The first recruitment drive in eight years of prison officers has begun, in hopes to fill the gap of many retired prison officers in that time.
Last Friday July 8 the Irish Prison Service announced a recruitment campaign, to take on 120 new recruits a year for three years, based in Dublin prisons.
The recruits will train for three years, to achieve a Higher Certificate in Custodial Care. Pay starts at just €436 a week before tax.
They must work an average of 39 hours a week, including night duties, every second weekend, some public holidays and festive days, as well as additional hours for premium pay.
“Working as a Recruit Prison Officer can be complex and difficult, but it can be varied, challenging and highly rewarding. We are looking for individuals who have the capacity to relate to and engage with prisoners, act with professionalism, tolerance and humanity and the ability to role model positive social behaviour. They must also have the ability to think on their feet in dealing with situations which require security and control,” the IPS says in the job description.
Members of minority and new communities are being encouraged to apply, to reflect the diverse Irish society.
The recruitment comes over a year since a serious assault on three prison officers in Portlaoise Prison, who received stab wounds and broken bones. At that time two more officers were assaulted by a prisoner attempting to escape in Tallaght hospital.
Following calls for extra safety measures by the Prison Officers Association, 160 extra stab vests were issued for escort duties.
Meanwhile the new 2016-2018 Strategic Plan by the IPS has promised to implement recommendations in the State Claims Agency Review of Assaults on Prison Staff, to make prisons safer for their staff and for the public.
“We will develop and provide a multidisciplinary risk management approach to deal with violent, highly disruptive and high risk prisoners,” the plan states.
It also plans to introduce new technology to detect the smuggling in of drugs and weapons .
Portlaoise prison campus has over 1,100 male prisoners, with 291 in the high security Portlaoise Prison, and 870 in the medium security Midlands Prison. The number of prison officers is not disclosed for security reasons.
Applications must be submitted by July 2, followed by assessment tests, interviews and medicals. See www.publicjobs.ie to apply online.