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Female inmates meet Governor General

Issued: Friday, 17 October 2014

Corrective Services staff and inmates at Dillwynia Correctional Centre were graced by “royalty” on 15 October. The Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Cosgrove, visited the women’s facility near Windsor as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

The week aims to improve the understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship in Australia and overseas. It encourages Australians to participate in activities to overcome these issues.

Commissioner Peter Severin and CSNSW management accompanied Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove on the vice regal visit. The Governor-General had specifically requested to meet inmates involved in vocational training.

Sir Peter met inmates studying in the education and vocational training centre. He told them that it was the first time that a Governor-General had visited a correctional centre, and that he hoped that it was not the last.

The delegation was shown a video produced by the inmates for Dillwynia TV, an in-house television service. Senior Education Officer Harinder Kaur spoke about the technology and training required to run the service. The Governor-General said he was very impressed by the video and acknowledged the skills involved.

He encouraged the inmates to chat about the training and work opportunities available to them. Some explained that they had also gained forklift licences and truck driving licences while in custody, and how these skills will assist them on their release.

One inmate highlighted the amount of support that she had gained from CSNSW education staff. “Had these teachers been in our lives when we were younger – we probably wouldn’t be here,” she said.

The group was also shown through the Corrective Services Industries (CSI) Buy Up Distribution Centre where inmates were busily packing orders. Buy Ups allow inmates the opportunity to order and purchase food items and toiletries with their own money.

Officers explained how CSI offers work and traineeships to inmates, and pointed out one who just completed her Certificate III in Warehousing Operations. The Governor General took the opportunity to present the certificate to the inmate and congratulated her on her achievement.