BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely managers - Prison officer

BRAIN FOOD: Unlikely managers - Prison officer - MILTON KEYNES

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MILTON KEYNES

Name Mary Taylor, principal officer, Woodhill Prison

When did you become a manager?

Twelve months ago when I became a principal officer. I joined the prison service straight from studying psychology at university. As part of my course I had spent a year in a prison psychology department.

What does management mean to you?

Everything from giving out lunches to taking charge of anti-bullying committees and crisis control. I look after 200 prisoners in a high-security wing, so I have to be ready to adapt to rapidly evolving situations like sit-ins, riots and hunger strikes. A big part of my job is ensuring that my staff handle these situations without inciting violence, and that they adhere to proper procedures. But I also like to think I'm giving some goodness back to inmates.

What do you love/hate about it?

I love the variety and the social responsibility. Prisons have a dual role - firstly to protect the public and secondly, but just as importantly, to rehabilitate. I hate the red tape though, which can sometimes slow down good works.

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