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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 12:16 pm

Do You Need A DBS Check To Work In A Prison?

One question we don’t hear much but is nonetheless instructive regarding how DBS checks work is this: “Do you need a DBS Check to work in a prison?” Considering that DBS checks were designed to protect employers, customers, and members of vulnerable groups from dangerous individuals it might seem that people in prison don’t fall into any of those categories. As such, why would someone need to have a background check to work in a prison?

While the above argument makes a certain kind of sense, it overlooks one important fact: prisons are often dangerous places. As such, few people are as vulnerable as those in prison. Just because a person has been convicted of a crime, it does not strip him or her of their basic human rights and basic legal protections. So the people working in a prison must be of a high character.

What Sort of DBS Check to Work in a Prison?

Prisoners still have basic rights. So it’s important that the people working with them are of sufficient character to separate the person from the crime. Exactly which type of DBS check you will need if you plan to work in a prison will depend on a number of things. Let’s go through them now.


Regulated Activity

If a person aspires to work in a prison performing a regulated activity, they will need an Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List. Regulated activity, in this case, would include providing healthcare, dental care or social work to prisoners. Conveying prisoners from place to place or spending time alone with prisoners in any capacity also qualify.

Non-Regulated Activity

People working in prisons providing guidance or advice likely do not need an Enhanced Check with Barred List. Typically a regular Enhanced DBS Check will be sufficient. Note too that if they only come in contact with any single prisoner once or twice per month, a Standard DBS Check may be sufficient. Those working in prison libraries or on the prison cleaning staff should not need more than a Standard DBS Check as well. Those delivering to prisons likely won’t need more than a Basic DBS Check. Unless their deliveries bring them into direct contact with prisoners.

Working with Juveniles: Regulated Activity

Those aspiring to work in a young offender facility will need an Enhanced DBS Check. If they engage in regulated activity then they will need an Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List. Regulated activity, in this case, includes but is not limited to teaching, instructing, providing guidance, vocational training or driving a prison vehicle with young offenders onboard.


Non-Regulated Activity

Those who will not be engaged in regulated activity but will have incidental contact with the young offenders will still need an Enhanced DBS Check. This includes contractors who carry out occasional work in the institution and people working in the prison kitchen. Those working in the office of the institution who rarely if ever have contact with the young offenders may not need more than a Standard DBS Check.


Just because a person has been convicted of a crime and stripped of their freedom, it does not mean they have been stripped of their basic rights. As such, those who aspire to work in either adult or young offender facilities will need to apply for the appropriate DBS check as outlined above. Those DBS checks will typically range from Standard Checks to Enhanced DBS Checks with Barred List.

If you desire to work in the penal system in an adult or young offender institution but are unsure how to proceed give The Check People a call. We can determine exactly which type of DBS Check is appropriate for your desired position and simplify the application process for you.