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I was a Prison Officer for 20 years AMA

24 replies

ilovewelshrarebit123 · 12/07/2018 13:25

I was a Prison Officer for 20 years in two male prisons. I'm female).

As away!

OP posts:
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Dottierichardson · 12/07/2018 13:29

What do you think about trans women, who remain anatomically male being in women's prisons? Does it pose any health/safety issues for them or for the women they share with?

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camelfinger · 12/07/2018 13:29

Hello. When you see cuffed prisoners in hospital but with other members of the public, are they cuffed because they are dangerous or because you don’t want them to escape?

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notme999 · 12/07/2018 13:30

Are some of the other officers corrupt? Like bring in Contriband for the other prisoners?

Excuse me if that's laughable I must watch too much tv haha!

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PinkThread · 12/07/2018 13:32

Current prison officer here. Have lots of these ThanksThanksThanks because I know for certain that you'll likely need them after most days at work!

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Dottierichardson · 12/07/2018 13:35

According to the charity Women in Prison, mental health issues are a significant issue for female prisoners:

'Women prisoners, mental health and self-harm

Women account for a disproportionate amount of self-harm in prison; despite making up only 5% of the population women accounted for 21% of all incidents of self-harm in prison in the year to June 2016.

Women in custody are five times more likely to have a mental health concern than women in the general population.

46% of women in prison report having attempted suicide at some point in their lifetime. This is twice the rate of men (21%) and more than seven times higher than the general population.'


What is being done in prisons to support these women? And how has lack of funding for recreational and rehabilitative resources impacted on their well-being, and indeed those of their fellow inmates?

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Dottierichardson · 12/07/2018 13:37

Oh and what support/training in dealing with mental health issues are prison officers, such as yourself, being given?

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GarethSouthgateWould · 12/07/2018 13:38

The OP works in male prisons Dottie.

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Dottierichardson · 12/07/2018 13:38

I know you worked in a male prison btw but assume you are in touch with wider community of officers? Do you think btw there are any specific issues for women working in male prisons?

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HeyDolly · 12/07/2018 13:40

Have you ever felt frightened at work?

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PinkThread · 12/07/2018 13:41

Please OP answer very carefully and wisely re these questions. I know, that sounds awfully patronising - you're welcome to flame me for it. It's from one prison officer to another however, I have very good intentions. The prison service has had a lot of bad press recently and even the slightest negative comment, or for example if you were to say that you had absolutely zero training re mental health problems (not saying this is the case), could quite easily be turned in to a news story!

Again, all the best and take care.

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PsychedelicSheep · 12/07/2018 13:59

Is there a culture in prison officers to 'other' the inmates and almost dehumanise them in order to cope with the demands of the job?

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Dottierichardson · 12/07/2018 14:13

Gareth we crossposted, but many transwomen are in male prisons, some stay there so the officer may have knowledge of what the prison system is like for them. Also many are in men's prisons before being transferred. Also people in professions often have opinions about the areas they work in without it being their direct experience. I'm sure that someone working in the health system has, for example, opinions about depts/areas they don't actually directly engage with.

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Dottierichardson · 12/07/2018 14:15

If she can't answer I'm sure she's capable of saying that herself, many women are you know!

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Freshprincess · 12/07/2018 14:18

the press like to paint prisons as five star hotels and prisoners living the life of Riley.
How close is that to the truth?

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PinkThread · 12/07/2018 14:23

@Dottierichardson no need to be snarky - I'm giving her a heads up. She probably doesn't need it but being a prison officer who has to see shite posted all over the press about prisons and officers I was just a little concerned about this thread. That's all. I have much respect for OP for doing the job, it's an incredible feat at times to even get yourself out of bed in the morning and get your uniform on so it's in no way a dig at OP.

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GarethSouthgateWould · 12/07/2018 14:28

There aren't 'many' transwomen in male prisons. Just over 100 out of the 80,000 male prison population.

And I know women are capable of speaking for themselves considering I am one.

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StarBurstx · 12/07/2018 14:36

What category prison have you worked in?

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HeyDolly · 12/07/2018 14:48

I wouldn’t blame the OP if she didn’t come back to this thread Hmm

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PinkThread · 12/07/2018 15:04

@HeyDolly it's not the type of thing people should be starting AMAs about to be honest. That's just my opinion based on the turmoil the prison service is in at the moment and also the way sites such as the daily mail use mn to write stories about topics such as this. I can just imagine it now. It causes so much trouble for prison officers.

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GarethSouthgateWould · 12/07/2018 15:09

PinkThread - agreed. The prison service is on its knees. And as the government keep banging on about their 2,500 new PO recruits without saying almost 2000 have already left..retained officers don't need any more trouble.

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Urbanbeetler · 12/07/2018 15:15

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a timely reminder to be careful about what and how much you reveal on these threads.

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PinkThread · 12/07/2018 15:20

I'm really not trying to be awkward. Being a prison officer is gruelling. It's unforgiving work and we are the forgotten service in my eyes. We shouldn't however be starting threads online for people to ask questions on in order to satisfy their curiosity. By all means write a post to educate around some basic facts of prison life, but people asking questions on AMAs tend to want to know the gritty details. For example about bent staff, officers dehumanising prisoners, mental health training, the impact of lack of sources, contraband being brought in etc etc. It's a disaster waiting to happen and officers like me are the ones that suffer because of the bad press.

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StaplesCorner · 12/07/2018 15:24

the press like to paint prisons as five star hotels and prisoners living the life of Riley. How close is that to the truth? Just in case the Op can't answer that one, I once worked with a charity in Feltham Young Offenders' Institute; many of the officers were deeply affected by what they saw as was I - its shocking. I wonder how long you have to be in that environment to become inured to it.

One of my neighbours is an officer who accompanies inmates to court, she talks about the young boys whom she asks "who's with you in court today?" and she knows they are going to say "no one". I suspect people like this make up the majority of those incarcerated at any one time - either they're villains or they're victims as one of my colleagues used to say.

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GarethSouthgateWould · 12/07/2018 15:45
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