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Unlocked turns talented graduates into inspiring leaders through a two-year development programme focusing on prisoner rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.

Currently, 46% of prisoners reoffend within 12 months of release, creating yet more victims, causing untold damage, and costing the UK more than £15bn. Graduates joining Unlocked will help to tackle this. They will develop as inspirational leaders, capable of changing behaviour and supporting prisoners to make positive choices. They will also acquire skills and experiences that transfer to other employment and leadership settings, and gain a master’s degree alongside working as prison officers in category B or C prisons in London and the South East.

 After the two-year programme, they may choose to stay within the prison and rehabilitation system, leading institutional change from within, or accept other career opportunities where their skills and experiences will be valued. They will be part of a network of informed advocates for change, influencing perceptions of prisoners and supporting the creation of further opportunities for them to reintegrate with society. Unlocked is supported by a number of prestigious organisations who recognise the importance of its mission and quality of its leadership development programme.

Unlocked Officer: The Role

Unlocked officers attend an intensive six-week training programme before beginning work as a prison officer in category B or C prisons in London and the South East.

They have the same duties and responsibilities as a regular officer – maintaining the safety and security of prisoners and supporting them in accessing prison resources. However, as graduates on a prestigious and demanding programme, they are expected to identify actions and strategies that help prisoners rehabilitate and break the cycle of reoffending. That could mean accessing courses within the prison’s education and skills programme, maintaining or renewing contact with family on the outside, or offering additional teaching in literacy or numeracy while on the prison wing. Or it could just mean listening to prisoners and helping them confront their situation.

The role of Unlocked officer means being an advocate, mentor, teacher, mediator and leader all at the same time – and understanding how small changes on the inside can yield life-changing progress on the outside. 

Unlocked officers develop skills in leadership, communication, relationship and team-building, decision-making and resilience – all of which are valuable in a wide range of working environments. Throughout the programme Unlocked officers receive further training and mentoring themselves, and study for a fully-funded master’s degree.

At the end of the two-year programme, Unlocked expects graduates either to progress into careers where their experience and knowledge of the issues surrounding rehabilitation will enable them to take positions of responsibility and advocate for further positive change, or to remain with the prison sector and lead further change from the inside.

View Unlocked Graduate Opportunities: