Prison Officers play an essential role in ensuring that British jails are well managed and disciplined. Their job is to supervise and deal with inmates, and this often means having to keep order amongst individuals who are abusive and angry. It goes without saying that this is a very challenging role, and therefore the selection process for the job reflects this. In this blog, we’ll examine a key part of the selection process – the Prison Officer Roleplay. In order to become a Prison Officer, you’ll need to ace this part of the assessment.
What is the Prison Officer Roleplay?
The Prison Officer Roleplay exercise will take a similar form to other roleplay exercises. You will be given 5-10 minutes preparation time, with a piece of reading material; before entering a room containing an assessor and a role play actor. The actor will be playing the part of an inmate at a prison, and you will play the part of the prison officer who must deal with him or her. The exercise will start as soon as you walk into the room.
How is the roleplay exercise assessed?
In order to successfully pass the roleplay exercise, and become a prison officer, there are a number of things you must do. Primarily, you will be judged against your ability to act in a professional manner, which reflects the expectations of an actual Prison Officer. You must take a calm and reasonable approach to dealing with the actor, who is likely to try and test your patience in any way that they can. Whether they are angry, upset or out of control, it is your job to calm them down and approach the situation in a responsible and reasonable manner. In order to do this, you’ll need to use the core competencies. You can read more about these core competencies here!
Become a Prison Officer: Role play fundamentals
The best way to pass the role play, along with using the core competencies, is to adhere to a specific code of behaviour. Below we have listed some top tips on how you can go about doing this:
- Be assertive. Being assertive is extremely important in this exercise. As we have mentioned, the actor will try to make life difficult and undermine your sense of authority as a prison officer. It’s essential that you lay down a firm and assertive marker early on, to ensure they know that you are in charge.
Be a positive role model. The aim of the prison service is to rehabilitate offenders, and make them ready for a return to society. As a prison officer, part of your job is to act as a role model for these offenders. With this being said, it’s important that you put this across during the exercise. Make sure you behave professionally, admonish and correct any behaviour from the offender which is deemed unacceptable and maintain a responsible attitude throughout.
- Show understanding and empathy. The role of a prison officer isn’t just to enforce discipline and order. It’s important to understand that while working as a prison officer, you will encounter many people who are vulnerable and in need of help. Many of these people will have reached their lowest ebb, and therefore require guidance, patience and understanding to build their lives together again. You need to be able to empathise with these people in order to offer them the help they need.
- Explore and clarify. An important part of the role play exercise is in exploring and clarifying the issue at hand. In order to gain a detailed understanding of how the offender is feeling, it’s important that you can explore and clarify the details with them. You won’t get any marks for going into the role-play and engaging in a short ‘yes-no’ conversation with the inmate. You need to be able to talk to them, hold a conversation and discuss their issues at length.
- Non-verbal listening skills. Along with all of the above, you will also be marked on your non-verbal listening skills. Holding a conversation is not just about the things you say, but how you act and your body language. You need to be able to show positive and encouraging body language. This includes looking the speaker in the eye, nodding to acknowledge that you have understood them and maintaining an authoritative and positive posture throughout.
Prison Officer Roleplay DVD
Want to learn more about how to become a prison officer? Want to ace the roleplay? Packed with top tips and information, we have prepared a DVD guide that is sure to help. So what are you waiting for? Check out our DVD on How To Pass The Prison Officer Roleplay!