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Published Date: Saturday 26 January 2019
[PDF version of this media release]
The exceptional service of four Corrective Services NSW officers at Bathurst, Windsor, Blacktown and Wellington has been recognised in this year’s Australia’s Day Honours List, with the awarding of the Australian Corrections Medal.
Kylie Fogarty, David Thomas, Mandy Zaccazan and Justin Beavis have been acknowledged for their distinguished service and leadership across the department.
Minister for Corrections David Elliott congratulated the recipients who have made a contribution to both CSNSW and the NSW community.
“All four staff members, who have more than 75 years’ service combined, have been dedicated to assisting offenders’ rehabilitation and ensuring our community is safer,” Mr Elliott said.
“From delivering new initiatives to reduce reoffending, liaising with community and key stakeholders to create a safer correctional environment, each officer has excelled in their job, day in, day out.
“The NSW Government led a national push for the introduction Australian Corrections Medal, which is a fantastic opportunity to publicly recognise the difficult work you do, which is mostly out of the community’s sight.”
Commissioner Peter Severin said all four officers were a reflection of CSNSW’s camaraderie.
“All staff have been nominated by their peers and provided great mentorship to their colleagues,” Mr Severin said.
“The Australian Corrections Medal is the highest acknowledgment of our staff who strive to go above and beyond their duties.
“I congratulate Kylie, David, Mandy and Justin on receiving the recognition they deserve.”
The Australian Corrections Medal is awarded to correctional officers around Australia for distinguished service and leadership. The four recipients will be invested with their medals at NSW Government House in May this year.
Overseer Kylie Fogarty has been recognised for her work with the Defence Community Dogs program at Bathurst Correctional Centre. Ms Fogarty has been with CSNSW for 16 years and was recruited in 2015 to manage the program, which assists offender rehabilitation, saves dogs from euthanasia, and vastly improves the lives of Australian war veterans suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has built a strong rapport and respect for the program and inmates in the Bathurst community.
Business Unit Manager David Thomas, a 33-year CSNSW veteran, has proven his ability to manage and deliver high-quality infrastructure projects. Since joining CSNSW in late 1985, Mr Thomas has been involved the construction of Justice Health clinics at numerous prisons and a segregated custody unit at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Silverwater. Mr Thomas has consistently exhibited outstanding leadership, commitment and dedication by supporting team members to deliver facilities to improve the management of inmates.
Aboriginal Client Service Officer Mandy Zaccazan joined CSNSW in 2003 and has been honoured for her work with Aboriginal offenders, both in custody and in the community. Ms Zaccazan provides advice and support for Community Corrections officers in the assessment of offenders of different cultural backgrounds in Sydney's west. Ms Zaccazan’s reputation for integrity and professionalism is exceptional.
Principal Correctional Officer Justin Beavis has spent the past 12 years working towards creating safer correctional environments for staff. From being part of the Wellington Correctional Centre commissioning team to working in the Immediate Action Team, Mr Beavis has worked in various roles across the correctional system. He is also recognised for his camaraderie by supporting and mentoring other officers.
Kylie Fogarty, Overseer at Bathurst Correctional Centre in the NSW Central West, has been recognised for her role in managing its highly-acclaimed Defence Community Dogs program.
She joined CSNSW in 2002 as an Alcohol and Other Drug Worker and has worked in various roles and units including Offender Services and Programs, Restorative Justice and Community Corrections throughout her 16-year career.
Ms Fogarty currently supervises a group of inmates to train rescue-dogs, which assist war veterans who are injured or suffering from post-traumatic stress.
The program makes a healthy contribution to the lives of veterans while also providing inmates with work and training skills to assist with their reintegration in the community.
Ms Fogarty has built a strong rapport and bond with the local Bathurst and veteran communities through the program, with the inmates and dogs selected to lead the city’s Anzac Day parade last year.
Ms Fogarty said she felt surprised and honoured to receive the Australian Corrections Medal and hoped it would raise awareness about the benefits of the program.
