Working in a Prison: Do You Need a DBS Check?

Working in a prison comes with a high level of responsibility, so unsurprisingly prospective employees need to be vetted before starting work. 

The vetting process may include a DBS Check – but what sort of DBS Checks are prison employees eligible for?

The answer will vary depending on the employee’s specific role. In this blog, we’ll explain the different levels of check available for employees working in a prison. 

working in a prison

Working in a prison for adults: Regulated activity

 

For employees working in a prison, detention centre or removal centre for adults, the first thing to establish is whether or not they’re working in regulated activity. 

Regulated activity is work that a person who has been barred from working with vulnerable adults and/or children must not do. 

You can see a full definition of regulated activity with adults here, but in summary it includes:

  • Providing healthcare, personal care or social work to adults
  • Assistance in the conduct of adults’ own affairs
  • Conveying vulnerable adults to and from healthcare

Anyone who carries out one or more of these activities while working in a prison will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the adults’ barred list.

 

Other employees working in a prison for adults

 

If an employee in a prison for adults is not carrying out regulated activity, but is providing advice and guidance to the detainees, they’ll be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check without a barred list check. 

However, they’ll only be eligible for an Enhanced check if they provide advice or guidance on at least three occasions in a 30-day period and/or overnight between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. 

Anyone working in a prison for adults in a clerical, cleaning or trade role will be eligible for a Standard DBS Check.

 

Working in a prison for young offenders: Regulated activity

 

For people working in young offender institutions, we again need to establish whether they’ll be carrying out regulated activity with children. 

Regulated activity with children includes teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children, providing advice or guidance on wellbeing, or driving a vehicle only for children. 

Again, these activities need to be done regularly in order to be classed as regulated activity. You can see the full definition of regulated activity with children here, including the DBS definition of ‘regularly’. 

Any employee who is carrying out regulated activity with children will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with a children’s barred list check. 

 

Other employees in young offender institutions

 

Any employee in a young offender institution who will be carrying out any of the above activities, but not doing them regularly (as per the DBS definition) will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check without a barred list check. 

Contractors who carry out occasional or temporary services within a young offenders’ institution will also be eligible for an Enhanced Check without a barred list check. 

We hope our blog has answered your questions about DBS Checks for people working in prisons. If you want any more information, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line – we’re always happy to help out.