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Am I too young? Small?

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LJSPO
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Am I too young? Small?

Post by LJSPO » Tue May 24, 2016 7:55 am

Hello everyone,

I'm 17 (18 in July), female, currently studying for A-Levels at sixth form- I've known for a long time I want to work in a prison setting or with offenders. My first plan was to train in nursing and then be a prison nurse, but then I decided nursing wasn't for me. After this I thought about a probation officer which is still an option- but the most appealing to me seems to be a prison officer.

My question is- am I too young to go into this job without much life experience? The age requirement is over 18 which makes me wonder why I couldn't do it at this age, but at the same time I can't see a 40 year old prisoner taking a 'teenagers' instructions massively seriously..

Another thing I'd like to know is regarding my size- does size really matter? I'm sure being big built is an advantage but is it more about being able to communicate effectively with the prisoners? I wouldn't call myself petite, but I'm not exactly big. I'm average size and average height, and it is not the verbal abuse that would worry me, it's the fact that if a large prisoner wanted to overpower me they probably could.

Being female doesn't worry me too much, as I've read many forums/blogs/posts of other females that are worried about being officers- and many people seemed to reply reassuring them that they sometimes even get more respect from prisoners etc.

Any help would be really appreciated!!

Thanks,
Lauren

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by Lancs » Tue May 24, 2016 12:27 pm

Hi Lauren.
I joined the service in 2008 at the age of 19, so I wouldn't discourage anyone joining because of age, height, size etc. However.... You seem like an intelligent person, the job now is different and it's getting more dangerous. I can't speak for every jail in the country but these are tough times.

Have you thought about starting as an Osg first? I would probably reccommend that. Starting as an Officer at 18 right now is a big ask.

Good luck.

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by LJSPO » Tue May 24, 2016 2:51 pm

Hi thanks for your reply- when you say it's getting more dangerous, is this due to budget cuts and under-staffing?

And also- i'm not too sure what an Osg is- i will do some research but could you briefly explain?

Thanks
Lauren

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by Fran » Tue May 24, 2016 7:11 pm

Hi Lauren.
I'm currently in week 8 of my training. Cant really help on the age (I am the oldest) but size I can comment. I am the shortest on my course at 5ft 0, then there are 2 other girls within a couple of inches, all petite. We have all passed everything on the course so far including CandR. Obviously we are still in training but we are all confident enough to think we can do the.job and manage prisoners of all sizes. Hope this helps on the size issue.

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by LJSPO » Wed May 25, 2016 7:38 am

Hello thanks for that, was very helpful! Do you have any idea of the age of the youngest person in your training group? I think I'm more worried about the age aspect than the size aspect now as I've been fairly reassured about my small size so thank you.

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by muse85 » Wed May 25, 2016 10:45 am

Hey Lauren

Firstly I'd like to say good work on having your head so screwed on at such a young age and knowing where your career path is.
Secondly, I think us females have many preconceptions of what it will be like working in a prison environment. It's wrong but the stigma that is attached to females working in these environments still exists and that's why you are having these concerns.
I am 30 now and I'd like to think I've had enough life experience to deal with this role effectively but I am still worried like yourself and I think that is just normal.
I'm 5 foot 4 and I weigh around ten stone. Alot of ppl world refer to me as petite i guess but that means nothing
It's not about physical strength like people seem to believe. It's about having compassion and understanding and being able to use and develop your interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively. Yes there will be times when it gets physical (this is obviously unpredictable and you just have to have your wits about you and remember c&r training if a situation arises where it needs to be implemented)... prison officers don't go around being bolshy and aggressive to prisoners and have physical stuff to deal with 100 percent of the time... on the flip side however it's all subjective and depends upon the category of your establishment etc.
You said you were worried about not having much life experience and it concerned you that it would hinder your development within the role. One thing I would say on that is that when a prison officer goes into the role as a newbie... regardless of life experience, age, gender etc it's all new for everyone and I guess no two experiences would be the same. You have age and stamina on your side which is very advantageous indeed! You are a blank canvas that can added to and I genuinely think starting this career so young is a very positive thing if it's definetly what you want to do.

