How to have a career in prison security

Eddie Laidler

Eddie decided to study a part-time MA in Criminology alongside his job as a Custodial Manager at HMP Springhill to enhance his academic knowledge. Here are his hints and tips for people who'd like a career in the prison service.


Top Tip

Get some work experience

Give it a try first to make sure that the prison service is for you. You can get attached to a prison, volunteer or starting working in a low rank position and start off at the bottom to see if its your cup of tea.


Top Tip

Read around your subject

When you start an academic qualification, you need to read and write differently. Read good literature and see how other people write. It has got to interest you as well. If it’s about real life crime or murderers, then read it.


Top Tip

Use the library

My advice is to make sure you use the facilities. I was under the impression that there would just be a library where you could get some books and bring them home, but there is masses of information available there for students.

Because I was only studying part-time and still working in Buckinghamshire at the same time, I had to do my work at home but the IT facilities are fantastic. Being able to go online and draw books without actually going in to the library was brilliant and I could reference most of my work by doing it remotely.

Tips for mature students

Managing his postgraduate study around work at HMP Springhill was a challenge for Eddie. He found it difficult to begin with but soon got himself into a routine. His top tip for mature students: Be disciplined and see if you can design your own programme.

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Custodial Manager at HMP Springhill

MA Criminology

Eddie's job at HMP Springhill involves making sure prisoners are integrated back into the community when they are released.

Springhill is an open prison – prisoners aren’t locked up in their rooms and  there are no gates to enter/exit – and many of the inmates go to Springhill in the last four years of a life sentence.

Some have been in prison for decades and are worried about going back into the community because of how much society has changed in the last 20 years.

Eddie organises activities for the inmates, such as escorted shopping trips, and helps the prisoners to carry out other every day tasks.

Eddie studied alongside working and was able to progress straight on to the second year of the part-time Masters because of his experience.