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Work and training

Who can work?

Any prisoner may be directed to work in any prison industry or work program except prisoners who are:

  • on remand
  • on an emergency detention order, detention or interim detention order under the Serious Offenders Act 2018.

See s. 84H—Corrections Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

All sentenced prisoners under 65 years of age will participate in employment and/or education and training programs while in prison. Prisoners who are:

  • older than 65, or
  • on remand

are not required to work but may choose to work if work is available.

Prisoners with illness or acute mental illness certified by a qualified health professional are not required to work.

See DCI 3.03 Prison industries in Deputy Commissioner's Instructions.

Work available

Each prison will have different kinds of work available, such as:

  • prison industries
  • gardening
  • farming
  • billet duties such as cleaning prison areas.

The Prison industries unit of each prison engages private industries to provide suitable employment for prisoners. They are also responsible for providing skill development and vocational training.

Assigning of work

The Case Management Review committees assign prisoners to jobs on the basis of:

  • skills
  • previous employment, and
  • security rating.

Note: About 25 percent of the jobs at the Metropolitan Remand Centre are assigned jobs. This means that the prisoner has no choice, but has work allocated to them.

Applying for work

Prisoners can also apply for advertised positions like working in the library. Alternatively, they can apply to be transferred from one job to another if there is a vacancy.

Work outside the prison

Under some circumstances a prisoner can get approval from the Secretary to work outside the prison.

See rr. 51, 52, 53, 54, 55—Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window)


Prison staff will make sure that prisoners are informed about how to undertake training that is relevant to the kind of work that they do or that they would like to do.

The prison staff are also required to identity skills that a prisoner may have and help to develop these skills to help the prisoner to find work.

See Prison programs and facilities.

Length of working week

Prisoners can be required to work up to 30 hours and should be paid for each hour of work according to the relevant scale. Prison industries usually operate on a six-hour day over a five-day week, or six-hour and forty minute days over a nine day fortnight.

Prisoners working in service industries and agriculture/horticulture may be required to work weekends, public holidays and/or early/late hours.

See r. 43—Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window). and DCI 3.03 Prison industries in Deputy Commissioner's Instructions.

More information


Corrections Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 84H—prisoners may be directed to work

See Corrections Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • 43—payment for work and work hours
  • r. 51 – 55—deals with work outside the prison

See Corrections Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).