Conferring of first 80 WIT graduates in Custodial Care takes place

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The Higher Certificate of Arts in Custodial Care is the entry level qualification completed by all Recruit Prison Officers and was introduced in 2007

The first conferring ceremony for graduates of WIT’s Higher Certificate of Arts in Custodial Care (HCCC) took place on Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

Among the dignitaries in attendance was the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan; Prof Willie Donnelly President WIT, Dr Derek O’Byrne Vice President for Academic Affairs and Registrar WIT and Mr Don Culliton, Head of HR for the Irish Prison Service. The ceremony was officially opened and closed by Chairperson of WIT’s Governing Body, Jim Moore.

The Higher Certificate of Arts in Custodial Care (HCCC) is the entry level qualification completed by all Recruit Prison Officers upon entry into the Irish Prison Service (IPS).

Since September 2007, all Recruit Prison Officers (RPO) must complete an accredited two-year Higher Certificate in Arts in Custodial Care programme and since 2017 this two-year programme has been jointly delivered by WIT and IPS.

The scale of the programme has grown rapidly, with over 480 Recruit Prison Officers (RPOs) registered on the HCCC over the past two years. This includes the 82 graduates from the 2019 ceremony who represented the first cohorts to complete the programme with WIT.

Elements of the programme are delivered exclusively by the IPS, with most other elements delivered by WIT with IPS staff in partnership. Semester one of the programme is largely directed towards prison-craft and is delivered in the Irish Prison Service College in Portlaoise and the West Dublin Prison Campus. The remaining three semesters are primarily delivered by WIT lecturers in a blended format and focused on the exploration of theory and practice relating to criminal justice and other areas.

The Director General of the IPS, Caron McCafferty, acknowledged the importance of the HCCC and paid tribute to those who contributed to the success of the programme:

“The achievement of an accredited qualification is one of the pillars of any profession. Irish Prison Service graduates can be proud of their achievement having received their award here tonight. I wish to pay tribute to Prof Willie Donnelly, President WIT; Dr Suzanne Denieffe, Head of School of Humanities and all of the WIT lecturers who contributed to the design and delivery of the programme. I am also really proud of our Irish Prison Service staff including our Recruitment Team, Workforce Planning Team, our prison management teams and mentors and of course the staff of the Irish Prison Service College, all of whom played a significant role in supporting our Recruit Prison Officers to make it to today”.

Prof Willie Donnelly acknowledged also that “the success of the programme relies heavily on colleague support in a variety of key roles, from WIT’s Registration Office and Centre for Technology-Enhanced Learning, to Professional Prison Officer colleagues in Midlands Prison who work with each new group of recruits.”

Speaking to the graduates at the conferring ceremony, he said: “You have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of prisoners and their families and I am confident that you possess all the capabilities to become the next generation of leaders in the field of custodial care in Ireland. Take pride in your achievements and your qualification.”

ENDS

 

About the Higher Certificate in Arts in Custodial Care (HCCC) programme

Since September 2007, all Recruit Prison Officers (RPO) must complete an accredited two-year Higher Certificate in Arts in Custodial Care (HCCC) programme. Since 2017, the HCCC has been co-delivered by the Irish Prison Service and Waterford Institute of Technology as an NFQ Level 6 learning programme.

The aim of the Higher Certificate in Arts in Custodial Care is to develop the character and competence of Prison Officers so that they can act responsibly and ethically in order to effectively contribute to the safe, secure and humane custody of the people in their care, in accordance with the IPS mission, vision, values and strategic objectives. It is intended that the programme will:

Inculcate in prison officers a values-based approach in their interactions with prisoners;

Provide prison officers with the skills to operate ethically and effectively in their role;

Develop an understanding of the importance of the role of the prison officer in the care and rehabilitation of prisoners.

The programme aims to form prison officers who are capable of and understand the importance of engaging in systematic reflection and evaluation of their practice as prison officers and who will proactively participate in a reflective community of practice in the prison environment. 


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