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Senior Correctional Officer
20 years with Corrective Services NSW
After seeing a newspaper advertisement for prison officers, Jane Lohse signed up to be a correctional officer and for the past 20 years she's been working in the prison system and helping to rehabilitate inmates.
The former nurse says the job was similar to her former work as it was about dealing with vulnerable people and assisting behavioural change in relation to offending.
"It's about keeping the community safe," Ms Lohse says.
"You have to be patient, have the courage and conviction and the belief in what you're doing.
"We aim to get the best out of these offenders."
The 64-year-old is currently working on frontline duties but has previously worked with the security threat group for more than 10 years, which dealt with violent and challenging offenders, many of who were part of gangs.
"The role was very demanding and it was intense work but staff were specially trained," she says.
"Each offender was managed on an individual basis to undertake certain programs to address their offending behaviour.
"I remember one instance of an inmate who had been part of a gang but going through the program really changed his life. It meant so much to him that he finished his prison time and never came back."
Ms Lohse says she has seen a change in the job over her time with CSNSW.
"There are a lot more female officers that have joined. It's good because you need that balance," she says.
"I think illegal drugs have made offenders more aggressive and have a lack of respect for authority. However, we adapt to the changing environment."
The grandmother, who is a keen gardener, admits they receive verbal abuse, can be spat on and there are assaults inside the system.
"I love being part of a team and developing on the job every day," Ms Lohse says.
"It's challenging at times but we do the best we can."
Work for CSNSW