The recruitment process is very long and pushes your patience to the limit. I applied initially back in November 2014 and have only just got my training dates through which start in August.

If you genuinely want to do it then go for it. Don't label yourself based on your perception of society views. Be strong and show them what you're made of!

Good luck ^_^
Follow through,make your dreams come true, don't give up the fight, you will be alright, coz there's no-one like you in the universe.

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by Tobias Funke » Wed May 25, 2016 12:14 pm

Hi, this is actually my first post!

As someone who is due to start officer training I can not speak on the prison front, but as someone who has done a fair amount of time I n the forces (sorry for being so unspecific, security and all) and tours with lads lasses, old and bold, thin and fat I can say that you should be fine, it's never about the shell you are in, it's about the ability of the mind, commanding and understanding come to us all at different ages, if it's come to you so early (I was still counting my toes at 18) then I can see big things for one with such maturity at your age (Im older than you, and I only really now feel capable of such a role).
Last edited by Tobias Funke on Thu May 26, 2016 8:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by LJSPO » Wed May 25, 2016 1:19 pm

Thank you for such a positive reply i feel a lot better about everything now!! I think as the process can be very lengthy I will apply once i'm 18 and then during the process will I get some experience behind me with people that have'challenging behaviour' as they put it- previously i did some volunteering in a psychiatric hospital which I enjoyed quite a lot!

Thanks again!!! :slcl: :slyay:

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by Kenbarlow16 » Wed May 25, 2016 1:56 pm

I carnt comment on your suitablity as i am yet to start the training my self, what I will say is i have worked in some of the most challenging environments possible within the care sector and in the millatry on many occasions alongside pettite young females and have found them to be just as if not more capable then some of the men they where working alongside. for me it comes down to the indivdual and you seem like a very smart young lady

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by Fran » Wed May 25, 2016 10:45 pm

Hi LJSPO
The youngest on my course are two 22 year old females. I did ask my tutor today about your question. He did say 17/18 was young, but then he said that one of the best officers he had ever had on his wing was a 20 year old female. So its down to the individual and how you think you would cope. I would advise not to let it put you off, the recruitment is lengthy so give it a go, see if you pass everything and get through, then have another think to be sure. I joined the military when i was 18, as many do and had a good career because its wanted bad enough. I am the oldest on my course by far, old enough to be mother to most of them lol and I think people take a second glance when they see me in the classroom amongst all these youngsters. But I dont care, i know I can do it and I will succeed. If you really want it go for it.

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by riflegreen74 » Sat May 28, 2016 11:31 pm

An adult establishment houses prisoners over the age of 21. If you work in a dispersal prison then you could have people who are over the age of 70 having spent their entire life inside or a 21 year old facing life with a minimum tarrif of 30 years.
Height is irrelevant, but age is just a question of how 'mature in that age' are you? Thinking about what I have said, could you offer support and guidance to a person who has faced or about to face the thought that they will never walk on grass or see the sunset or gaze up at the stars for a very long time or never again. Sounds dramatic but it's a reality for hundreds of prisoners.
If you reckon that you can do it then go for it. There are plenty of people twice your age with the maturity of a three week old kitten so don't let that put you off. OSG (operational support grade)may also be a good route to dip your toes in so to speak.
Either way 'Give it a go or you'll never know'!
Think about how stupid the average person is..... Then realise that half of em' are stupider than that :slnuts:

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Re: Am I too young? Small?

Post by LJSPO » Sun May 29, 2016 12:09 pm

Thanks to everyone for the replies- I think i've decided when i turn 18 after I leave sixth form to give OSG a go for a bit of experience- and see where I go from there!

Lauren

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