Correctional Officer role

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:

  • mature and self-confident
  • socially responsible with personal honesty and integrity
  • interpersonal skills and emotional stability which enable supportive and constructive relationships with work colleagues and with prisoners alike
  • able to model and foster positive, respectful leadership behaviour
  • able to display empathy and cultural awareness.

As a Correctional Officer you'll be a role model and mentor to prisoners – 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 month probationary period with regular performance reviews.
This period will include 14 weeks of classroom based training and on the job work experience.

Graduates are awarded a Certificate III in Correctional Practice (Adult Custodial) on successful completion of their probationary 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:

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

Training opportunities

DCS supports our staff by providing training and development opportunities such as:

  • Tomorrow's Senior Manager program
    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

The Trainee Correctional Officers (TCO) receive a salary of $52,665 p.a. (CO1) plus Superannuation for the first 12 weeks of training.

Following the 12 week classroom and in-service period the TCO  becomes a Probationary Correctional Officer (PCO) for the remainder of the 12 months.

Probationary Correctional Officers (PCO) receive $56,987 - $64,931 p.a. (CO2) plus Superannuation.

The base salary plus appropriate penalties equates to approximate annual average of $80,000 p.a. plus superannuation.

[These figures were correct on October 2022].


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

Shift and rosters

Correctional Officers are required to work eight hour shifts.
There are three shifts on a roster:

  • day shift
  • afternoon shift
  • night shift.

These three shifts cover a 24 hour period on a seven day rotating roster.

Start times of shifts can vary between institutions.
Rosters are prepared and made available to staff well in advance.

Full time Correctional Officers will work 19 eight hour shifts over a 28-day, 24 hour/7-day rotating roster.
The 28-day rotating roster also includes eight days off, and one Programmed Day Off (PDO) in a roster cycle.

Part time Correctional Officers will be required to work a minimum of eight shifts over a 28-day, 24 hour/7-day rotating roster.
The roster will include a Programmed Day Off (PDO) which will be allocated once a sufficient number of shifts have been accrued.

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

Public holidays

Correctional Officers are required to work on some public holidays – a maximum of seven per year (pro-rata for part time officers).

Recreation leave

Correctional Officers can get up to six weeks recreation leave per year (pro-rata for part time officers).
Leave is accrued from the date the officer started at DCS.


Correctional Officers are members of the SA State Government Triple S Superannuation scheme.

Sick leave

Correctional Officers are entitled to 12 days per year sick leave (pro-rata for part time officers).
Sick leave is credited with one day of sick leave for each  completed month 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 (Adult Custodial).



  • Download: Correctional Officers Information Sheet (260.0 KB PDF)
  • Download: Correctional Officer Application Pack (502.7 KB PDF)
  • Download: Correctional Officer - Generic Job and Person description (250.3 KB PDF)
  • Download: Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector.pdf (608.9 KB PDF)
  • Download: Pre-employment declaration for the Department for Correctional Services (249.5 KB PDF)
  • Download: DCS Strategic Plan 2022-2026.pdf (484.3 KB PDF)