Counselling Support Officer
15 years with Corrective Services NSW
Vicki Walcott is a country girl at heart, who just happens to work with the state's most dangerous criminals at Goulburn's SuperMax prison.
For the past 15 years the experienced nurse and counsellor has sat down with the likes of serial killer Ivan Milat and dangerous gang leader Bassam Hamzy, providing guidance to men too violent to house anywhere else.
It's all in a day's work for Ms Walcott.
Inmates are secured behind bars during interviews with Ms Walcott, who is accompanied by a colleague at every meeting.
In these sessions she draws upon her vast experience as a mental health, sexual assault and domestic violence counsellor to help the men deal with issues in their lives and better adapt to prison life.
"Some inmates are really angry when they come in, so it's a step forward when they start to talk and open up about personal issues or emotional wellbeing," she says.
"Success for us is seeing some of them move up behaviour management levels and learn to use the social skills."
Ms Walcott says inmates serving time for terrorism offences are often difficult to engage with.
"These inmates are very reluctant to open up about their mental health issues and stressors," she says.
"They keep to themselves and try to manage it in their own way, which is a challenge for us."
During her time at the High Risk Management Correctional Centre, Ms Walcott has also worked as a volunteer Peer Support Officer for fellow staff.
"I get so much job satisfaction working with the staff - even more so than the inmates sometimes," she says.
"It's nice to see a colleague come in with stress and walk out of my door feeling a bit better."
Work for CSNSW