HM Prison & Probation Service
Happiness score is 44 out of 100
3.2 out of 5 stars.
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HM Prison & Probation Service Employee Reviews

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United Kingdom1,401 reviews

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3.0Work-life balance

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Good company to work for

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Good place to work, the company itself is a good place to work. The trainers are the problem. I can't speak for everyone but on my training, they obviously didn't want anyone to succeed, and they spoke to people like dirt.
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Wish I had not joined

Being a prison officer was my dream job. I loved my job and loved it.It's not just poor management, it's a really toxic environment to work. Staff go out of their way to get other staff in trouble. If you excel you have a huge target and your be praded apon like a pack of wolves and the management will be only too happy to do there bit.Worst mistake I made was joining.
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Insights into HM Prison & Probation Service

Based on 434 survey responses
Areas for improvement
  • Sense of belonging
  • Energising work tasks
  • Trust in colleagues

Stressful, dangerous and no support from managers

It's a dangerous workplace, the training provided is not sufficient to keep you safe. Management was not supportive, only progression is if you are part of the 'in group'. Poor staff wellbeing and lack of staff contributes to the dangers of the workplace.
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The past

Working in the prison service was a new experience I had to retrain myself to a different style of working and learnt how to teach inmates Food skills and gain suitable Qualifications.
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Dont bother

Hmp altcourse.. its fast paced and staff are lovely but management are not on your side... rude, bossy and no empathy at all. If you like having your job barked at you then this will suit you.


Lovely nurses


Long hours, bad management
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Great people, bad management

I thought working there is like giving back to the society but I now know that I can give back in many other ways.The place needs a complete overhaul. Very low pay, bad management, bad working environment, sub standard equipment to carry out daily tasks and bullying is regularly overlooked. I'm happy I've moved on in my career and will never ever go near the prison service again.
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It is what it is, until it isn’t.

2 establishments, 6years in total, detached duty elsewhere.Some parts of the job are incredible, with genuine lifetime memories and friends for life.Other parts are awful. Management are standard civil service, some good, some truly awful. Go into it with an open mind and the ability to talk, and you’ll do okay.Not a career for life any more - the 4year churn is a very real thing.
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Stressful workplace, that can negatively affect your mental health

Impossible to retain staff due to being overworked, underpaid and not a respected profession. expect a large caseload, to work beyond your contract hours including weekends and to rearrange leave to meet admin deadlines and not to interact with the service users. Impossible to switch off, expect emails after midnight. I was lucky to have supportive colleagues,amazing admin team and managers that dont micro managed.
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In my opinion you are overworked, and are expected to do so many tasks for little pay. However, it does offer a good work life balance, but you have to push for it - as management in most places try to go back on the “work life balance” initiative they so proudly present in the job description.


Work from home (hybrid)


Poor pay, expected to do so many tasks
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Everything mismanaged

The prison service is constantly chasing it's own tail. From two members of staff doing the exact same job, exactly the same responsibility they get paid vastly different amounts.Conflicts of interest occur constantly, management who often represent the union give members briefs then contradict everything they have said and do the opposite.Corrupt management instead of being removed from post are promoted.Way too many young officers in their first jobs with zero people skills put into position of authority over grown men and women with severe problems.The application process is set up to recruit role players,good at acting but useless faced with the violence and anger faced on a wing every day.Rules are relaxed depending on who breaks them, instead of being enforced properly blind eyes are turned if your face fits The trainer's get by on acting 'hard' to impress the young female recruits, they make you learn the core values ver batem then contradict everything in the same breath calling the prisoners oxygen thieves and give them nothing.Everything in the service is done by courses, designed not to fail,just tick boxes to sit through.Experienced staff are treated worse than the prisoners, expected to cover constantly for the constant waves of new staff.You cannot trust a single person in the prison service, s.o', officers,c.m's .or even governors are corrupt.The only thing in the service you can do is cover your own back because like I stated you cannot trust anyone else in the service.Management mismanage funds constantly, equipment and supplies are either worn out - 
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There are NO flexible working or part-time hours it's full time or nothing!!

