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​Bryan Reiri

Senior Overseer, Bathurst Correctional Centre
29 years with Corrective Services NSW

Bryan Reiri’s 29-year career with Corrective Services NSW started with a series of coincidences. He had been working on a construction site in Sydney when a strike was called, and he found himself two blocks away from CSNSW head office, reading an advertisement for prison officer jobs.

“I was reading the newspaper, saw the ad and looked at my watch – they were sitting course entrance-tests in 20 minutes and I was two blocks away, so I figured, why not?” the Bathurst Correctional Centre Senior Overseer says.

“Sure enough I took the tests and the next thing I knew, I had a letter to say I was starting at the prison academy. Three months later I was on the job at Long Bay and haven’t looked back since.”

Mr Reiri 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.

Mr Reiri began as a kitchen overseer at Long Bay in 1989, using his skills as a butcher to prepare all the meat for meals. He later worked as a correctional officer, before transferring to Bathurst in 1997.

Since 2000, the 57-year-old has been overseeing the Girrawaa Arts Centre, which allows up to 15 inmates to gain skills and experience, creating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, picture framing and learning skills like laser-cutting, engraving and sandblasting.

“There is a real satisfaction for me – and the inmates – to see them create a high quality of work and take pride in what they have accomplished,” Mr Reiri says.

“The program creates an opportunity for them – they’re learning new skills but it also gets them in touch with their culture creating didgeridoos and other artworks.”

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. 

Bryan Reiri