Overseer, Goulburn Correctional Complex14 years with Corrective Services NSW
John Canty spent 14 years working inside Goulburn Correctional Complex before he decided to make his presence more permanent.
The Goulburn electrician had rewired entire buildings, installed the inmate television system and several security features within the complex before taking up a position as an overseer.
“I’d spent 70 per cent of my career working in the prison and during that time I saw what the overseers were doing and thought it would be a great way to share my telephone, electrical and computer systems skills,” Mr Canty says.
“I really liked the idea of passing on my skills and knowledge because it’s something that can help inmates improve their lives when they’re on the outside.”
Mr Canty is among the more than 9,000 Corrective Services NSW staff being celebrated for their commitment to community safety on National Corrections Day, Friday 18 January. CSNSW staff includes custodial officers, inmate services and programs staff, psychologists and parole officers.
Mr Canty joined Corrective Services Industries as an overseer in 2004 and worked with inmates to refurbish demountable buildings for government use. More recently the 56-year-old has worked in electrical maintenance.
Mr Canty says one of the unexpected benefits to the job was encountering former inmates who had turned their lives around. “One inmate who I trained on the crane gained his crane licence while he was with us and he flagged me down to tell me he was working on the cranes in the community and doing really well,” he says.
“It happens quite a lot – I had another offender call out to me to tell me that he was working in the community as a painter, after gaining those qualifications on the inside.”
Goulburn runs a variety of industries including food services, textiles, refurbishing demountable rooms, community projects, a furniture workshop and the Nurra Warra Umer program, which allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates to create arts and craft for sale.
Inmates are offered a variety of courses and qualifications, including forklift ticket, safe asbestos removal and construction White Card.
The 2019 National Corrections Day theme is Working Corrections, focussing on inmate industries and the work of Community Corrections officers, who supervise offenders on court-ordered community work.
Across the state, there are about 650 Corrective Services Industries’ staff, who oversee inmates undertaking work, training and other qualifications to help reintegrate them into the community and reduce reoffending.