Griffith Community Corrections Manager
Six years with Corrective Services NSW
One of the biggest surprises for Lacey McMillan when she moved to Griffith in the state's south west was that she had to drive four hours to conduct home visits for some offenders.
The Community Corrections Manager says in order for offenders to reintegrate into the community, you must encourage a more positive home environment.
"Home visits provide me with the opportunity to assess whether an offender is in an optimal environment which enables a higher chance of reduced reoffending.
"One of the tasks I do is interview the offender's family or roommates to ensure that they are surrounded by people who encourage positive and appropriate behaviour."
"I aim to help offenders improve many aspects of their day-to-day life, from their behavioural issues to their living situations," she says.
After working as a clerk at Cessnock Courthouse, a colleague suggested she move into Community Corrections as it provided a way to help people.
Ms McMillan first worked in the Sydney City office, starting as an administration officer before progressing to a Community Corrections Officer at Fairfield and now a managerial role.
"I was interested to be in a role where I could assist the offenders that I saw in their court cases and help prevent future reoffending," she says.
The 27-year-old says there is a misconception about working as a Community Corrections Officer.
"Often people have the view that my role is solely to catch offenders in the act and that I'm there to put them back behind bars," she says.
"But really, we're here to effectively change an offender's life.
"Empathy and understanding are crucial skills to maintain a connection with the offender. You want them to know that you're trying to help them improve their future choices such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol.
"Change is incremental but it's the small steps such as securing housing are big wins in the long run."
Ms McMillian says moving to a rural environment has its challenges but she has developed her skills on the job.
"Sometimes it rains so much that the country roads are flooded and you can't access the offender's house," she says.
"Or it can take me half a day to drive to a home visit.
"But if I ever moved back to the city now, I understand a variety of complexities and can appreciate the various difficulties that rural Community Corrections officers face."
Work for CSNSW