A COUPLE who packed in their old jobs to go and work in a challenging work environment have recommended the unusual career choice to others.
Desmond Machingura and Rebecca Morrow, from Huddersfield, joined the first-time prison officer recruitment scheme last year.
The couple, now based at HMP Stocken in Rutland, have urged others to consider the job that allows them to help rehabilitate prisoners and reduce re-offending.
Prison officers do face violence and threats of violence in their place of work.
Staff at high security prison have to work with dangerous offenders who have been convicted of serious crimes, including rape and murder.
Gangs and organised crime groups also have some influence on the prison system, which puts many people off from working in the sector.
Rebecca, now an interventions facilitator, helps prisoners change their behaviour and rehabilitate before release.
Speaking to Yorkshire Live she said: ” We wanted to live in a more rural area and we’re renting a house nearby.
“I have family members in the North East who have worked in prisons and told me what a great career it can be. I worked with teenagers with special education needs previously, so there are some transferrable skills.
“We’re engaged and planning to get married in the village, and we’d love to stay and settle down in this area.
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“We love the area. We’ve visited places like Rutland Water and Stamford. It’s a great place to live and work.”
Desmond, who had experience of working with offenders in his previous career, said: “I wanted to see things from a broader perspective. I thought Rebecca would need some convincing after I applied first, but she was really open to the idea.
“The people I work with are really helpful. I was a little unsure at first but I felt at home straight away.
“Everyone is approachable. We enjoy the job security and there are so many pathways for progression.”
The Governor of HMP Stocken, Russ Truman, said: “I was delighted to
welcome Desmond and Rebecca to HMP Stocken, a category C prison. They have settled into prison life well.
“We’re always on the lookout for people with good communication and influencing skills and effective decision-making,
to come and join us.”
Assaults on prison staff in England and Wales have increased by 247% in the past decade according to the latest figures.
The Ministry of Justice’s own data showed 7,979 attacks occurred in 2020 alone, the equivalent to 21 officers being physically assaulted each day.
The Community trade union,which represents many workers in privatised justice services, said this was “unacceptable”.
Prison officers now wear body-worn video camera while on shift to reduce the threat of violence. The new devices, rolled out earlier this year, have sharpened video and audio quality.
Prison bosses said the cameras were one part of a new £100m investment in the prison sector to help combat issues such as violence.
Officers are now armed with PAVA spray and police-style restraints to deal with violent offenders.
Starting salaries for prison officers in the London area vary from £34,140 to £36,140.
Across the south and south east starting salaries are from £32,702 to £34,202. Salaries in other locations start at £30,702.
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