Meet Julie… Our Hidden Hero

The 29th of September 2021 marks #HiddenHeroesDay, where we celebrate and thank the often, unsung ‘Hidden Heroes’ across the custodial and community justice estate, who work tirelessly, especially during the covid-19 outbreak.  It’s an opportunity to show them that, while they may be largely hidden from public view, they’re not forgotten, and that the people who know them best, truly appreciate all they’ve done, and continue to do.

Despite their huge contribution and incredible efforts in supporting those within our justice system, Prison Officers, Probation Officers and Staff often go unnoticed, so to recognise the amazing work they have done and continue to do, we wanted to put in some of these amazing people in the spotlight.

Julie, who works as a Prison Officer, is a Hidden Hero. We’ve asked Julie a couple of questions about working for the Prison and Probation service:

Why did you become a Prison Officer?

I find the challenge of working with troubled individuals rewarding.

Do you recall your first days in the role? What were your initial thoughts?

I was surprised by the levels of violence and drug abuse. It was unnerving but this feeling soon disappeared due to the support and knowledge given to me by my fellow officers.

What is the best thing about being a Prison Officer?

The relationships I have with my colleagues. Day to day we can deal with extremely traumatic events. Having dedicated staff by your side allows you to work through these trauma’s together creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

If in any way, how would you say your experiences in your role have changed you?

It has made me more aware of how others may feel or how they react by discussing offences and triggers that may lead to offending. This has stopped me from becoming judgemental and allows me to treat everyone equally.

Tell us about your proudest moment during your role?

The respect I have gained over my career not just from staff but also prisoners.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about a role within the sector?

It is one of the most challenging roles I have held but if you enjoy a challenge and working as a team this is a great career and has numerous progressive moves.

Show your support

To pay tribute to those hidden heroes working within prisons, probation and youth justice services across the, you can donate money to Mental Health UK.  With around one in four people experiencing significant mental health problems in their lifetime, the hidden heroes working within prisons, probation and youth services are coming together to raise money for this chosen charity https://mentalhealth-uk.org/donate.

Additionally, if you work in the sector, or would like to support those that do, you can take part in a #HiddenHeroes Charity Challenge!  Find out how here: https://www.hiddenheroes.uk/CharityChallenge.

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