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Senior Assistant Superintendent
25 years with Corrective Services NSW
Seeing the bravery of his fellow correctional officers is always a highlight of the job for Adrian Clarke.
The Senior Assistant Superintendent has worked at Cessnock Correctional Centre for the past 17 years and says courageous officers throwing themselves into life threatening situations are just part of the role.
"Just last year, two inmates set fire to their cell," Mr Clarke says.
"Without hesitation, two officers ran into the burning cell to pull out the unconscious inmates and extinguish the fire.
"Staff made sure all the inmates received immediate medical care. It truly was a team approach.
"I remember reviewing the CCTV footage afterwards and was amazed at the split-second, brave decision made by those officers to run into the burning situation to save the lives of those inmates.
The 57-year-old says the organisation is full of these stories, which shows officers are dedicated professionals.
"When we go into any situation, we go in as a unit to control the incident quickly so offenders and the staff don't get injured," he says.
"I've been attacked by an inmate in the past but it was my colleagues that came to the rescue.
"It can be traumatising but you're provided the counselling and help to not dwell on it and move on.
"It's not a job you can take on lightly."
The former truck driver joined the organisation as it provided him with him with a career. He has also worked at Long Bay, Oberon and Grafton correctional centres.
"The organisation gives staff the opportunity to further their education and receive various diplomas and accreditations," Mr Clarke says.
"We are highly qualified staff that undertake a variety of roles.
Mr Clarke says inmates have become more challenging over time.
"They now have a complexity of issues, there are a lot more young offenders and many are in custody due to drug or violence-related offences."
Mr Clarke is currently the Project Coordinator of the Prison Bed Expansion Program at Cessnock Correctional Centre, assisting the project to build three new facilities to house 1,000 inmates.