I’m a prison officer at one of the UK’s toughest jails… if you don’t have certain skills you’re in trouble | The Sun

A PRISON officer has revealed what it takes to survive working at one of the UK's toughest jails.

Byron Edwards, 39, insists there are certain skills an officer needs, and says life as a prison warden is a lot more than just "locking and unlocking doors".

The 39-year-old, from Worcestershire, works at HMP Long Lartin, one of the nation's toughest prisons.

All 609 of its inmates are deemed either violent or at risk of escaping, and through the years it has housed some of the UK's most notorious criminals.

Among the most infamous prisoners to step foot inside the jail include Islamic cleric Abu Hamza and murderer Christopher Halliwell.

Despite the dangers, Byron says he loves the challenge of helping to deal with "complex" people every day.


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"Although it's a difficult and challenging job, you get a lot of support and training and you're part of a team," he told the Birmingham Mail.

Byron added that there are certain skills that help working with dangerous lags, and said: "It's a lot easier if you're a people person and have a caring ethos."

He continued: "You can be dealing with someone who's really happy one minute because something good has happened with their case or they've moving to a lower security prison, but then there'll be a man who's really upset about something and you have to deal with him – you're dealing with people who are very complex."

While Byron works with some of the most dangerous men in the country, he insisted that he has never felt scared while on the job.

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"If you can talk to someone, that's all you can do," he added.

The 39-year-old works on the segregation unit, which deals with men deemed especially violent or extremely vulnerable to either themselves or others.

And he added that despite Long Lartin being a male prison, women officers can sometimes be the most valuable asset in certain situations.

"Men and women bring similar but also different qualities to situations," he said.

"Quite often a woman officer will be able to calm down a prisoner better than a male guard will, especially if that inmate is wary of men."


As one of the few high-security prisons in the UK, Long Lartin has a controversial history.

The jail has a long list of infamous inmates, including Reggie Kray and killer Jeremy Bamber.

Lostprophets front man Ian Watkins is another former inmate who was locked up for a string of sickening child sex offences.

Watkins was transferred to HM Prison Long Lartin in 2014, so that he could be closer to his mother, before he was transferred again to HM Prison Rye Hill in Northamptonshire.

And earlier this year, one of PC Andrew Harper's killers was moved to Long Lartin after he was caught boozing inside another top-security jail.

Henry Long, 20, is serving a 16-year sentence for the manslaughter of 28-year-old PC Harper in 2019. 

Several inmates have also lost their lives in the Worcestershire prison over the years, including in 2017 when two lags were convicted of murdering a fellow prisoner.

Other inmates to be killed behind bars at the prison include child murderer Subhan Anwar in 2013, killer John York in 2015, and Sidonio Eugenio Teixeira in 2016, who was killed using a rock wrapped in a pair of socks.

Several riots have also unfolded at the prison, including in 2018 when six staff were hurt in an 8 hour standoff.

And in October 2017, prison staff were reportedly attacked with pool balls in another riot.

Specialist Tornado squads were dispatched to the high security prison to deal with about 80 inmates in a bid to restore order after the convicts took over.

The Prison Service said the incident had been "successfully resolved" the following morning, and no staff or inmates were injured.

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