Prison officers, are the main front lines of the staff in Prison Service; they are the ones who are solely in charge of maintaining the security of the prison and the inmates (Prison officers n. d. ). They are the ones who supervise people who are in prison; it means that they are in charge of the inmates’ physical, mental, spiritual and mental needs, including their rehabilitation and training. It is their sole responsibility to ensure the prisoner’s wellbeing while inside the prison; they should make sure that the inmates under them are safe from harm that can be inflicted by other people inside or even by themselves (Prison officers n. d. ).
They are expected to encourage those who are under their charge to improve themselves for the sake of himself and other people dear to them, like their family and friends. The job of a prison officer is a very challenging one. They are expected to have good relationship with the inmates by sharing compassion and understanding towards them in order to help them cope up while they are inside the prison, however, they should still maintain their ability to impose authority on them (HM Prison Service 2004).
In addition, they should also provide a friendly and healthy environment for the inmates in order to reduce fear and anxiousness from the them, this is also needed to help the inmates open up with them since they are in need of people they can be able to trust while they are inside the prison since their family are not mostly with them. However, their tasks still varies depending to the level of security of the inmates that the prison they are in has, also, higher prison officers have more responsibilities like supervising other prison officers or even administering an area of the prison.
Aside from being a personal confidante to the inmate, there are still other professional tasks that a prison officer has to do (Prison officers n. d. ). They are in charge of performing security check and search procedures by checking security systems and conducting patrol duties. They should keep the accounts of the inmates under their charge and to sustain proper order inside the prison. In addition, aside from supervising the inmates, they should also supervise their visitors. Escorting the inmates is also one of their tasks, as well as providing them all the information they need.
Aside from being their escort, they also serve as their counselors; they should provide them advice that they need as well as access to professional health. Moreover, they are expected to take care of the inmates’ property. As their counselors, they should help the inmates in making a plan that he may follow while inside the prison (Department of Corrective Services n. d. ). Giving them appropriate advises and support is thoroughly needed in order to avoid the inmates to hurt themselves especially those who are prone to self-harm.
They have the right to use physical control and restraints but they should only use them if necessary. They should never forget that the inmates have their own rights, dignity and personal responsibility since that will help in establishing a good working relationship with them (Prison officers 2007). Also, they are expected to take part in imposing anti-bullying and suicide preventing policies; furthermore, they are also expected to support rehabilitation programmes and workshops like for recreational, industrial, vocational, and training activities, for the inmates (Department of Corrective Services n. d. ).
Lastly, they are expected to write and give reports about the inmates that they are in charge with without any bias. Overall, the major task of a prison officer is to supervise every aspect of the inmate’s everyday life while inside the prison (Department of Corrective Service n. d. ). Supervision requires the dissemination of knowledge; it also involves guiding, guarding, observing and evaluating, and developing a relationship between the one supervising and the one being supervised (Falender 2007). A supervisor should measure the person he is going to supervise through his readiness, competence and concern.
Though it is not easy, the challenges in being a supervisor can be eased with experience, growth, development and enthusiasm. According to Falender (2007), there are a lot of definitions for supervision; in fact, in a course that she offered entitled “You Said What? – Becoming a Better Supervisor”, she included few definitions of supervision. In one of the definitions used by Falender is by Bernard and Goodyear (1998), it was said that supervision is a relationship between two unequal individuals with the goal of being equal with one another.
It is a challenge in equalization, like between the prison officer and an inmate; one has authority while the other has none but the prison officer who supervises the inmate should be able to create a friendly relation with the other without diminishing his authority. Another definition by Bernard and Goodyear (2004) is that supervision is an intervention of the one above to the one below where both people belongs to the same profession.
It has simultaneous purposes like enhancing the performance of the people below, monitoring the quality of services offered to the clients, and serving as the “gatekeeper” for those who are set to enter the said profession. Though this does not apply on the relationship between the prison officer and the inmate, this can be more suitable between two prison officers – the younger prison officer and an older prison officer. The senior prison officer guides those who are new the profession and at the same time evaluate their skills and actions.
In another definition was by Falender and Shafranske (2004), though it focuses more on clinical supervision, they defined supervision as a professional activity which involves observation, evaluation, self-assessment and feedback, learning of knowledge and skills through instructions, problem solving, enhancing self-efficiency, and focusing on the strengths or edge of the supervisee. This definition highlights the notion of collaboration that takes place between the one supervising and the one being supervised in where they learn things from each other.
In prison setting, the prison officer who supervises an inmate, he must be able to help him cope up while he is inside the prison by making him join some of the prison’s programmes especially if the inmate has certain skills in that can be used in vocational or industrial activities. Through this, the prison officer is also helping to boost the inmate’s efficiency in some aspects and to help him learn new things that he may be able to use in the future. Moreover, due to the counseling duties, it is possible that the prison officer may also learn various things from inmates who have already undergone through a lot.
Another definition was offered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards or ASPPB. According to their definition, supervision is a kind of relationship that centers on development, enhancing and evaluation of the supervisee in every aspect – through behavior, skills and knowledge. Though it is for practicing psychology, it can fit the setting of a prison officer and an inmate. Like the other definitions that were mentioned, it focuses on three aspects – the development, enhancement and evaluation of the one being supervised.
In supervising an inmate, the main objectives of a prison officer is to develop the inmate in a positive way, enhance his skills that can be useful for him once he finally gets to leave the prison, and evaluate his behavior while he is inside. In supervision, there are also theories and models that will help one in carrying out effective supervision. According to Makin (2007), one of the most common models that are used is the “Seven-Eyed Model for Supervision. ” This model was developed by Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet, and they discussed this in their book entitled “Supervision in the Helping Professions.
