system to work unless she wasn't working directly with the prisoners. The pay was good, but the stress was a lot to handle.

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