Correctional Officers undertake a front line role in the prison system. They are responsible for a wide range of duties relating to the safety, security and welfare of prisoners in our care. They manage day-to-day issues, and contribute to ongoing rehabilitation.

Interaction with prisoners

Correctional Officers interact with prisoners on a daily basis.
These prisoners may be high security, medium security or low security.

Prisoners in our care represent a cross section of the community and have a variety of health, cultural and other special needs.

The role is unique and challenging.

Challenging situations can happen every day. These include:

  • observing prisoner conduct, behaviour and activities
  • conducting prisoner cell searches
  • transporting and escorting prisoners
  • assisting and encouraging prisoners with their individual development programs and case reviews
  • assisting prisoners with matters affecting their welfare, security, behaviours and routines
  • responding to emergency situations, including prisoner conflicts, prisoner injury and medical crisis
  • conducting strip searches of prisoners.

We are looking for the people that not only cope with difficult scenarios but react in a positive, constructive manner.

Personal attributes

Key Correctional Officer attributes include being:

  • self-assured
  • confident
  • able to communicate on any level.

As a Correctional Officer you'll be a role model and mentor to prisoner — helping to develop appropriate behaviour and support the rehabilitation efforts of each prisoner.

Selection and training

After the recruitment process new employees will start a 12 week training course.
This is followed by a probationary 12 months with regular performance reviews.

Graduates are awarded a Certificate III in Correctional Practice (Custodial) on successful completion of their probation period.


After training and achievement of required competencies, Correctional Officers are expected to perform a range of daily duties directly involving prisoners.

All Correctional Officers need to ensure that each prisoner is treated professionally, humanely, with courtesy and respect at all times.

The work of a Correctional Officer is based on the principles of:

  • case management — individual planning of a prisoner's progress through the correctional system
  • regime management — managing prisoners under incentive based regimes
  • team work — communication, professional and responsible behaviour, support and co-operation between staff
  • maintaining a safe, secure, humane environment.

Specialist or further career roles

Becoming a Correctional Officer is not the end of your career journey.

There are many paths open to you including:

  • An Advanced Correctional Officer
  • Operations Supervisor
  • Dog handler
  • Case Management Co-ordinator
  • Assistant General Manager
  • General Manager.

Training opportunities

DCS supports our staff by providing many opportunities such as:

  • Tomorrow's Senior Manager
    An Executive initiative to identify future senior operational managers and unlocking their potential so that the Department has the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
  • Emergency Warden training
  • Study Assistance
    We assist with appropriate training and development with a range of options to study and gain work related qualifications. The level of support will be on a case by case basis.

Employment conditions

Pay and remuneration

After successfully completing twelve weeks of training [6 weeks class room based and 6 weeks in service], Correctional Officers are remunerated as a CO-2 with a base rate of $52,315 per year [as of October 2017].


Correctional Officers work on average 38 hours per week on shift roster.

Shift and rosters

Correctional Officers are required to work on a rostered shift.

There are three shifts on a roster which include day, afternoon, and night shifts. Start times of shifts can vary between institutions.

Roster rotate — they are prepared and made available to staff well in advance.
Rosters cover:

  • public holidays
  • all 24 hours
  • all seven days of the week

Appropriate award rates, shift penalties and overtime payments is payable.

Public holidays

Correctional Officers are required to work on some public holidays — a maximum of 7 per year.

Recreation leave

Correctional Officers can get up to 6 weeks recreation leave per year. Leave is accrued from the date the officer started at DCS.


Correctional Officers are members of the SA State Government non-contributory Superannuation scheme.

Sick leave

Correctional Officers are entitled to 12 days per year sick leave. Sick leave is credited with one day sick leave for each month completed of an employee's full-time service.


A uniform is provided and must be worn while on duty.


Counselling - EAP

We provide a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to benefit the psychological well-being of all our staff. The program includes general and specialised counselling.

Comprehensive training

All Correctional Officers must successfully complete the initial training — and gain the Certificate III in Correctional Practice.