One of the unique features of the Unlocked Graduates programme is our Mentoring Prison Officer (MPO) system. MPOs are responsible to supporting our pioneering prison officers over the course of their two-year leadership programme. We sat down with Roy De-Allie to discuss his experiences in the role over the last year:
Why did you decide to become a prison officer?
My mum’s brother started the job in 1961, and did it for quite a few years. Then my sister followed suit, she went in as a non-operational, and that was when I got to hear a lot about the job. She said to me “I think you’d be good at it.” I had a look into it and decided I would take the plunge and join. I didn’t know much about it I’ve got to be honest – but I upskilled while I was there, no day is ever the same, and I’ve loved every minute of it!
How long have you been a prison officer and where have you worked?
I started as a prison officer in 2004, prior to that I was at the Operational Support Grade level (OSG) from 1990. Most of my career was done at HMP Pentonville, I moved from Pentonville to Holloway, and then from Holloway I went on to The Mount.
And what attracted you to the role of Mentoring Prison Officer?
I totally agreed with the idea. I’ve been a mentor before, but I’ve only ever mentored someone for a maximum of seven days. They often come and see me afterwards with different questions and it just wasn’t long enough. Unlocked Graduates is a programme that includes Mentoring Prison Officer as a role for two years, and I just thought that’s a perfect amount of time, so decided to apply for it.
What are your main responsibilities as an MPO?
My main responsibilities are to conduct one-to-one reviews and group supervisions. We also provide additional training for the prison officers, which they do alongside their day-to-day work. Apart from that, it’s general support and signposting.
What kind of subjects do the Unlocked Graduates ask for support with?
I get a lot of questions about ‘dynamic security,’ which is the method by which we build relationships with the prisoners in order to assess and reduce risks. They often ask if they are doing it right or doing it wrong – since I do a lot of observing, I can provide direct feedback to individuals during the one-to-one reviews.
What are the benefits of the MPO system?
The main benefit is the ongoing support that we provide to all the Unlocked Graduates, from coaching sessions to mentoring conversations.
What’s surprised you most about being an MPO?
How quickly the participants have made an impact, within six months they were already making changes. Having that mentor system has really pushed them on, and the support will make them future leaders