Become a prison officer at Melbourne Assessment Prison and Courts


Melbourne Assessment Prison, otherwise
known as MAP, is the first point of contact for all alleged offenders coming into the
corrections system in Victoria. You will work with all types of alleged
offenders across the full gamut of crime. So you have to be the kind of person who can
be professional around anyone, treat them professionally and compassionately, because
you will never know their full story. MAP is a very fast-paced prison. We
typically have 25 prisoners each day, so you’re always on your toes, there’s always something
to do. MAP is one of two specialist mental
health prisons in the state, for mentally unwell prisoners. Our Sentence Management
Unit plays a key role in all of their assessments. If you get a job at MAP, you’re likely
to work both at MAP and the Courts. At Courts you do Monday to Friday, regular work. There’s
a variety of offenders, including men and women and also young offenders. While at MAP,
it’s shift work with a rotating roster. As a prison officer, you can have different
posts. So some days you may work in reception, where the new prisoners are incoming. You
will help distribute meals, escort prisoners to medical appointments. Working in a unit,
you’re doing observations on someone who may be feeling vulnerable and responding to incidents
that may occur. We deal with prisoners that are withdrawing
from drugs, so we get a lot of unpredictable behaviour. We have a few fellas here that can
be escalated and it requires us as officers to be cool, calm and collected, just so they
can be de-escalated and we can work with them in a better way. You’ve got to be relaxed
and not too stressed in this job. I’ve only recently become a prison
officer. Initially there was that feeling of being intimidated. In most cases we’re
dealing with everyday people who have maybe made different decisions, and it hasn’t been
as hard as I thought it might be. I’m a real people person. I really
believe you have to have that in this job. You’re working intensely with people and consistently
need your communication skills to be exceptional. In this job, the teamwork is essential.
To do our job, we all have to work together and we stick together as a team all the time. Empathy is super important, and compassion
too. Simply being here is a tough and testing time for a lot of prisoners and there’s a
lot going on in their lives. You’re here to maintain the security of the facility and
protect the public. Often the best way of doing that is to develop a positive relationship
with the offenders. I think good prison officers come from
all different walks of life and all professional backgrounds. It comes down to life experience,
good communication skills and a desire to make a difference. If we’re going to reduce crime in
our state, then we have to do a good job of showing that prisoners can reform and stay
connected with their families and community. Going to prison once does not mean you’re
destined for a life of crime. So it’s really important that we are positive role models
for these men. I decided to take the prison officer
role on because it really suited my family life, the hours, the roster system, the shift
work. Being a prison officer has given me
the chance to work with human beings and contribute, even if it’s one percent, to changing somebody’s
life and making the community a better place. There’s good job security and rewards
for well performing staff. There are a lot of directions that you can go into, there
are higher duties, there are secondment opportunities and promotions as well, and the pay is good
too. Obviously MAP and Courts are in a
perfect position in the city, right near Southern Cross and Flagstaff station. I park my car at the station, I get
the train straight in to work and it’s easy to get home as well. I don’t have to worry
about traffic. There’s no average day on this job,
and that’s the reason why I like it. You get the opportunity every day to be doing something
different, it’s never ever boring or monotonous. It’s an exciting job and that’s why I love
it.

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