Prison staff are key actors in the successful rehabilitation of people in prison, but staff are often poorly paid, under-trained and experience high levels of work-related stress and violence.
It is vital that prison staff are treated with respect, and the challenges of their role are acknowledged and addressed. They must also have the necessary resources to do their jobs well.
The Nelson Mandela Rules require that staff should be full-time civil servants and receive appropriate pay with training before starting work and during their career. However, there are still relatively few international or regional standards relating to personnel.
Addressing the working conditions of staff often goes hand-in-hand with improving the conditions of prisons more widely. Prison staff are usually subject to the same conditions as detainees. these may include poor infrastructure, insufficient space, air and light and unhygienic conditions. Both mental and physical illness is high amongst prison staff, often exacerbated by physical conditions, threats of violence and a devaluation of their work.
As part of our 2020-2023 strategy we will promote better conditions for prison staff, ensuring provision for their health and well-being and supporting their professional development. We will also seek to highlight particular challenges faced by female staff in penitentiary systems as well as in police forces.