Leadership Development Programme
Unlocked officers attend an intensive six-week training programme before beginning work as a prison officer and continuing their training on the job throughout the two years.
Unlocked Graduates work as frontline prison officers, supporting men and women to turn their lives around whilst also leading system reform.
The day-to-day activities vary, with the primary focus being on maintaining the security and well-being of everyone, as well as supporting prisoners to engage with beneficial activities. Prison officers build relationships with the prisoners in their care, while always being aware of any challenges to prison safety. As graduates on a prestigious and demanding programme, Unlocked officers are expected to identify actions and strategies that help prisoners rehabilitate and break the cycle of reoffending. That could mean accessing courses within the prison’s education and skills programme, maintaining or renewing contact with family on the outside, or offering additional teaching in literacy or numeracy while on the prison wing.
Or it could just mean listening to prisoners and helping them confront their situation.
Unlocked Graduates implement change to increase the likelihood of rehabilitation. All Unlocked Graduates complete a fully-funded, bespoke master’s degree alongside their fulltime role, and can contribute a policy paper to the Ministry of Justice during their second year.
The role of an Unlocked prison officer means being an advocate, negotiator, diplomat and leader all at the same time – and understanding how small changes on the inside can yield life-changing progress on the outside. Unlocked officers develop skills in leadership, communication, relationship-building, decision-making and resilience – all of which are valuable in a wide range of working environments.
At the end of the two-year programme, Unlocked expects graduates either to progress into careers where their experience and knowledge of the issues surrounding rehabilitation will enable them to take positions of responsibility and advocate for further positive change, or to remain with the prison sector and lead further change from the inside.