Margate siblings Jake and Frankie Plewis are spending today – National Sibling Day (10 April) – working together on the wings at HMP Swaleside.
Jake, 34, joined as an Operational Support Grade (OSG) in 2014 before being promoted to prison officer and then custodial manager a few years later.
He said: “When I joined the service, I was welcomed in by a brilliant team of really inspiring people. They have all made it their life mission to help protect the public, and also rehabilitate offenders, helping them gain useful experience that they can use in life after prison.
“I was working on the wings as an officer for a few years before Frankie came to me and asked me for my advice about joining. As much as I was excited about the prospect of my little sister coming to work with me, I also recognised that she has the right attitude and communication skills that are needed in the prison service.
“Ever since we were little we’ve had a really strong relationship – we’re always been best friends and now it’s great to be work colleagues as well as I know Frankie always has my back in challenging times too.”
HMP Swaleside is a category B men’s prison on the Isle of Sheppey.
Frankie, 27, has been in post since 2020. She said: “Before joining the prison service I was working in insurance but I saw how much Jake was enjoying it and he convinced me that I would be a good fit. I initially joined in an admin role but was interested in what went on in the workshops so trained up and got my qualifications and now I teach the prisoners metalwork and welding, so they have a trade when they seek employment on the outside.
“Jake and I aren’t alone, as a lot of people are joining HMP Swaleside in officer or support roles after seeing their mum, dad, or other family member working here.
“Close relationships between prison officers and other staff members are the key to success when working in such a busy and dynamic place. Of course, you don’t need to know someone to join, as more often than not, all staff in the establishment become like family.”
The role of officers is to help to maintain safety standards on the inside, while ensuring ex-offenders leave with the skills and experience they need to live crime free lives on the outside.
Applications for prison officer roles at HMP Swaleside are now open. You can apply or find out more by clicking here.
A prison officer salary starts at £32k and gives access to a Civil Service pension.