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Prison should lead to more than a return visit

Prison should lead to more than a return visit

Inspire Back to top

#Recruitment & Diversity

Our recruitment strategy is designed to reach and persuade high-calibre participants, particularly those who would not otherwise consider a job in the prison service, that this is the role for them.


Our award-winning recruitment campaigns have raised the profile of the prison officer role and reached candidates who would never have considered a career in the prison service. In line with other graduate schemes, our programme is two years long and encourages participants to enter a sector without committing to a life-long career.

Shaped to match the priorities of ambitious graduates, four out of five (81%) of our newest recruits cited the Unlocked mission as a reason for applying to the programme. Professional development opportunities such as building leadership skills and the chance to have genuine responsibility from day one were other key motivating factors.

#A fair selection process

Our selection process was developed to be rigorous, fair, and successful at attracting and selecting diverse cohorts of candidates with strong potential to be excellent prison officers.

Our application process

Building on best practice from other graduate recruitment schemes and our consultation with a wide range of stakeholders in the prison service, we developed our core attributes for recruitment: sense of possibility, motivation, resilience, self-awareness, leadership, decision-making, relationship building.

#Recruiting a diverse cohort

It is vital the prison workforce is representative of the people they work with. This is true of all under-represented groups and protected characteristics but the challenges around ethnic diversity are particularly stark. We know that minority groups are overrepresented in the prison population – over a quarter (27%) of the prison population are from an ethnic minority group compared to 14 percent of the general population.

Effectively encouraging Black, Asian and other minority ethnic candidates to consider the Unlocked programme has always been a priority. Informed by the workforce challenges identified in the Lammy Review. We have made recruiting a diverse cohort a priority from our first year. In fact, the Review mentions our work as example of best practice.