Understanding and improving the retention of Band 3 Prison Officers within His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)

Hoefer, Tamara and Polley, Laura (2024) Understanding and improving the retention of Band 3 Prison Officers within His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice. ISSN 2056-3841 (In Press)

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Avoidable voluntary turnover negatively impacts an organisation’s workforce and decreases its sustainability and productivity. HMPPS’ leaving rates are amongst the highest in the public sector. It is, thus, crucial to improve Band 3 Prison Officers’ (POs) retention and develop an effective employee retention strategy.
Grounded in retention literature, the present study employs a mixed-methods, cross-sectional, phenomenological research design. Primary data was gathered using an online qualitative survey was sent to POs working at a public sector prison in the North West of England with less than five years work experience.
The results highlight the impact of career development and training & development due to their importance to POs in comparison to the PO’s dissatisfaction with HMPPS’ performance in both factors. Furthermore, most expectations of retention factors were only partially met, illustrating the need to reform the existing recruitment process and the translation of expectations into the reality of the role. In conclusion, HMPPS should focus attention on performance-improvement especially in relation to career development and training & development as well as on investigating and reforming the current recruitment processes.
- improved management of career plans
- increased selection of managers on their management abilities
- evaluating the effect of payment boosts
- increasing training opportunities
- equating staff’s access.
The role of prison officers and their professional environment has not previously been combined with contemporary retention literature. This research paper is the first of its kind using qualitative data to understand the retention in the English & Welsh prison service.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: criminology, retention, prison officers, HPPS
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: Laura Polley
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2024 10:58
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2024 10:58
URI: https://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3565

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