These jobs are advertised as full time, flexible and part time hours this is definitely not the case. It's full time and long hours or nothing. Shift patterns etc were not discussed at interview. I was offered a job but realised on the first day the hours would not fit around my life. I explained this and was told to go home and put forward hours I might be able to work which I did but didn't hear anything back from them until I got a P45 in the post... Ha ha !! no wonder they're always advertising. Only apply if you like to live at work !!


Long shifts
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Too many cons, not enough pros

All experience staff leaving means no one to train the newbies. Pay was bad until the pay rise this year, bought the non operational staff wages up a fair amount!Management are terrible, they don't listen or care about staff at all. Don't ever get sick or develop a chronic illness, they will try and get rid of you.
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No respect or support

You receive no respect or support from management. You are just a number, easily replaceable. Very rarely have a “good” day, and management will always have an issue with something. Nothing you ever do is right. A lot of bullying within the staff, which also comes from governors and CM’s. Absolutely awful pay for the things you are expected to do, and for the sights you have to see. The whole service needs changing, starting at the very top. Not a job worth doing.
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Poor management. Underpaid. Understaffed

From the day I started I was told this isn’t the job it used to be. Further I got into the job it was clear that people will suck up to management and throw you under the bus any chance they get just to climb the ladder. Prisoners get better treatment than staff. Management will bully staff out if they don’t like you. Great relationship with other staff members who have your back. What happens inside can sometimes follow you outside too so if you do go for the job be very careful.
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Poor management. High caseloads

Stressful job that you will take home with you. High caseloads and lack of tools to do the job effectively. Training is given but you are not allocated the time to absorb it.




Stressful and disorganized
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Unpredictable and fun

Working in an approved Premise can be fun but challenging too. Dealing with different offenders with a high turnover and enjoying the fruits of seeing offenders rehabilitate and move on in life is very rewarding




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Frustrating and stressful

HMPS has lost its way over the years. Brilliant staff with years of experience deemed no longer required. Instead heavy demand for young graduates with no experience given all the necessary tools and guidance to gain fast promotion. This has resulted in prisons being run like holiday camps for the prisoner's and staff expected to put up with abuse and violence.
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Operational support grade (OSG)

Poor pay, poor management, family all work there so they all have each others backs. If your face fits your ok. Terrible shift pattern., can’t get your holidays . All of it is very run down. All the best jobs go to family and friends.




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Toxic environment

Shambolic organisation,Understaffed overworked Management is clueless Toxic environment and culture Nobody has your back when something hits the fan. Strongly advise anybody to give a wide birth.
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The job is what you make it. If you go in with a good mood, you'll have a great day, and vice versa. Rare to find support, your colleagues are often out to throw you under the bus, and staff in general are ready to grab the popcorn when someone messes up. High pressure to never make a mistake and when you do management won't hesitate to punish you, but they will hesitate to praise you when you do something right - unless you're one of their 'favourites'.
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Good place but the shift pattern is insane.

Interesting and not difficult BUT such a wide variety of roles and staff shortages that it becomes hard to become proficient at any one role. The high staff turnover indicates there are difficulties. Management are dealing with admin problems to fully engage with staff on a practical basis and their knowledge is not always sufficient. However there are so many hard working (overworked?) staff who are doing their best. The work is varied and interesting and team working is a must.


Time off in the week. Good for team players. 37.5 hr week. Compassionate management.


Insane shift pattern. Compulsory night shifts. Average pay. Burnt out staff.
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Overall rating

Based on 1,505 reviews

Ratings by category

3.0 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
3.2 out of 5 stars for Salary/Benefits
3.2 out of 5 stars for Job security/advancement
2.7 out of 5 stars for Management
2.9 out of 5 stars for Culture

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