Hello Ladies (and Gents), i am looking into doing some voluntary work in the local prison and also with ex-offenders. I have research what its like to work in a prison etc, but its not the same as talking to someone who has actually worked inside a prison is it. So, i am wondering if anyone can tell me a bit about it, i.e. What is your role? are you well supported? do you enjoy your job?
I am an ex-Probation Officer. I wasn't based in a prison although I went in to interview/visit offenders.
A couple of colleagues did work in prisons and they told me about their experiences. Largely, they described a very "macho" environment which could be difficult for women to fit in to. One ended up putting in a grievance after a lengthy period of appalling behaviour by male staff. Another colleague mentioned that it was a tense environment, very much focused on risk and security (obviously).
A 3rd colleague worked in a different capacity within a prison (she was employed by an external organisation) and she was slightly separate from the main staff (as you might be if you are a volunteer). She really enjoyed it, wasn't really involved in the daily politics of the prison and worked with offenders who wanted to see her rather than offenders who were compelled to do so. I know this is all second hand but wanted to pass it on. Hope it is of some use.