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The Corporation

Posted: 03/12/21

Prison governor talks of life on the inside

Life on the inside and the range of careers within the prison and probation service has been explored by students at West Nottinghamshire College.

  • Students Reece Budd (l) and Brilie Burrow (r) with prison governor Philip Novis
  • Philip spoke to students about crime statistics and careers within the prison service

Uniformed protective services students welcomed Nottingham Prison’s governor Philip Novis to the college’s Derby Road campus. He has over 32 years’ experience working within prisons and he came to share his knowledge and expertise.

Philip, who has worked in 13 prisons, gave students a contextual overview of the prison system, giving them a ‘day in the life’ view of his role as well as UK-wide statistics about the 104 prisons across the country, detailing the kind of prisoners, crime levels and average length of sentences.

Students were able to ask questions about the range of careers in the prison and probation sector such as governor roles, middle managers, psychologists, officers, administration, teachers and more. They discovered the attributes needed for such roles such as a desire to make a difference, integrity and to be ready to take up a challenge.

Life in prison was also described to the groups giving them an honest and frank account of what it is like for an inmate serving a sentence. Philip explained the loss of freedom, the 18 plus hours locked away, as well as the risk of violence and bullying from other inmates.

Student Reece Budd, 17, said: “This session was really valuable for us as we start looking at which careers we want to work towards. Hearing Philip’s experience from his time in the prison service was very interesting and it helped us to realise just how many job roles there are in this area.”

Tutor James Maosa said: “The groups who attended the session were really engaged throughout the session. This was due to the way the governor was able to engage with the students.

“The majority of the students who attended now want to visit prisons. This is being organised and will take place early next year which will really benefit the students.”