Sally contacted our helpline for some advice on applying for a job as a prison officer. She explained that she had passed the online Prison Officer Selection Test and had attended an assessment day which she had completed successfully. The assessment day had reinforced her determination to work as a prison officer but she was now concerned that her drink driving conviction from a couple of years ago would stop her from fulfilling her dream.
Sally had completed the paperwork for her Enhanced Level 2 security clearance and was in the process of filling out the Disclosure and Barring Service application form as she needed an enhanced check for her role within the prison. Sally wanted some advice on when and how she should explain her conviction to the prison service as well as finding out whether her conviction was likely to affect her chances of becoming a prison officer.
We explained to Sally that her offence was not one which would automatically bar her from working in a prison and therefore her key to success would be in how well she explained the conviction.
As her application appeared to be progressing well, we suggested that she disclose her conviction. Some of the points to cover would be:
- The nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding it
- What you have done to address your offending behaviour, for example any courses completed
- Ways in which your life is different now
- Why you don’t believe that you are a risk to an employer.
Sally contacted us a couple of months later to advise us that immediately after speaking to us she had contacted the prison vetting team and disclosed her conviction. Although they couldn’t give her any indication as to whether her application would be successful, Sally stated that she felt a lot better by disclosing and ultimately, her application was successful.
“I’m so grateful to Unlock for the advice they gave me. I knew that my drink driving conviction would come up but I was tempted to wait and see what would happen after my security checks and DBS were done. I’m sure that by speaking to the vetting team and explaining what happened they were able to see that although this conviction resulted from a clear lack of judgement, it was something that I’d never do again”
This case demonstrates the benefits of disclosing a conviction at the earliest opportunity after being asked. Planning when to disclose gave Sally the time to consider what she was going to say and how she would address any questions asked by her employers. It meant that she was able to present herself as being upfront, honest and somebody who took responsibility for their mistakes.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.