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Senior Assistant Superintendent
18 years with Corrective Services NSW
Knowing you can make a difference to people's lives is what has driven correctional officer Adriana Mugica every day for the past 18 years.
The Senior Assistant Superintendent, who works at the state's largest female prison, Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre, completed her Master of Forensic Mental Health last year and has been a strong advocate for good mental health for both inmates and staff.
"My studies have taught me a lot about mental illness and how to better communicate with inmates," Ms Mugica says.
"We've got to wear different hats all the time because each offender has a different personality or needs – some can be mentally unwell and you have to change your attitude and management style accordingly."
Ms Mugica was six when her family immigrated to Australia in 1974. She left school after Year 10 to join the Royal Australian Navy before becoming a correctional officer. She has also worked with NSW Fire and Rescue on the mid north coast.
"Behind the prison walls, we do act like ambulance, fire-fighters and police. We respond to cell fires, fights and other issues and we have to deal with that immediately," she says.
"Some public might perceive us as uneducated, corrupt or hard on the inmates and that's far from the truth.
"Our officers come from a variety of different backgrounds and careers, which enhances the culture of the team."
The 48-year-old has spent time working at Dillwynia, Long Bay as well as the Brush Farm Academy, working with the Security Threat Group and Corrections Intelligence Group.
"One of the best things about Corrective Services is that you can move into different areas," she says.
"I also love that you never know what you're going to face each day. One morning is very quiet and the next you could be negotiating an inmate to come down from a roof.
"But at the end of the day you are there to manage the inmates, direct them to get the right support and hopefully make a difference."
Work for CSNSW