The work of the state’s 9,000 prison, parole and other corrective-services staff will be celebrated across NSW on Friday, January 18 on the second annual National Corrections Day.
This year’s theme is Working Corrections and highlights the valuable role of prison industries and community-service work teams in rehabilitating offenders and giving back to the community.
John Ryan had never thought about working in a prison when he was younger but he’s been able to put his previous skills, gained as an Army aircraft technician and teacher, into good use at Corrective Services NSW.
The 51-year-old has been an overseer for the past 11 years at Lithgow and Kirkconnell correctional centres, providing inmates with vocational training and classes to improve their rehabilitation and employment opportunities when they’re released from custody.
“Working and training is very important for offenders because they learn to be motivated, develop a work ethic and gain a sense of pride,” Mr Ryan said.
“Changing their behaviour is essential, as we don’t want them returning to the community as a burden.”
Mr Ryan leads the Community Projects Team, where a group of minimum-security inmates assist local community organisations with various tasks from the upkeep of churches and parks to painting scout halls and maintaining the Portland Rural Fire Service facility.
“The work undertaken by inmates over the years has not only helped in improving their behaviour but has also shown the community that offenders can change their ways, give back to their areas and do something good for society,” he said.
“It’s also nice when we receive positive letters, which thank us for the job we’ve done.”
Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said National Corrections Day was a good opportunity to acknowledge and thank corrections staff for their dedication and hard work in keeping the community safe.
“Our staff are varied and talented...they are the unsung heroes of our communities and we should all stop and thank them,” Mr Severin said.
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