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​NSW prison officers receive Queen’s Honours

Published date: Monday 11 June 2018

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Five outstanding Corrective Services NSW officers have been recognised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours, one awarded the Public Service Medal and four the Australian Corrections Medal.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott congratulated the recipients who are based at locations across the state including Mt Druitt, Silverwater and Wellington.

“These exceptional officers have gone above and beyond in rehabilitating offenders and keeping the community safe. They are our community’s unsung heroes,” Mr Elliott said.

CSNSW Acting Commissioner Luke Grant said the ACM recipients demonstrate the broad experience of roles within CSNSW.

“Corrections officers work in sometimes challenging circumstances, and the achievements and dedication shown by these officers deserve the highest recognition,” Mr Grant said.

“Corrections is not always an easy career path and these inspiring officers’ professionalism and integrity are worthy examples to follow.”

The Australian Corrections Medal is awarded to correctional officers around Australia for distinguished service and leadership.


Kevin Corcoran, CSNSW Assistant Commissioner since 2014, is awarded the Public Service Medal for making a significant contribution that has directly benefited CSNSW, the Department of Justice, Custodial Corrections and the broader NSW community.

Mr Corcoran said he was honoured by the award and shared it with the entire Custodial Corrections division.

"We have such a magnificent team in Custodial Corrections who work so hard to put together and implement a huge reform agenda. This honour belongs to all of us," Mr Corcoran said.

Since commencing as the Assistant Commissioner, he has embarked on a program that has delivered some of the most significant reform and infrastructure projects ever undertaken by Corrective Services NSW.

These projects include The Smoke Free Policy, Benchmarking of all corrections centres in NSW, and Rapid Build Prisons.

As part of the Rapid Build Prisons project he was responsible for the design and build of two new maximum security correctional centres in a total period of 18 months - compared to traditional construction periods of 4-5 years. The centres also operate on a unique structured environment that requires inmates to participate in work, education, programs and activities.

In addition he has also been the driver of a leadership and development program that has contributed towards the delivery of significant cultural change within CSNSW staff; improved the work skills and training programs for inmates to assist them in post release employment, and implemented best business practices that have included an overhaul of the Operations Procedures Manual.

Mr Corcoran's application of professionalism and his ability to deal with, and implement changes to, a broad range of issues, is testament to his leadership and ongoing commitment to the betterment of CSNSW.


Barry Grice, Unit Leader at the Mount Druitt Community Corrections Office in Sydney’s west since 2008, has consistently demonstrated, throughout his career of over 22 years, the value of Community Corrections for the people of NSW. He has done this as a program facilitator, a Community Corrections officer, a unit leader and as an acting manager.

Mr Grice, 76, described his award as “very humbling”.

“There are so many people I have worked with over the years for whom I have a high regard for their capacity and dedication,” Mr Grice said.

“Helping to restore people to functional living is a wonderful career.”

In this role as Unit Leader at Mt Druitt, he provides consistent support and leadership to staff to help offenders and in doing so makes the community a safer place.

His role is frontline and he deals extensively on a day-to-day basis with offenders on a range of community-based orders, including parole. He works diligently to maintain the quality of services delivered directly to offenders through face to face contact, and is required to be responsive to the crisis behaviours of offenders who attend the Mt Druitt office.

Mr Grice is one of the most respected individuals in Community Corrections and he is highly regarded by staff, offenders and community agencies. He consistently demonstrates CSNSW's values of service, trust, accountability, integrity and respect.


Emma Smith, Senior Assistant Superintendent at the Macquarie Correctional Centre at Wellington in the state’s Central West since 2017, joined CSNSW in 2000 as a trainee correctional officer.

Throughout her 17-year career with CSNSW, Ms Smith has proven herself to be a dedicated officer who has consistently demonstrated professional and exemplary behaviour in difficult and confrontational workplaces.

Ms Smith said she was both shocked and honoured by the honour: “I work as part of a team, anything I achieve is because I work with such amazing people. It just makes my job so much easier.”

She was first appointed to the role of correctional officer at the maximum-security John Morony Correctional Centre, which houses over 400 male inmates.

In 2001, she transferred to the Downing Centre Court Complex in Central Sydney - a crowded and hostile environment with a high degree of confrontation, due to many offenders being affected by illicit substances and suffering mental health issues.

In 2004, Ms Smith was promoted to Senior Correctional Officer at Oberon Correctional Centre, in the Central West, before transferring to Mid North Coast Correctional Centre at Kempsey. There, she was part of the commissioning team for the new correctional centre housing over 650 male and female inmates of all security classifications.

She was promoted to Chief Correctional Officer at Wellington Correctional Centre in 2007, working in the intelligence officer role and acting as a positive role model to junior staff.

In 2017, she was promoted to the frontline management role of Senior Assistant Superintendent at Macquarie Correctional Centre.

Through her leadership, the centre has successfully transited to operational status in a short period of time, without serious incident.


Mark Simmons, a Senior Correctional Officer at the Extreme High Security Unit at Silverwater Correctional Centre in Sydney’s west since 2009, started with CSNSW in 1992 as a correctional officer at Parramatta.

During his 25 years with CSNSW, Mr Simmons has demonstrated an exemplary level of care and commitment and is a true example of what it means to be a correctional officer.

He has worked in a number of locations including at Parramatta, John Morony and Long Bay correctional centres and Silverwater Security and Intelligence in the Sydney region.

As a highly trained officer he has been intensively engaged in different emergency and first response units at Silverwater and Long Bay. He has shown continuous commitment to CSNSW through his trustworthy and professional nature.

Mr Simmons has proven to be a dedicated leader of the EHS Unit, showing outstanding professionalism. EHS is a highly specialised unit requiring constant vigilance and efficiency.

As a senior officer he has significant experience in escorting and transporting extremely challenging, high-security inmates and shares this experience when training new recruits.

As part of his role, he liaises with internal and external stakeholders in disseminating important intelligence information and he has been able to conduct accurate security reviews of high risk inmates and he continues to focus on the cost-effectiveness of the EHS unit.


Details not available at the request of recipient.

All photos courtesy CSNSW