Security work is often seen as mundane work with no room for career advancement. The opposite is true, as you’ll find out once you become a prison officer. As a security worker dealing with inmates, there’s an abundance of prison officer ranks, and the highest in the profession is that o the prison governor.
Would you prefer doing this line of work?
If you’re career focused enough, then you would need to start towards gaining experience and that first begins with your prison officer training. Once you’re on the job, you’ll begin to gain hands on experience of what it’s like inside the walls of prisons. Demonstrating your abilities consistently, and attending any further training as required, you will then be able to work your way up the ranks. From supervisor, to warden, right through to achieving the rank of prison governor.
One way, and probably the simplest route is to further your career from within. You can start out as a prison officer and work your way up the ranks, gaining superiority and demonstrating a high level of proficiency, for which you could then apply for a managerial position, progressing to deputy governor and onto becoming a prison governor.
The other route you can take into the job is through career development with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). Once part of the graduate program, you’ll go through extensive training to get a full inside knowledge of the prison service, and given all the essential training you’ll need to act in the best interests of prison officers, prisoners, and be taught management skills necessary to manage one of the most complex facilities in the UK. An HMP Prison
Should you choose to further your career to the top of your profession, you’ll be responsible for key areas within prisons. That will require you to…
Prisons are places of uncertainty and it’s up to the officers to deal with the environment, monitor the atmosphere, in order to predict if something is about to happening. They will be the frontline of the prison, with the people skills to get on with inmates, speak with them, and encourage them to invite change into their lives, and to turn away from crime. Through their time with inmates, they may find themselves picking up chatter amongst other inmates, and that’s then passed onto the deputy governor, then to the governor, in order to ascertain the best course of action to manage prison behaviour and maintain a safe environment for everyone on the facilities. It’s the governors job to act on the intelligence received from prison officers and other staff within the prison.
Prison governors will need to be seen by prisoners and it is advisable to find out who is under your care, as governor to ascertain the different needs of prisoners, in order for you to provide a suitable service that takes care of inmates. This is sometimes a necessity of the job, to avoid prisoners trying to take their own lives, if security measures aren’t in place to protect them from themselves. It’s not just protection from other inmates you have to consider, as self-harm is high in prisons, due to the sudden lifestyle change.
At governor level, you’re going to have to manage the prison budget. That’s managing taxpayers’ money, so you will be in the public eye, and held accountable for your actions. You need to ensure that budgets are managed efficiently and able to provide the best services at a minimum cost to the taxpayer and not overspending on items that could be considered a luxury.
You will need to hold regular staff briefings so that anything happening around the prison, you know exactly what is happening and when. You’ll also be able to build up solid relationships with prison staff, earning their trust and ensuring that if they have any issues, they can approach you. That could be anything from health problems affecting their work, to family issues, where they could be doing with a break or a cut in hours. You have to manage staff efficiently, and make them feel a part of a team. That will include extending the courtesy of keeping them up to date on future plans of the prison.
As a prison governor, you’ll be the face of the prison. Along with your key responsibility to manage the prison, you’ll also be representing the facility in front of and on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. You may also find yourself working the justice minister in parliament, consulting on the running of the prison, including identifying problem areas, staff issues, and anything that could affect the smooth operations of a prison, or run the operational budget over, and identify areas that costs be reduced.
In terms of the security in prisons, any issues will roll uphill and you’ll be held accountable for mishaps. You need to always ensure that security measures are held tight and no prisoner can escape. That will include implementing security measures for transportations arrangements when inmates have to leave the grounds, and ensuring that security measures are in place for public protection, during court visitations, or any other occurrence when inmates have to leave the facilities.
In a facility where you could have 800 prisoners and under 200 prison officers, the security is going to be among the most challenging roles you’ll face. Within the prison, security and safety are the key components you’ll be challenged with, but on top of that, you’ll have the political aspect of the job to manage as well, as you will be dealing with public funds, which need to be accounted for and justified.
The role of the Prison Governor is a highly demanding job, but it is there for the career focused, who want to excel in their role, progressing from a prison officer to managing the prison. For those are business minded and don’t feel they have the skills or the capability to be a prison officer, there is the option to train in management through the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).