SCCJR Report on Training for SPS Staff

SCCJR Report on Training for SPS Staff

The work of prison officers is often a delicate balancing act. They must find the measure between the over-arching security concerns of their work as well as manage the often personal and supportive roles they take on with prisoners. If we are interested in transforming prisons, then we must also take interest in prison staff. As a recent  snapshot on prison officer research from the SCCJR states, people 'have all too often expended relatively little effort or imagination in grasping their position and its challenges'. 

The SCCJR have recently published their Annual Report, April 2013-March 2014. One of their many projects includes 'Developing a Professional Qualification for Scottish Prison Service: A Report on Exploratory Work'. The research was commissioned in the wake of the promising and ambitious SPS Organizational Review, 'Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives', which illustrated a desire to develop prison service staff training and skills. 176 interviews were conducted with prison staff in all of Scotland's prisons to give voice to their views, concerns and hopes for the proposed changes in professional training.


  • Some staff, particularly long-serving staff, were dubious professional training will enhance their working lives;
  • Others believed it was a beneficial suggestion, but doubted it would come to fruition;
  • The majority of staff embraced the idea of increased education and professional qualifications for prison staff;
  • The key areas identified by staff as requiring development were 'people skills, 'dealing with people' and 'insight';
  • The majority of staff were positive about engaging in more mentoring style relationships with prisoners.


  • Develop an externally credible course;
  • Develop core modules which 'would involve values, standards and behaviours as well as knowledge and understanding';
  • Opportunities for specialised training;
  • Encourage and make possible continued professional development.

For more from the SCCJR read here