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Senior Correctional Officer
10 years with Corrective Services NSW
One thing Scott Powell loves about his job is that every day is different.
When a cell fire broke out at Grafton Correctional Centre on Mr Powell's shift in June last year, the 39-year-old found himself kicking in a door and dragging an inmate to safety.
"The inmates had barricaded the door with a mattress and set it on fire so another officer and I responded and I had to kick the door free and move the mattress," he says.
"I grabbed one of the inmates and by that point some other officers had come and the second inmate was dragged out.
"They had suffered a bit of smoke inhalation but were otherwise OK."
It is a far cry from his days working with his father as a tiler – a job that incidentally led to his career change after Mr Powell tiled a Grafton Correctional Centre floor.
He applied to become a correctional officer in October 2006 and enrolled in the Brush Farm Academy the following year.
Since then Mr Powell has worked at several correctional centres including Long Bay and Cessnock.
"I love that the job gives me the flexibility to move around and the fact that every day can be different," he says.
"Things are constantly changing - we don't know what we are going to experience every day when we walk through the door."
Mr Powell also enjoys the camaraderie between correctional officers but says it's frustrating the public often perceive them as violent.
"I think a big misconception is that all prison officers are thugs, that we spend our days rolling around, wrestling inmates," he says.
"In reality 99 per cent of this job is communicating with inmates, talking things through.
"One day they might be abusing you verbally and then a day later you could be helping them fill out an application to attend their father's funeral – and we'll be supporting them doing that.
"You don't take their behaviour personally – they are dealing with different things in their lives and sometimes that's just the way they vent."
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