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Raising the bars of a new prison career

Publication date: Friday 18 May 2018 

A former social worker and an ex-serviceman are among the latest officers to join Corrective Services NSW as part of a major recruitment blitz to improve the state’s prison system and reduce reoffending.

The group of 47 graduated at a ceremony at the CSNSW Brush Farm Academy in Sydney today after 10 weeks of intensive training.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott said new recruits were needed as part of a prison expansion program and investment in reducing reoffending.

“It is one of the largest recruitment drives in the department’s history,” Mr Elliott said.

“That means more custodial officers on the ground, more psychologists, more Community Corrections officers and more training staff among other roles.

“They all have the same goal of reducing reoffending to ensure a safer environment both in the prison and out there in the community.”

Additionally, new construction jobs are being created through the $3.8 billion Prison Bed Capacity Program.

There will be expansions of facilities including Bathurst, Cessnock, South Windsor, Kempsey, Nowra and the privately-run Parklea and Junee correctional centres.

New recruits will be graduating at Wellington, Cessnock and at Brush Farm later this year.

Assistant Commissioner for Governance and Continuous Improvement James Koulouris said world-class operational training is provided to our recruits to ensure they can confidently step into their new roles.

“Supervising and interacting with offenders can be challenging at times, however correctional staff play a vital role in the justice system and make an enormous contribution to the safety of the NSW community,” Mr Koulouris said.

“Today’s new recruits come from a variety of backgrounds and prior employments including IT specialists, retail workers, ex-servicemen and truck drivers, which adds diversity to our expanding organisation.

“In the past, we have had international delegations and graduates from interstate attend our training programs, which are a testament to the quality of training we provide.”

Correctional officer Petra Letunica, who was a former social worker, joined CSNSW to make a difference.

“I knew a person who turned their life around after learning valuable life and job skills on the inside and is now contributing successfully to the community,” Ms Letunica said.

Correctional officer Rachel Luscombe was also among the graduates and said the intensive training helped prepare them for the job ahead.

“The instructors were very supportive and we gained practical experience, which gave us a lot more confidence,” Ms Luscombe said.

The officers will work at correctional centres across the state including Mary Wade at Lidcombe, the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater, Dillwynia at Windsor, Cessnock and Wellington.

New recruits graduating at Brush Farm Academy