Emily shares that ‘I work with men twice my age and two feet taller despite being one of the youngest prison officials in the UK’ 

Emily shares that ‘I work with men twice my age and two feet taller despite being one of the youngest prison officials in the UK’ 

Published on December 30, 2022 01:21 AM by Anna P

(Image Credits: Daily mail)

A female prison guard who is one of the youngest in the UK described how she handles with male inmates who are "twice my age and a foot or two taller than me."

The youngest female officer on site at the time, Emily, 22, began working at the men's prison HMP Bedford when she was 20 years old.

Despite being "screamed and shouted at incessantly" by inmates on some days, the history graduate said she enjoys her job. One of her most challenging experiences was informing a whole wing of inmates that family visiting was canceled due to an unforeseen circumstance.

She described it as "emotionally taxing" and noted that some prisoners became enraged and started injuring themselves.

Rude remarks are frequent, but Emily, who usually assists men waiting to be sentenced, claimed that training had helped her "establish" herself.

Despite the pressure, she claimed that little victories like receiving a thank you card from a departing convict who described her as "smart" help her maintain her optimism. Despite being one of the few female staff members and the youngest, she claimed that caring for category B inmates had given her more strength and confidence.

It's one of the most difficult decisions I could have made, Emily said. "There are days when I sit and wonder what I'm doing. But it's incredibly fulfilling, and I feel so much more robust, powerful, and self-assured as a result.

"Nothing else compares to how it's taught me to view the world from a completely new perspective. I was informed before beginning the job that it was a "sink or swim" situation.

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As a young woman telling men twice my age and a foot or two taller than me what they can and cannot do, it does require a lot of confidence. You're undoubtedly in the thick of things; on some days, convicts will yell and scream at you nonstop, which will really put you to the test.

However, there are a lot of really great times where you feel as though you are beginning to change someone's life.

To get hired in 2021, Emily enrolled in a graduating programme called Unlocked Graduates. She uttered: "Although there were three other women there, I was the youngest.

"The amount of confidence I had when I first started honestly astonished me. I anticipated having to be. Everyone had warned me even back then that the first three to six months would be difficult, and they were.

The employees and prisoners don't know you at first, so you have to make an impression before you can develop relationships with them.

She claimed that in order to establish rapport with criminals and "establish standards and stick to them," she discusses movies and video games.

She added that at first, she received remarks about her age, but she had been prepared to handle any sexism.

She uttered: "In a prison for men, rude remarks are common, but after you establish yourself, less so. I never encountered a situation that I didn't feel capable of handling."

In a male prison, rude remarks are common, but not as much until you establish yourself, she said. I never encountered a situation that I didn't feel capable of handling.

It "would be dishonest to pretend violence never happens," according to Emily. Nevertheless, the team of police supports one another as needed. "You see people at their most human," she remarked.

"When incidents  do happen, inmates are frequently eager to talk about them. Your voice is your most effective tool. I am aware that I am entitled to the same respect as other officers.

The demanding job, according to Emily, can be "emotionally draining," and there are days when she needs to take a moment to collect herself. "Visits are extremely crucial for the prisoners," she added. "I had to convey the news, and it was dreadful to witness their reactions.

"There was a lot of despair and fury, and some prisoners even hurt themselves as a result. I've never had to endure such intense emotional suffering while others let all of their hatred and anger out.

But in reality, the only people they may express their emotions to in that place are the cops. That more than anything else put my fortitude to the test.

Her favourite experiences, according to her, have been hearing from clients that they are anticipating her one-on-one meetings.

When a prisoner expresses excitement at confiding in someone about their feelings, she said, "it feels like you're really making a difference."

"Since we don't pass judgment, we always treat those who are open to cooperating with us with respect. Prisoners frequently talk about their past and crimes in great detail. There are times when you can see mindsets shifting and people gaining a fresh perspective, which is fantastic."

Recently, a prisoner who was being released sent handwritten cards of gratitude to all the policemen on one wing. "My card claimed I was emotionally sophisticated and insightful above my years," she remarked.

Although he could see I was young, he could also tell how well I understood his predicament. Such heartfelt expressions of gratitude keep you going during difficult times and give you a lift when you need it. We post them in the staff room so that everyone can see them when they're having a bad day.

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