Prison officer ranks at Greenough Regional Prison increased today, with the graduation of 13 new officers from many different walks of life.
Assisting Justice Minister Kevin Minson said some of the six women and seven male graduates would start work at the prison as early as tomorrow.
Mr Minson said the graduates came from a range of working backgrounds with experience in teaching, the building industry, lawn maintenance contracting, charter boat operation and the public service.
They had completed an intensive 12-week Ministry of Justice training course which involved three units toward a Justice Studies Degree from Edith Cowan University.
"Prison officers today play an important and every-expanding role in our criminal justice system," the Minister said.
"While they receive comprehensive training in the security and control of prisoners now, more than ever, they are skilled in many different areas ultimately designed to help reduce the recidivism of offenders and stop their return to prison.
"The graduates involved in today's ceremony have studied communication and conflict resolution and basic psychology and sociology. They are also trained to be on the alert for signs that a prisoner may attempt to harm themselves or others."
Mr Minson said prison officers' responsibilities now extended beyond basic custody and care and included a greater role in rehabilitation.
"Offenders are part of the wider community and the community has an expectation that offenders will leave the prison system to make a more positive contribution to society," he said.
"The State Government has significantly increased the funding of rehabilitation and skills development for prisoners and there is an increasingly greater role in this process for prison officers."
Greenough's new prison officers will work under probation for six months and are expected to help staff the prison's new 52-bed wing currently under construction.
Mr Minson said the Ministry of Justice had recently launched a recruiting drive for prison officers which would see the employment of 120 new officers across WA in the next year.
Media contact: Caroline Lacy (09) 222 9211