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​Arthur Eenink

Overseer, Emu Plains Correctional Centre
More than 20 years with Corrective Services NSW

Tinker, Navy man, railway worker, prison officer: Arthur Eenink has worn a range of different caps. The 54-year-old spent the majority of his career as a sheet-metal worker before trading metal for milk in March this year.

“I love it here, love it,” Mr Eeenink says of his new Corrective Services Industries role overseeing 15 working inmates at the dairy of Emu Plains Correctional Centre.

“A lot of the pasteurisation and homogenisation process is mechanical, which is what I know and we’re doing a lot of milk: we ship out 24,000 cartons a day to prisons across the state.”

Mr Eenink is among the more than 9,000 Corrective Services NSW staff being celebrated for their commitment to community safety on National Corrections Day, Friday 18 January.

Mr Eenink first joined Corrective Services NSW as a prison officer in the early 1990s at Bathurst Correctional Centre in the state’s central west. As a trained sheet-metal worker, he would fill in as an overseer at the prison’s metal shop when needed and it was not long before he made the switch full time.

He later spent one year at Queensland’s Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre before realising he missed the overseer life, so he returned to NSW and took up a post at the metal shop at Silverwater’s minimum-security prison in Sydney’s west – where he remained for 23 years.

“I had one inmate who came in with no skills at all, who I trained as a metalworker and he later became a foreman and called us up to tell us,” Mr Eenink says.

“It’s good to know that you are helping someone out and good to see the inmates take advantage of the courses and training.

“The main way they improve their attitude is if you give them some sort of responsibility, which allows them to have ownership of something – I’ve always found that the best formula.

“It can change a whole person from feeling like they have nothing to contribute to someone feeling that they are needed and have a responsibility.”

The 2019 National Corrections Day theme is Working Corrections, focussing on inmate industries and the work of Community Corrections officers, who supervise offenders on court-ordered community work.

Across the state, there are 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.

Arthur Eenink