Manager of Industries, Shortland Correctional Centre
Almost 30 years with Corrective Services NSW
a team of staff and inmates to build the media village for the 2000 Sydney
Olympics has been one of the highlights for Col Austen.
one of many projects the 55-year-old has worked on in the nearly three decades
with Corrective Services NSW as a Senior Overseer and Manager of Industries at
both Cessnock and Shortland correctional centres in the Hunter region.
was a big job and not only was it hugely educational for everyone, but
something that was about lifting community spirit,” Mr Austen says.
the process, I was able to assist an inmate – who couldn’t read or write before
entering custody – to gain a forklift licence, which he was very grateful for.”
Austen 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. CSNSW staff includes custodial officers, inmate services and programs
staff, psychologists and parole officers.
joining CSNSW, the only connection Mr Austen had with prisons was undertaking
repair works at Grafton and Maitland gaols as an apprentice carpenter and
at CSNSW has ensured a stable career and has allowed me to utilise my previous
trade skills as a carpenter and joiner in the workplace,” Mr Austen says.
team of more than 50 overseers at Cessnock and Shortland supervise around 300
inmates in a variety of industries including timber furniture, print, food
services, laundry, ground maintenance, community projects and engineering.
very important that we give offenders an opportunity to learn new skills and
have time out of cells,” Mr Austen says.
need to turn up to work on time, be clean, have their ID card, achieve an
income, learn a routine and develop responsibility and if we don’t assist them
before they’re released, we’re just adding to the problem.
job has its real highs and lows but every inmate we can stop coming back is a
step in the right direction.”
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