Working conditions

Key Elements

The way prison staff perceive the quality of their working life and how they are treated by managers and colleagues has a significant impact on the atmosphere in detention and the treatment of prisoners. Prison officers who feel valued, trusted and respected at work are more likely to apply these values to the treatment of prisoners. Favourable prison working conditions are also important for attracting and retaining suitable staff.

International standards are clear that prison personnel should be appointed on a full-time basis with civilian status, adequate salaries and favourable employment benefits and conditions of service. In reality, it is not uncommon for prison staff to have a low standing in the community and receive low salaries which are sometimes paid irregularly, impacting negatively on motivation and performance of their duties. It can also encourage corruption.