“It’s extremely humbling to be part of something that is achieving such significant outcomes for not only Australian veterans, but also for offenders and rescued dogs,” Ms Fogarty said.
“We’ve had positive feedback from veterans, such as their dogs physically waking them up from night terrors to their dogs helping them walk into shopping centres and other public areas. On the other hand, inmates learn self-discipline, patience, commitment and consistency in addition to vocational skills and training.
“Since moving from Sydney, Bathurst staff and the community have been incredible in supporting me through good and bad times – this is my home now.”
David Thomas has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership in his 33 years with CSNSW as an overseer, making a significant contribution to building infrastructure across the prison system to improve the management of inmates and enhance the security of correctional centres.
He started as a Senior Overseer at Cessnock Correctional Centre in 1985 before becoming a Business Unit Manager in 2006 at the John Morony Correctional Complex in Sydney’s north-west.
Mr Thomas has managed projects including the construction of health clinics at Long Bay, St Heliers and Outer Metropolitan Multi-Purpose correctional centres, audio-visual link units at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Silverwater and the construction of a segregated custody unit at the Long Bay Correctional Complex.
He is lauded by his colleagues for his work ethic and ability to deliver projects on time, on budget and to quality standards.
Mr Thomas said he was shocked and appreciative of the recognition but said it was very much a team effort.
“It has been a rewarding career and I’m glad to have made a difference but I accept this award for my team, who I consider my friends as well,” Mr Thomas said.
“Although we are overseers, our training as custodial officers has ensured we understand the correctional environment to enhance security in our prisons.
“Where possible, we also utilise inmates to assist with almost all aspects of construction, which provides them with skills to help their rehabilitation while also saving taxpayer dollars.”
Mandy Zaccazan is highly committed to her role as an Aboriginal Client Liaison Officer at Blacktown and Penrith Community Corrections, where she has worked over the past decade.
She works with Community Corrections officers on the assessment and case-management of offenders from diverse cultural backgrounds to reduce re-offending, while building community networks and partnerships to enhance community-based offender programs.
Ms Zaccazan began her career with CSNSW in 2003 working in case management before taking up her current role.
She conducts regular interviews and home visits with offenders and liaises with families, key stakeholders and other relevant service providers to ensure ongoing risk-management and support.
Her numerous achievements include coordinating NAIDOC Week events, coordinating Circle Sentencing forums at Blacktown and Mount Druitt local courts and launching the Doonside Koori Outreach program.
Ms Zaccazan said it’s an honour to be recognised and that the award is bigger than me.
“The award represents the dedicated work-family beside me in Community Corrections, the strong leadership given by managers, the encouragement by my family as well as the contributions of our Elders and community members in their guidance and team work,” Ms Zaccazan said.
“My father is a Wiradjuri man, who never fails to remind me of the importance of my responsibility as an Aboriginal worker, which pushes me to make positive change and reduce reoffending.”
In his 12 years with CSNSW, Wellington Principal Correctional Officer Justin Beavis has made an invaluable contribution to ensuring a positive and safe working environment for staff.
After beginning his career at Dillwynia Correctional Centre, Mr Beavis moved to the state’s central west in 2007 to be part of the commissioning team of Wellington Correctional Centre, where he played a significant role in recruiting staff and inducting new officers.
In the decade he has spent at Wellington, Mr Beavis has been part of the Immediate Action Team, ensuring volatile situations are dealt with calmly and professionally.
He has also played an important role in intelligence-gathering by building a strong rapport with NSW Police to organise visitor search operations at the prison, which has resulted in a reduction of contraband entering the centre.
Through his work as a Peer Support Officer, Mr Beavis has earned great respect from his colleagues for his ability to mentor junior staff and assist officers who may be going through tough times.
Mr Beavis said working in a prison is very much a team effort.
“I’ve never forgotten what it’s like to be at the bottom and need help, so it’s a big thing to me that my peers can feel confident to share any issues they may have,” Mr Beavis said.
“I feel I'm no more deserving than any of my colleagues but it is nice to be recognised.”