Job type

Prison governor

£47k - £75.5k

Typical salary

43 – 45

Hours per week

Prison governors manage prisons, remand centres and young offenders' institutions.

More info

  • Look after the management and security of prisons, remand centres and young offenders' institutions
  • You'll need communication, leadership and management skills, and the ability to make decisions under pressure
  • You could progress to work in the national headquarters of HMPS, or within prison service colleges or training units

As a prison governor, you might work in high security, 'closed' prisons or lower security 'open' prisons.


  • Managing prison security, standards and budgets
  • Supervising prisoners and making inspections
  • Supporting vulnerable prisoners and those at risk of self-harm
  • Carrying out disciplinary procedures
  • Managing and motivating prison staff
  • Updating records and writing reports
  • Developing the prison to meet government targets (like the control of drugs)
  • Working with other professionals such as medical staff, social workers and probation officers
  • You might also train prison officers, take part in parole board meetings and chair prisoner admission panels and inmate release boards


Your working environment might be physically and emotionally demanding.

You'll need

For this role, you'll need business management and leadership skills, the ability to use your initiative, customer service skills, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, thoroughness and attention to detail, and knowledge of human resources and employment law.

You may be able to start as a prison officer and apply for a 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, available from Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). You may have an advantage with a degree, but it's not essential. Employers are often more interested in what you've achieved throughout your career.

Experience in management, excellent communication skills, assertiveness and integrity, are important qualities to have for this role.

Alternatively, you could apply through the Unlocked Graduates programme which is available to graduates who meet the HMPPS eligibility criteria, already have or are expecting to receive an upper second class degree, have GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, and have the right to work in the UK for the length of the programme. As part of the programme, you'll study for a postgraduate master's in leadership and custodial environments.

You'll also need to pass security and enhanced background checks, have good eyesight and be physically fit, and be over 18 years of age.


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, within prison service colleges or training units around the UK.