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​Brett Cousley

Nowra Community Corrections Manager

31 years with Corrective Services NSW

For Brett Cousley, honesty is the best policy when dealing with offenders on parole.

The Community Corrections Manager has spent more than 30 years on the job, helping thousands of offenders to try to reintegrate into the community and reduce their reoffending.

"In order to help them to the best of my ability, I need to know exactly what activities the offender is doing, and to understand their background – home environment, substance misuse issues and associates," Mr Cousley says.

"I try to work with offenders, identifying alternative models of behaviour, issues that need to be addressed and coping skills for them to move in the right direction.

"At the end of the day, we do a good but hard job to ensure offenders in the community are held accountable for their offending but also for their responsibility in addressing lifestyle deficits and choices."

Mr Cousley joined CSNSW after completing a psychology degree. It was during work experience at a rehabilitation clinic helping head-injury patients with cognitive issues that he was encouraged to join Community Corrections.

Anywhere between eight and 40 offenders attend the Nowra Community Corrections office on any one day. The majority of offences involve the misuse of substances and often relate to violence.

"We undertake a variety of tasks when case managing each offender, referring them to a variety of services and internal programs, depending on their need such as mental health, employment or alcohol and drug use," Mr Cousley says.

"But we also monitor their substance misuse issues and undertake drug and alcohol breath testing of offenders to ensure they comply with their conditions and to measure their adherence to their agreed case plan."

Mr Cousley says it's the small wins on the job that count.

"One former offender who I had supervised came back to my office a fair time after he completed his order. When on supervision, he had revealed a drug addiction but through persistence with his specific case management, he beat his habit and gained successful employment" he says.  

"He met a stable partner and was very thankful for the support offered to him."

The Nowra Community Corrections office and the South Coast Correctional Centre also run a Community Partnership Program that provides offenders and minimum-security inmates the opportunity to undertake community work for organisations, such as the local council and service clubs.