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​Karen Hindmarch

Community Corrections officer, Liverpool Community Corrections
Five years with Corrective Services NSW

Karen Hindmarch always had a passion for helping people change their lives but it was in a previous job while assisting just-released inmates to find crisis accommodation that she realised she wanted to become a Community Corrections officer.

After working in real estate and at Housing NSW, the 40-year-old now builds networks with not-for-profit organisations to create unpaid work opportunities for offenders on court-based community-service orders at Liverpool Community Corrections, in Sydney’s west.

Ms Hindmarch 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.

“Some offenders arrive upset and don’t see why they need to do community service, but once they start working and are giving back to the community, they open up and start to discuss their offending behaviour and future goals,” Ms Hindmarch says.

“Some have never worked in a paid job before so community service gives them purpose one day a week, at times something to look forward to, and skills and confidence, which will hopefully break them out of their current cycle and provide reparation to the community.”

From knitting blankets for the disadvantaged to tidying up animal cages at the Animal Welfare League and cleaning up rivers in Chipping Norton, offenders perform unpaid work with community organisations as part of their sentence.

One of the offenders Ms Hindmarch had been working with was so keen to continue giving back to the community that he wanted to be linked up to help other non-for-profit organisations – even after his community-service order had been completed.

“The people I come in contact with can be at their lowest or carrying shame around their offending, so you have to show some respect for the fact we are not the judges and are only here to assist them; otherwise we only create more issues,” Ms Hindmarch says. 

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.

There are nearly 1,600 Community Corrections staff working at more than 130 reporting locations across the state, supervising offenders on parole and court-ordered community work.

Karen Hindmarch