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First Class Correctional Officer

15 years with Corrective Services NSW

It was a regular customer, who worked in the prison system, at his family business that triggered the then 21-year-old Goran to become a correctional officer.

Fifteen years later, the First Class Correctional Officer works at one of the state's biggest prisons, the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Sydney's west, where he is part of the team that ensures workplace health and safety.

"It's very important that we mitigate risks as there are incidents – sometimes mass fights on rare occasions – but we have to make sure every staff member and inmate is ok," he says.

"That's the great thing about the job. You know your fellow colleagues have your back.

"It was very eye-opening and challenging for me coming into the job at a young age and I didn't know what to expect but I haven't looked back since."

Goran has worked in several different roles within the organisation from the Kevin Waller unit at Long Bay to the court-escort security unit and being part of the team that first used video conferencing scheduling system at Parklea Correctional Centre.

"I remember one time when two gangs of inmates were facing off in one of the yards," he says.

"Gaol-made shivs were drawn. Dealing with these incidents is part of the job and each officer knew exactly their role to break up the brawl.

"It's challenging working with inmates but you treat them firmly and fairly. It's a professional relationship."

"It's not a me versus them mentality. We give inmates every opportunity to better their lives but they have got to want it. We refer them to services and programs, which give them the opportunities to address their offending behaviour."

Goran says the drug ice has played a noticeable effect on inmates.

"Dealing with offenders has become harder as they're more unpredictable, but we've learnt to adapt to a changing environment.

Goran says he expects to be in the job for at least another 15 years – if the job will have him.

"It's rewarding and I'm doing something for the community by keeping these people away from society. The offenders have done something wrong to end up in prison."

Work fo​r CSNSW​​