Working at the Correctional Institution Caribbean Netherlands as a security guard. Something for you?

What exactly is the work of a security guard in the prison? What kind of educational background do you need and what are the career opportunities? There is a modern prison on Bonaire. Unique to the Caribbean. They work hard on a reintegration policy and there are, in addition to the regular detention, 8 clinical places. In the autumn of 2019 a pilot takes off for the introduction of youth detention.

That sounds good but to an outsider the prison is a rather unknown world. It is a society within our normal society. A world with fixed structures and its own rules. We try to give you the best possible idea of the world behind the closed doors because perhaps working at a prison may well be something for you!

What type of work is available in the prison?

In popular vernacular it is also referred to as a guard or gaoler but what kind of work do you actually do? It is a collective name for two positions, namely, security guard and supervisor. In the prison system this is referred to as a BEWA and a PIW. BEWA stands for ‘Beveiliger/Bewaarder’ (Guard/Gaoler) and PIW stands for ‘Penitentiair Inrichtingswerker’ (Correctional Institution Employee).

Briefly put, the security guard (BEWA) provides for the security of the building. The supervisor, or the PIW, is the person who has ample contact with the prisoners. They provide for the peace, order and safety at the living ward and for the supervision (treatment) of the prisoners.

What educational background is required to apply as a security guard?

MBO 2 (senior secondary vocational education) is sufficient because the security guard training is organised internally. More than a piece of paper, it is about certain competencies. We ask Suyen Koffy, Security Team Leader, about this. She answers almost immediately: “Sharp, alert and honourable!”

What are the duties of a security guard?

In summary you can say that the security guard provides for the security of the building and its residents and in this respect you can think about the following duties:

  • Check and welcome of visitors
  • Inspection of vehicles
  • Operation of the doors in the central area
  • Supervision during the visiting moments
  • Scheduling and performance of cell inspections
  • Supervision at the medical ward, workplace, library
  • Accompanying prisoners to the court, hospital, dentist, etc.
  • Management of pagers and walkie-talkies
  • Access control
  • Detainee supervision and isolation provision
  • Acting during contingencies
  • Special duties, namely Internal Assistance Team (IBT): perform deployment, transfers, detection actions. 
  • Special duties, namely Transport Team, hence our Weapon Bearers: accompany detainees to the court, hospital dentist, etc.
Suyen Koffy, department head

What do you like about the security work?

“Expecting the unexpected and the variety make the work enjoyable!!”

How does the work as a security guard affect your private life in a small community?

“I started paying more attention to where I go and with whom. I never stand in the centre of a club and I usually pick a spot where I can see everything. I like keeping a bit of control on the things that happen around me”, she reacts laughing. “And well, at home it is the same but my sweetheart does correct me with: "Hey, work is over. Switch, you are home!”

Why did you choose the prison system?

“It is varied work during which you deal a lot with people. People who made wrong choices in their life, for one reason or the other. You are there to care for them and to offer them a second chance in life so that they start making the right choices. I think it is great that I can be part of that. That way I make my own small contribution to society.”

Do you want to work with the JICN?

The Correctional Institution Caribbean Netherlands is frequently looking for new colleagues. So please keep an eye on our site for any vacancies and the corresponding application form.

You passed everything and the first working day has arrived. What can you expect?

As a new employee you start the day with an introduction. The necessary administration is handled, e.g. the creation of an access badge and a mentor is assigned to you. You then present yourself during the morning meeting. The morning meeting takes place every day. It is discussed what happened during the previous day and night and what needs to be taken into account. Then a tour starts and you receive the rota and a traineeship folder. This folder covers a period of 4 weeks that represents the induction period.

During this induction period there is daily contact with the mentor and a team leader. It is examined and discussed how the traineeship progresses, what you experience and where additional attention is still required. After these four weeks it is evaluated whether you can continue without a mentor or that it is handy to continue the supervision by the mentor a little longer. This continues until you are familiar with all work instructions and all applicable protocols and you can perform your work at the security posts in a pleasant and trusted manner.

Apart from the induction period every employee follows the basic vocational training (BBO)

The BBO starts as soon as there are enough new employees. In the meantime you work in the security. Hence the training takes place during working hours and is paid in full.

Everybody must follow the 4-week basic vocational training. The training consists of theoretic and practical components.

The theoretic component includes the following themes:

  • Addiction care
  • Security
  • Communication and aggression control
  • Integrity
  • Infectious diseases
  • Reporting
  • Penitentiary law

At the end of the training an examination is taken in a number of subjects in order to obtain the diploma. The training is provided by the Training Institute (OI) of the Correctional Institutions Agency (DJI). They send the teachers to the JICN on Bonaire to provide the lessons. Apart from the teachers from the Netherlands, local specialists also provide parts of the BBO, e.g. the addiction care.

Practical component:

The Elementary Self-Defence (EZ) is provided by a sports instructor of the OI DJI, in association with our own sports instructors (ILOs). This is also associated with an examination component. If you fail one of the components then it is possible to take a re-examination. Ultimately, passing the BBO and the company emergency response (BHV) is a requirement for a permanent appointment.

What are the career opportunities?
As a security guard additional duties can be assigned to you, e.g. weapon bearer and participation in the internal assistance team (IBT). The IBT is called when threatening situations arise. They then provide for control. You also receive internal training for this.
It is also possible to move on to PIW if you are interested in the more social side of the work in a prison. The PIW training is also provided internally. All in all there are sufficient opportunities to broaden your horizon.