” They developed this model particularly for supervisors who work with individuals, groups and organisations; this model is said to be supporting the supervisor in building and developing expertise in several levels of knowledge (Coach Supervision Academy n. d. ). The said model is believed to be an effective framework as it includes different areas that supervision can work on (Makin 2007). It is also said that it merges attention to the finer points of work – the beliefs, feelings and experience of the supervisor, the interaction that takes place and the relationship itself.
The seven eyes of the Seven-Eyed Model, according to the Coach Supervision Academy or CSA, are the following: In the Coach/Mentor System, the center of attention is on the situation itself, the problems that need to be solved and how the issues are presented (Coach Supervision Academy n. d. ). This system’s objective is to focus the coach’s attention on the client and their choices. In a prison setting, the prison officer might have problems regarding this because the inmates may be reluctant to open up with the prison officer. Due to this, the prison officer would not be able to help the inmate to solve the problem at hand.
The prison officer will have to effectively persuade and convince the inmate to open up himself to him; this will also hinder the potential of developing a friendly relationship between the two people involve. When it comes to the Coach/Mentor Intervention, the focus is on interventions used and done by the coach and how, when and why they are used (Makin 2007). It also involves discussing the consequences that the interventions might bring. However, in this system, the coach will be able to explore every option he has in order to help his client.
When in comes between the prison officer and the inmate, this interventions that the prison officer will make use might cause conflict with the inmate. Most inmates will have the tendency to close themselves from other people and would not welcome any kind of interference from other people especially prison officers. Persuasion and establishing good rapport is important in order for the inmate to welcome the prison officer’s interventions. The third system is the Relationship between the Coach/Mentor and their client. In this system, the concentration is on the relationship, between the coach and the client, itself.
It can help the coach gain greater understanding of the dynamics of their relationship with their client (Makin 2007). Information can be gathered through this system, information that can help the coach to provide the kind of service his client needs. This system can be useful when it comes to a prison officer-inmate relationship; however, they should have already made a connection with one another, or if not, the prison officer can see what is wrong between their relationship and should do something in order to correct any mistakes.
This could be challenging, especially if the prison officer and inmate has an unpleasant relationship with each other, the prison officer should be able to reach out to the inmate not only through persuasion. Next system is the Coach/Mentor’s Own Experience wherein the focus is on the coach – his wellbeing and self-development – and how he is affected with his work and his relationship with his client (Makin 2007). This system can help the coach in increasing their capability in connecting with their clients and in handling their responses.
In this system, reflecting and evaluating oneself is needed, the coach has to think about how he will improve while helping their clients and he has to see if there is something bothering that improvement. When it comes to a prison officer, he should be able to hold his ground since the inmate’s response may be full of negativity. He should not let that negativity to swallow him in order to progress, he should be able to encourage himself to stay firm. The Parallel Process is the fifth system where the focus is now on the relationship between the coach and his supervisor.
This system guarantees that the supervisory relationship is working well and that the coach-client relationship is corresponding with the supervisory relationship (Makin 2007). In this system, one will be able to feel how it is to be a client where both the supervisor and the coach can achieve new learning. As for the prison setting, this can work on the relationship between a senior prison officer and a young prison officer, open communication is needed in order to work with this system.
This is difficult to some because other senior prison officers are filled with pride that they do not trust the younger officers can do the right thing since they are different, thus, the senior prison officer should be open to new knowledge and skills that the younger could offer. Another system is the Supervisor’s Own Self-Reflections where the supervisor focuses on his own experience during supervising the supervisee or clients. This system aims to bring out new information from the supervisor that can help the coaches that he is supervising (Makin 2007).
Senior prison officers should find ways in order to help the younger officers through own experiences, though the younger officers could be stubborn at times, they must use their experience in reaching out. Lastly, the seventh system is the Wider Context. In this system, the attention is not solely to one aspect or area but in supervision as a whole. It focuses on the ethical, organisational, contractual, social and cultural part of supervision (Coach Supervision Academy n. d. ).
In this system, the supervisor should not only focus to his skills and to his supervisee’s capabilities but also to the client’s needs as well, same goes for the coach, he should not only focus on his progress but also to his relationship with his supervisor and his client. This is important in being a prison officer, he should not only focus on how to impress his senior and how he could improve as a prison officer, he should be able to provide the needs of the inmate in every aspect.
He should not only focus on writing reports regarding the inmate but also for his wellbeing that is why he should converse and establish rapport with him. Communication is an essential requirement in being a prison officer. Through this skill, he is able to supervise the inmate in a proper way. The theory is efficient in helping a prison officer, though there may be challenges, these can be put aside with being a good communicator. In itself, being a communicator is challenging, evoking the prison officer to be constantly prudent and tactful in all his interfaces with the inmates.
References Coaching Supervision Academy n. d. , The 7-eyed model for coaching supervision. Retrieved February 13, 2008, from http://www. coachingsupervisionacademy. com/our_approach/ the_7_eyed_model_for_coaching_supervision. phtml Department of Corrective Services n. d. , Prison officers. Retrieved February 9, 2008, from http://www. correctiveservices. wa. gov. au/P/prisonofficers. aspx Falender, C 2007, “You said what? ” – Becoming a better supervisor. Retrieved February 12, 2008, from http://www. continuingedcourses.
net/active/courses/course024. php HM Prison Service 2004, Prison officers. Retrieved February 9, 2008, from http://www. hmprisonservice. gov. uk/careersandjobs/typeswork/prisonofficer/ Makin, L 2007, The seven-eyed model of supervision. Retrieved February 12, 2008, from http://coachmentorsupervisionlizmakin. blogspot. com/2007/08/seven-eyed-model-of- supervision. html Prison officers n. d. Retrieved February 10, 2008, from http://www. politics. co. uk/issue- briefs/public-services/prisons/prison-officers/prison-officers-$366688. htm
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