A PRISON officer is celebrating more than 20 years on the job after life as a high street jeweller did not work out.

Neil Stewart has worked at HMP Hewell in Tardebigge for 22 years and never thought he would be responsible for moving more than 500 prisoners a week.

The 46-year-old says he has learnt a lot about people since making the move from the jewellery industry.

“I had been overlooked for a promotion at the jewellers and I felt it was unjust, so I thought I would give it a go at the prison,” Neil said.

“One of the biggest things I have learned is trying to treat everyone as an individual. Whatever their problems are in prison, they are specific for them.” 

Neil began his career at HMP Hewell in 2001 as an Operational Support Grade (OSG) before becoming a Prison Officer.

He has worked his way up to a custodial manager, where he is in charge of the logistics of moving prisoners around HMP Hewell. 

Neil added: “We have around 900 prisoners in at any one time, and in the previous seven days we did 471 moves.

“Prisoners may be in and out for court or hospital dates, they may be transferred to or from another prison and we may need to move them around the prison if they are not getting on with someone or there’s an issue. 

“We release 25 to 30 men each week.

“When you see people leave in a better state than they arrived it’s very satisfying.

“They could be better off physically, or mentally, it’s a journey. 

“I try to make sure every interaction with a prisoner is a positive one.” 

HMP Hewell is currently recruiting for prison officer roles and applications are now open.

To apply prisonandprobationjobs.gov.uk.