Working as a prison officer in the UK’s criminal justice system

Criminal justice jobs can cover a whole variety of different careers. Most of us are aware of police officers, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and many more beyond that. Often some of these careers can be overlooked when people are thinking about jobs within this sector.

In this article, we will be looking at one of these careers, that of a prison officer. There’s no denying that this can be a challenging job, but can also be very rewarding in terms of job satisfaction. Hopefully by the end of this article you will think twice about the role of prison officer and all that it entails.
prison officer in the UK

Day to Day Involvement

In your day to day role as a prisoner officer, you will be supervising and managing prisoners, during both day and night shifts. This can be an all encompassing position. This might involve performing security checks, as well as search procedures to make sure prisoners are complying with the rules of the prison. You will go on patrol duties, overseeing different areas of a prison.

You will also supervise visitors to the prison, as well as supervising prisoners on external visits, such as when they need to go to hospital. There are both safety and security issues involving these elements. Unfortunately, while rare, escapes can and have happened. Extra attention needs to be paid when transporting prisoners to and from the facility, as well as when outside on the commons grounds and areas.

Caring for the Prisoners

The wellbeing of each and everyprisoner should be a top concern of any prison officer. So you’ll often have to advise and counsel prisoners, while making sure they have access to professional help when needed.

This will be done alongside providing care and support for vulnerable prisoners and those at risk of self harm. It is important to remember, you must always keep prisoner’s rights and dignity at the forefront of your mind when performing any task in a prison.

Prison officers also take an active part in rehabilitation programs, such as workshops prisoners might attend. After all, rehabilitation is the cornerstone of incarceration, which is an element to prison life that many often forget.

Response Time is Critical

There can also be issues that need quick response within prisons. You can be expected to be ‘first on scene’ for any number of incidents and work to resolve the issue as quickly and harmoniously as possible. When these incidents occur, it is key you successfully liaise with other officers and professionals within the prison to make sure the most substantial response to these incidents is provided.

Administrative Tasks are Part of the Job

On the administration side of things, you will also need to constantly provide prisoner reports. While also making records across the prison are uniform and correctly updated. You will also prepare other relevant reports and documentation for managers, alongside reports needed for quality checks.

There will usually be set hours within a rotation for these admin jobs to be completed. As you need to ensure that you are 100% focused on your duties as a prison guard when on a normal shift. Thus the administrative tasks and duties, while important, needs to be kept as separate as possible.

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