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Spotlight On... Prison Officer

  • Publish Date: Posted over 4 years ago
  • Author:by Vincent Kerrigan

Here at Service Care Solutions we cover such a broad range of roles that we thought it may be helpful to give prospective job seekers an insight into different jobs and areas of work.

One of the things we pride ourselves in is that we are specialists within certain industries and services. A prime example of this is Criminal Justice, a division of our company that is thriving. We source and look after a variety of roles, from forensic nurses to prison escorts. Here, we speak to a Prison Officer to get some insights about her role.

How did you get into this line of work?

I went straight from University, but you don't need a degree. I had no experience in this type of role but I passed the assessment day which involved an English and Maths test, fitness test and a situation test. You get 3 months training before actually going onto the wing.

What does your average day look like?

Primarily, my role is wing based so most of my duties are around this. Duties differ depending on the shift you are on (typical shifts were 7.30am-12.30pm,, 7.30am-5pm, or 7.30am-6.30pm, or 12.15pm-9pm, or a night shift 8.45pm- 7.45am).

It is all very regimented for obvious reasons; timing is everything. The daily tasks depended on what shift you were on; a morning shift started at 7.30.

8am- Unlock for breakfast and medication.

8:45am: 'Labour' (those who work) go to their place of work/education (all based in the prison). This is also be the time that anyone being released that day would be taken to reception and cell moves would take place- e.g. Prisoners from the 'first night centre' moved into general population.

9.30am: Domestics (chance for prisoners who haven't gone to work or education to clean their cells and shower or use the phone).

10am: Exercise - outside in the yard for 30 minutes.

11:00am: Labour would come back, everyone locked up ready to get ready for lunch.

11:30am: Lunch for the wing.

12:15pm: Roll check done - make sure everyone was accounted for. Lunch time for staff.

1:30pm: Unlock for afternoon labour/visits. The afternoons were less busy on my wing.

4:30pm: Labour returned to the wing, everyone unlocked for association (social time), dinner and medication.

6:00pm: Lock up for the night, roll check.

6:30pm: Home time for main shift staff - 1 member of staff would stay on duty on each wing until 9pm when night staff took over.

That is a standard day, assuming there are no issues on the wing or within the prison. An alarm bell going off could easily disrupt regime depending on how long it took to resolve. Other tasks would also include checks on those who were self harm/suicide risk, helping prisoners with queries and moving prisoners around the prison.

What do you enjoy about the role?

I love that no two days are the same - the variety is great. I also find it really comforting that staff always have each others backs. It's really supportive environment and I felt safe. I also think that the role is quite social - you get to know a lot of people from all walks of life which can be really interesting.

What did you find challenging?

It can be difficult with irregular hours but you do get used to that. The classroom-based training sometimes doesn't equip you for the real-life scenarios but I think things are improving in this area. Obviously dealing with criminals has risks - you're never quite sure how they are going to react in certain situations!

If you are looking for a role within Criminal Justice, please call 01772 208 962 or email

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