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Birmingham prison officer scoops prestigious national award

A prison custody officer from G4S-managed HMP Birmingham has scooped an award at the prestigious Prison Officer of the Year 2016 awards held last week.

John Genge, 48, has worked at the prison for 12 years and beat tough competition from across the country to receive the ‘Decency’ honour at a ceremony at a London hotel. 

John was nominated by fellow officer, Phil Chamberlain who praised his tireless commitment to prisoners with complex needs and the leadership he provides colleagues in the establishment. 

Senior Manager Phil Chamberlain said: 

“John is the first person people go to if someone needs supporting back onto the wing because of his instinctive understanding of people with complex and demanding needs. 

“One instance which particularly comes to mind is when John helped a prisoner to overcome their prolific self-harming by providing peer mentoring and helping him to engage with the community on the wing. John made it his mission to make sure the prisoner thrived and the man is now a listener on the wing and a carer to others with complex needs. It was an amazing transformation that couldn’t have taken place without John’s dedication.” 

John Genge said: 

“I didn’t get into working in prisons to win awards; the biggest reward is seeing people whose lives are difficult and painful, transform in to active members of the wing community. But I’m delighted to receive this award and I’d like to thank my colleagues for nominating me and their kind words.” 

Director at HMP Birmingham, Pete Small said: 

“This award is tremendous recognition for an inspirational member of our team and I am delighted that John’s hard work has been recognised. 

“Many prisoners come to us with complex physical and mental needs and successful rehabilitation often requires our staff to deliver much more than work, education and skills training. John’s patience and commitment exemplifies the very best qualities in a prison officer and shows that despite the daily challenges in prison, we can have a truly transformative effect on the lives of the people we look after, which ultimately helps to make our communities safer.”