Issued: Sunday, 15 January 2017
While people may be familiar with the fictional officers from Wentworth or Orange is the New Black, Corrective Services NSW is today celebrating the real faces of prison life and thanking their more than 7,000 frontline staff.
Today marks the inaugural Corrections Day (Friday 20 January 2017), which takes the community beyond the prison walls to hear the stories of the men and women of the NSW correctional system who protect the community, rehabilitate inmates and aim to reduce reoffending.
CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said community corrections and custodial officers, industry and trade overseers, services and programs staff faced a tough and often dangerous job each day.
“Corrections Day is an opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution of frontline staff, who supervise offenders and keep our community safe,” Mr Severin said.
“Custodial officers respond to more than 60 incidents each day across the state, such as contraband finds, assaults, medical issues and often unpredictable scenarios.
“Our officers’ efforts mostly go unnoticed by the community, because the work they do is behind the walls of prisons or the doors of community corrections offices.
“Our staff undertake a wide-range of jobs, from delivering programs that rehabilitate offenders, to providing work skills that inmates can use post-release, and managing offenders’ case plans that help address their behaviour.”
Minister for Corrections David Elliott said correctional officers face situations that are similar to many other frontline officers, such as police and ambulance officers.
“Prison staff respond to fires in cells, break-up fights between inmates, as well as help address mental health and behavioural issues,” Mr Elliott said.
“They experience things that many of us will never see in a lifetime, but they act efficiently and professionally.
“Overseers who run industry and trade courses, as well as programs staff help with the inmate’s rehabilitation by providing guidance and skills that help turn their lives around.
“On the outside, community corrections officers supervise offenders on parole and other community-based orders to help reintegrate them back into the community.”
CSNSW employs more than 4,750 custodial officers, around 580 services and programs staff and psychologists as well as nearly 500 overseers at the 35 correctional centres across the state. More than 1200 community corrections officers are employed at the 58 community corrections offices and seven satellite offices in NSW.