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Publication date: Friday, 7 July 2017
Corrective Services NSW is celebrating the work of staff at Broken Hill Correctional Centre as the heritage-listed prison marks its 125th year.
The 90-bed prison opened in 1892 with just five prison 'warders' and now employs more than 60 staff, including community corrections officers, who work from a city office with offenders on parole.
Commissioner Peter Severin said Broken Hill Correctional Centre and its staff played an important role in keeping the community safe.
"Staff at the correctional centre on Gossan Street and the community corrections office on Argent Street do an incredible job in managing inmates and offering programs to reduce reoffending," Mr Severin said.
"Their work often goes unnoticed because it occurs behind the prison walls, but it should not go unacknowledged.
"As we mark the 125th year of this important regional facility, I want to thank both our custodial and community corrections staff for their excellent work supervising inmates and parolees."
When Broken Hill Gaol, as it was then named, opened on 8 November 1892, it held two female- and 19 male-inmates – including Patrick O'Heare, who managed to escape three days later during the confusion of the set-up.
The centre now holds up to 90 inmates, many of whom are employed by Corrective Services Industries in catering, maintenance and community work. Inmates are also offered a range of vocational and education opportunities to improve the post-release employment prospects.
Senior Correctional Officer Darryn Clifton joined CSNSW 15 years ago, following a career at Broken Hill City Council and NSW Fire & Rescue.
Mr Clifton said he loves being a correctional officer and said working for CSNSW has constantly developed his communication and problem-solving skills.
"Ninety-nine per cent of the time it's about effective communication with the inmates to address their issues and help them make the right decisions to turn their lives around," Mr Clifton said.
Mr Clifton also volunteers as a CSNSW peer-support officer providing staff support in times of need.
"This job can create stress for staff so it's good to know that there are people to talk to who can understand," Mr Clifton said.
"I'm there to listen to them in trying times and point them in the right direction."
Broken Hill Correctional Centre and Community Corrections
*Source: Broken Hill Correctional Centre Conservation Plan, 1996.