Training is a key element of sustained organisational performance. Identifying training needs, and then providing that training, should be at the heart of any prison system. The importance of staff training and development has been recognised in international instruments and the UN Standards Minimum Rules make clear that:

‘Before entering on duty, the personnel shall be given a course of training in their general and specific duties and be required to pass theoretical and practical tests. ‘ (SMR Rule 47)
‘After entering on duty and during their career, the personnel shall maintain and improve their knowledge and professional capacity by attending courses of in-service training to be organized at suitable intervals. ‘ (SMR Rule 47(3))

Panopticon Consulting believes that effective and appropriate training of prison staff is something that is necessary from the moment of first recruitment right through to retirement. Our training related work services focus on six types of training:


Panopticon Consulting adopts a systems approach to our training services. This involves looking at six key elements in the training cycle.

We have conducted training needs assessments (TNA) in a number of prison systems in order to systematically gather data to find out where there are gaps in the existing skills, knowledge and attitudes of prison staff. Our TNAs look at the training needs in all six types of training.
Having identified training needs, Panopticon Consulting assists prison administrations to clarify their training policy and approach, before developing (or refining) a training curriculum.

Each element in the curriculum needs to be supported by related material. Panopticon Consulting has developed training modules and materials on over 20 prison specific subjects as well as access to a database of generic training material (such as Training for Trainers). Out training material, and the modules that we produce, consist of: annotated speaking notes; PowerPoint slides; Handouts; and, where appropriate, prison related photographs and videos. We ensure that each subject and related materials are contextualised for use different countries. We do this by working with local staff and specialists to ensure that all materials are culturally relevant and tailored to local needs.

Panopticon Consulting has conducted full prion staff TNAs in: Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan; and Turkey. We have delivered staff training workshops, seminars and training courses, on a range of prison subjects, in over 12 countries. We have produced training manuals for use in 8 countries.