The governor of Perth Prison believes she has the “best job in the world.”
Reflecting on being in the post for just over a year, Brenda Stewart feels there has been a lot of “good progress” made by her staff during this time and explained just why she enjoys arriving at her work every morning.
“I absolutely love my job – I wouldn’t have stayed in the prison service if that was not the case,” she said.
“It’s a fascinating job in that there is such a range of different things that you get involved in.
“There is no other job like this – I can’t think of any other job that has the full range of matters that I get involved in.
“I have the duty and care of all the prisoners in here on any day, all the staff and visitors.
“What that means is that prisoners will write to me saying ‘I have this problem,’ and I’ll go to see them.
“Or there can be issues where I’m looking at the overall staffing.”
“Where I think this is the best job in the world is that I can move from a very strategic role but I also have the ability to interact on a very individual basis as well, and I like being able to sit down and discuss things with prisoners, so it’s a great job.”
Perth Prison came under scrutiny recently after figures were released on violent incidents including some concerning inmates assaulting prison staff.
Ms Stewart admitted there will always be offences committed in prisons but stressed employees work hard to minimise these incidents.
She said prisons can sometimes receive criticism through being too successful in their security measures.
“By stopping mobile phones coming in, by stopping any attempt to introduce drugs and by dealing robustly with any inappropriate behaviour, then the actual consequence of that can be something that looks very bad by the media,” she explained.
“However, I have no issue with people getting prison sentences at court for offences carried out in Perth Prison as we are part of the criminal system and I would expect everyone involved in that to take a very robust stance on this.”