14 Jan 2019
Icon - Day in the Life

First Impressions of a New Recruit at HMP Addiewell

The below blog was written by one of our new recruits at HMP Addiewell, Kerry, as she graduated from our seven week training programme to become a Prison Custody Officer. If you are interested in becoming a PCO, check out our latest vacancies

Everyone reads the papers, watches the news, listens to general gossip and stories, and as normal human beings without inside knowledge we have a perception of how a prison is, or should be, which in most cases will be your stereotypical bad guys behind bars with us as officers turning the key at the end of every night.

It wasn’t until we embarked on our training journey and pieced together our skills and fresh knowledge, that we came to realise it was much more than that. Week by week we flourished and progressed and become more open-minded individuals which is one of the most important skills you will ever use as a prison officer and working within the prison environment. Diversity and inclusion were probably the subjects we touched on that we thought was basic knowledge but in reality, every view is different from the other, although the end goal is still the same. No matter what age, gender, race or disability a person has, we must all treat everyone with the equal respect and dignity they deserve.

Addiewell can hold 700 people, people who are still human beings like ourselves. We don’t believe that every single one of those that we have are intentionally bad people, sometimes people make mistakes, sometimes people are in the wrong place at the wrong time and yes sometimes that’s just the life they deem as ‘normal’, but, although prison is established as punishment for any person who commits a crime, isolation itself from the outside world and life as they know it is the real punishment and therefore they shouldn’t have to live every day being treated inhumanely because of past experiences.

Kerry, PCO with Sodexo

Sodexo has three values. Team Spirit, Service Spirit and Spirit of Progress. These are values that are used not only within HMP Addiewell but Sodexo as a whole. A huge company, 420,000 employees, 100 services in 80 different countries that has and will keep thriving in many ways with great opportunities not only within Justice Services but across the globe for everyone. The training provided is second to none. We as a team at Addiewell take pride in what we do and understand the importance of safety and security within our establishment not only for our residents but each and every staff member. Every role is just as important as the other and we all work together as a great team.

Our aim as PCOs at HMP Addiewell is to improve the quality of life of our residents, better their wellbeing and employability prospects and to ultimately break the cycle of reoffending.

Not only are we Prison Custody Officers, we are educators, counsellors, social workers, mental health nurses, psychologists and everything else you unintentionally become due to our protective role we have in these people’s lives. It may not work for everyone, but our goal is to be the best role models we can be, being friendly but not friend, firm but fair, and help each resident on their journey through rehabilitation.

The last seven weeks of our training have been a very quick but intense journey for us all. Every skill was already there within, as we all have our own qualities, but now more emphasised by all the training we’ve went through to get here. Listening, empathising, decision making, negotiating. We can most definitely say we are all now raring to go and put everything we’ve learnt to valuable use and hopefully be the best PCO’s we can be and great assets to Sodexo Justice Services.




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