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Senior Correctional Officer, Glen Innes Correctional Centre20 years with Corrective Services NSW
Senior Correctional Officer Charlie Heath once subdued a violent and out-of-control inmate, maintaining the safety and security of his fellow officers, and earning him a Corrective Services NSW Bravery Medal.
The 62-year-old from Glen Innes Correctional Centre in northern NSW unfortunately sustained injuries during the incident, but his courage did not go unnoticed.
Mr Heath is among 5,140 of CSNSW’s custodial officers, services and programs staff and psychologists - and more than 8,000 total staff - to be celebrated as part of the country’s first annual National Corrections Day.
“I was simply doing my job but I am very humbled that my colleagues nominated me for the award,” he said.
“The comradeship between staff is one of the things I love most about my job, as well as seeing inmates released after working hard in custody to try and turn their lives around.”
Over the past two decades Mr Heath has also worked at Dawn de Loas Correctional Centre and Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater in Sydney’s west.
His current role involves receiving new receptions, supervising movements, and managing any inmate issues that may arise.
“At Glen Innes we hold minimum security inmates who are all employed in various locations, and most of them are conscientious and are pleased to be in a prison with so much open space,” Mr Heath said.
“I help maintain a safe environment for my colleagues and the inmates in my care, and I assist offenders to deal with their incarceration and help them plan for their release.
“Locking people up and throwing away the key doesn’t work. It’s better to help the person so they are released with the best chance of living in society as a law abiding citizen.”
Mr Heath worked in the military and as a project manager in England before moving to Australia 22-years-ago and joining CSNSW shortly after.
“I made the move for the Aussie lifestyle and the opportunities, and I’ve never looked back. When I’m not working, I get stuck into my renovating, furniture making and cycling,” Mr Heath said.
“Every day before work I ride either 43km on road or 25km mountain biking – often on the forest tracks that surround the prison – and I sometimes think about sending an invoice to the department for my morning patrols.”