As a prison officer you will be responsible for supervising and managing prisoners decently, lawfully, safely and securely, ensuring that the routines of the prison operate effectively. You are the individual who spend the most amount of time with the prisoners in your care and as such you are an important role model and a key figure in supporting them to desist from crime in the future.
Working closely with colleagues throughout the prison, you will keep the prison safe and secure for all by conducting searches on prisoners, staff and visitors and responding to and effectively managing the day-to-day challenges prisoners can present as ‘first on the scene’ and back up support.
While the role of a prison officer is not a desk job, keeping detailed records on centralised systems and completing timely reports are also an essential part of the role, and important in maintaining decency, safety and security.
You will need to follow national and local regulations and policies, and build and maintain strong professional relationships with your colleagues and the people in your care, while supporting prisoners to achieve their rehabilitation goals.
As a prison officer, you will be a key worker with responsibility for around 6 offenders. You will meet with the individuals on a regular basis to support their rehabilitation. This might involve encouraging participation in education, substance recovery programmes and maintaining links with family members.
There is no such thing as a typical day. Life can depend on the prison, its level of security and the prisoners. Most prisons work with a changing shift pattern of 39 hours a week. This can include some nights, weekends and public holidays (these days are added to your holiday allowance).
Unlocked Graduates is a UK charity which exists to break cycles of reoffending, with particular focus on breaking the link between disadvantage and reoffending. Currently prison is not a place which successfully does this: the average prisoner has 16 previous convictions and 48 percent of prisoners reoffend within a year of release. This is the problem which Unlocked Graduates exists to fix.
Prison officers are the agent of change for many prisoners. Of all the staff in prisons, they spend the most time with prisoners, they set the prevailing culture in prison, and we know that the most effective prison officers have a hugely positive impact on prisoners. Unlocked Graduates develops outstanding individuals to lead rehabilitation, and in doing so raises the status of the prison officer and makes the frontline of prisons a place where cycles of reoffending can be broken. We have successfully recruited, trained and placed five cohorts of over 500 extremely high potential graduates into prisons across the country. We are listed in the Times Top 100 Graduate programmes in the UK and are currently recruiting our sixth cohort of officers.
For more information: https://unlockedgrads.org.uk/
For an insight into a day in the life of a prison officer: https://unlockedgrads.org.uk/why/day-in-the-life/