Overseer, Goulburn Correctional ComplexEight years with Corrective Services NSW
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing – it is a mantra that Goulburn Correctional Centre’s Mark Derwent applies to all areas of life.
Whether the father-of-three is with his local Men’s Ministry meeting – sharing food and discussing men’s health – or working with offenders in Corrective Services Industries, he looks for ways to lead by example and help others.
“This job is an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, for the individual and for the community,” Manager of Industries Mr Derwent says.
“If we can give inmates skills and the opportunity to leave their life of crime that is life-changing. What we do collectively in all of our roles is extremely important – and that’s the reason I love my job.”
Mr Derwent 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 Derwent joined Corrective Services NSW in 2010 as an overseer at Lithgow Correctional Centre’s textiles industry, with experience working in an embroidery factory.
It was at that factory near Silverwater, in western Sydney, that Mr Derwent first encountered inmates working on day release. It was on the advice of his best mate, a Community Corrections officer, that the 40-year-old finally sought a career with CSNSW.
“My mate loved his job, loved the department, his colleagues and the work he was doing to help these offenders back on track,” Mr Derwent says.
“The greatest asset Corrective Services has is its staff. In critical incidents it’s amazing how we come together to support each other.
“The work we do is very challenging but I hate to see people throw their lives away behind bars, so I see my work in industries as an opportunity to change that.”
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 artefacts and craft work for sale.
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.