Work placement: the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service

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Work placement: the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service

#Jessica writes about her two weeks in the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service as part of our work placement scheme, which gives our participants the opportunity to experience a variety of different professional environments.

My placement straddled the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Reducing Reoffending teams. Each morning I’d collect my security pass and head towards the wall of electronic security pods authorising entry to the building. The pods made me smile; a reminder that my expertise is in not allowing people to exit. Where most prison wings don’t have windows, the pods lead to a glass atrium filled with greenery, sculptures and artisanal coffee. My walk to the lifts was never rushed – besides, I had no alarms to run to.

I took lots of meetings. Some shadowing, but mainly taking advantage of meeting with any teams of interest. Everyone was very friendly and willing to talk about their work. Over the two weeks, I received multiple tips on the famously idiosyncratic civil service applications, as well as countless speeches on the benefits of the public sector. Such friendliness extends across all ranks at HQ, and it was inspiring to see the passion and energy that goes into policies that reach us on the ground. At the same time, my operational experience earned me an instant Badge of Honour. Sitting in on the HMPPS Leadership Team meeting, I was subjected to extended questioning when revealed as an Unlocked graduate. Still, I can’t have earned as much respect as CEO Jo Farrar earned from me for referencing my favourite Netflix show in the same meeting!

I assisted an inquiry response into deaths in custody and a Keyworker submission to Prisons Minister, Lucy Frazer. Whilst I was unable to shadow Minister Frazer due to recess, a morning in her Private Office was one of my most interesting experiences of the placement, particularly in light of the all-nighters we had to pull on account of the London Bridge attack.

My main takeaway: Reducing Reoffending is just as important and respected at the ground as at the top.