A PRISON officer has described his job as highly rewarding and says it helps rehabilitate offenders to lead a crime free life.

Prison officer Mark Romanow, who has been in the job 20 years, said the key to rehabilitation is giving offenders the opportunity to progress.

Mr Romanow, who works at Long Lartin, Worcestershire, said: “I am currently based on a unit that works with prisoners that have borderline personality disorders.

“A typical day differs to that of a normal prison wing as the men here do a lot of work addressing their issues by undertaking numerous structured sessions designed to help them identify their behaviours and work towards a crime free life.

“A big challenge is having to deal with prisoners whose thought processes are different to my own. In this situation, I usually take more time to get to know the individual so that I can determine the support they need and what their trigger points are. This can make such a big difference in building trust so we can help put them on the right path.”

Mr Romanow said the great thing about being a prison officer was that you can “bring a part of yourself to the job.”

After writing a book he set up a creative writing workshop with the offenders at the high security prison, which proved a big success.

“What I enjoyed the most about this was seeing older and younger individuals really getting on well together, which in turn built a more positive environment,” he said.

“Many of these men had never been encouraged to do anything positive before and often struggled with low self-esteem, but this gave them an opportunity to progress, which is key to reducing the chances of reoffending upon release.

“I would recommend this job to anybody who wants to work in an environment that, although very demanding at times, can also be hugely rewarding.

“If you can communicate with people from all backgrounds, then you will thrive as an officer. Best of all, the people you will work with will be the best, most loyal friends you could make.

“The team camaraderie is the best part, knowing they have my back and I have theirs.”

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