Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice responsible for the correctional services in England and Wales.
They work with various partners to carry out the sentences given by the courts, either in custody or within the community.
They reduce reoffending by rehabilitating the people in their care through education and employment.
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Working in a prison environment can be a rewarding experience with prison staff having career spans of over 20 years. However, the nature of prison work makes exposure to severe and potentially traumatising events,aggression, hostility and violence a potential. You will be provided with a range of training which will include methods to prevent, respond to and mitigate such events but nevertheless the risk of post traumatic event responses exists for the staff.
This document covers the generic risks and hazards associated to working in prisons and the control measures and actions to be taken in order to keep yourself and others in safe at all times. You will be given an induction on your first day which will cover risk specific to the particular prison where you are working. Do not start work without receiving a site induction.
Violence against staff within the prison service is being tackled by the prison authorities but remains a real danger to all staff: assaults comprised of almost 25% of all injuries reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) to prison staff. Relevant training will be given to support you in dealing with these situations. However, if a prisoner's behavior is unacceptable or if he/she disobeys prison rules then this must be reported to the prison staff immediately. All prisons run a programme to tackle aggressive behaviour and all incidents should be reported even when physical violence has not been used.
Microbiological issues Relevant control measures will be in place to avoid the contact with microbiological agents as determined by the Control of Substance Hazardous to Health assessment and you will be provided with relevant personal protective equipment for further protection. Prison Service policy is that free vaccine on request is available to all prison staff who come into contact with prisoners. Vaccination is regarded by the Prison Service as an additional safeguard, not a control measure. Blood and body fluids/products can be encountered in a number of ways. These include blood spills from accidents, assaults and suicides; human bites; needle stick injuries from drug taking equipment; dirty protests; faeces or urine thrown from cells (less of a problem with increasing in-cell sanitation); as well as normal maintenance work.Vigilance is required at all times in all areas
Dealing with prisoners - whilst carrying out your duties you may come in to contact with prisoners in the prison. All contact you have with prisoners must be handled in a professional manner.
Prisoners will often try to test out a new member of staff. They may try to trick you into doing things for them. If you are in any doubt about a prisoner's request, ask an experienced member of staff, your line manager, a prison officer or the Security Department at the prison. Prisoners can be loud and abusive. Remain calm and be polite but firm; the word will get around that you can't be intimidated.
Fire sare not uncommon in prisons with the majority being cell fires often intentionally set. Prisoners are allowed to have smoking materials in their cells. As far as possible, items of furniture, bedding and clothing are made of fire retardant materials, although this does not extend to the prisoners' clothing and private effects which may include some electrical equipment.Cell fires may be started for a number of reasons: as a suicide attempt, as an attack on someone else or their property, or as an attempt to get attention
Finally in case of emergency, alarm bells are placed at specific points throughout the establishment and it is in your interest to know where they are located in your working area. Look around whilst walking about and ask other staff to show you where the alarms are located.
When an alarm bell is activated the response is a number of uniform staff attending rapidly in that area.
Anyone can press an alarm bell because the alarm bell system is not only for your safety but also for the safety of prisoners. You can press it if you feel threatened, if you see prisoners fighting, etc. Never be afraid to hit the alarm bell, we would rather you hit it and not really need help than not to hit it and wished you had! Should you hit an alarm bell by mistake stay next to it and when uniformed staff attend admit it was hit in error and there is no problem.
Items you should not bring into the establishment Do not bring into the prison any item, which could be used or modified, for use as a weapon or aid to escape e.g. penknives, scissors or tools of any kind. The prison will provide you with the equipment you need.
Avoid bringing large amounts of cash, valuables, cheque books or credit cards into prison.These could make you target for the prisoners. Lock them in your car or, better still, leave them at home.
Mobile phones and sim cards must not be brought into the prison. It is a criminal offence. Leave your phone at home or lock it in your car.
It is an offence under the Prison Act, 1952 to bring into or out of the prison any parcels, monies, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, foodstuffs, letters or other items for prisoners or their friends or relatives.
Prison rules give the Governor authority to have all staff and their belongings searched at any time.