Monday, January 28, 2008

Prison Officer Training - Attitudes, Thinking and Behaviour

In a recent discussion with a Prison Officer I was disheartened to hear that the training for officers is, for the most part, still seriously lacking in the foundations needed to ensure meaningful and appropriate communication in the delivery of support and advice to prisoners. Similarly, most junior grade governors apparently lack the necessary leadership training to promote and deliver change. Rather, the focus is still very much that of security and the management of bureaucratic processes.

NOMS has consistently promoted the concept for 'end to end offender management'. As part of that process, one of the Probation Service 7 Pathways to reducing re-offending is that of 'attitudes, thinking and behaviour'. Whilst undoubtedly admirable in its intention, clearly this process depends upon consistent delivery throughout an individual's sentence.

With the significant autonomy and differences in regime ethos retained by individual governors, plus the constant churn of prisoners from one establishment to another, the opportunity for appropriate support and advice to prisoners is diminished. One is left asking why it is that Prison Officers remain frustrated by the lack of training in the execution of their work to reduce re-offending, and why the system appears unwilling to address its own attitudes, thinking and behaviour as part of the journey for change.