Muswellbrook’s St Heliers Correctional Centre highlights valuable employees as National Corrections Day looms

THE work of the state’s 9000 prison, parole and other corrective-services staff will be celebrated across NSW next week 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, including those employed at the St Heliers Correctional Centre at Muswellbrook.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said National Corrections Day – on Friday, January 18 – was a good opportunity to acknowledge and thank employees for their dedication and hard work in keeping the community safe. 

“Our staff are varied and talented, and include custodial officers, security and intelligence officers, inmate services and programs staff, psychologists and parole officers,” he explained.

“They are the unsung heroes of our communities and we should all stop and thank them.

“Our Community Corrections officers supervise almost 10,000 offenders on court-ordered community-service work annually for more than 560 non-profit organisations.

“We also have about 650 Corrective Services Industries staff, who oversee inmates undertaking work, training and other qualifications to help reintegrate them into the community and reduce reoffending.” 

Corrections Day was established by CSNSW in January 2017 to pay homage to frontline corrections staff and provide the community with a better understanding of the challenging and often dangerous work they do each day. 

The initiative gained momentum and last year was adopted by other states and territories to become National Corrections Day, celebrating the 25,000 frontline staff across Australia. 

Attorney General and Acting Minister for Corrections Mark Speakman said it was important for the community to understand the important work that is being done behind the walls of prisons or the doors of Community Corrections offices. 

“Each day our corrections officers go to work and have to manage some of the most difficult and dangerous offenders, while also striving to rehabilitate them through education and training to help them put their lives back on track,” he said.

“Another of the aims of prison industries, where inmates make their own clothes and prepare their own food, is to substantially reduce the cost to NSW taxpayers.” 

There are about 5700 inmates employed by Corrective Services Industries in a range of trades, including engineering, manufacturing, agriculture and hospitality.