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Senior Community Corrections Officer, ParramattaFive years with Corrective Services NSW
In his five years with Corrective Services NSW, Feterika Setu-Galo has been an advocate for positive change.
As a Senior Community Corrections Officer Mr Setu-Galo works to help rehabilitate and reintegrate a diverse range of offenders, from those on home detention to domestic violence offenders, inmates transitioning out of custody and even former outlaw motorcycle gang members.
He is among 1,400 of CSNSW’s Community Corrections officers and more than 8,000 total staff to be celebrated as part of the country’s first annual National Corrections Day.
“I believe that if people are equipped with the right tools and are shown an alternative to what they’ve always known, they can start making positive changes to their lives,” Mr Setu-Galo says.
“An even safer community can be a result of this positive change, and it can have a generational impact. Offenders are people too – they have families and come from all walks of life.”
Mr Setu-Galo, who is based at Parramatta in Sydney’s West, says that such change involves close case management and instilling and maintaining motivation in offenders so that they can feel empowered to make good and long-lasting decisions on their own, with even greater effects.
“Take an offender with domestic violence-related offences who grew up seeing his father and other significant men in his life act violently,” Mr Setu-Galo says.
“If we can help this particular offender get the skills, understanding and support towards changing his life, we may have prevented his children and his children’s children perpetuating the same cycle. It has a domino effect.”
Maintaining that motivation can be especially challenging, though, when their main social and familial support systems are anti-social, as in the case of outlaw motorcycle gang members trying to leave their gangs and make positive changes.
It helps that Mr Setu-Galo loves his job, knowing that he can help contribute to changing people’s lives for the better, making the community safer and working with equally passionate and dedicated colleagues.
“Their inspiring examples are one of the best things about the job,” Mr Setu-Galo says proudly.
“National Corrections Day is a great opportunity to represent my colleagues and the great work they do under often challenging circumstances,” Mr Setu-Galo says of sharing his story for National Corrections Day.
“The public don’t often get to see the valuable contribution frontline staff make to keep our community safe, given how most of our work is behind prison walls or community corrections’ doors.”
Community Corrections officers work intensely with offenders once they are released from custody on parole, or are serving community based orders, to provide them with professional case management and supervision in the community.
Evidence shows that supervision combined with rehabilitation is the most effective way of reducing reoffending.
Under new laws to strengthen sentencing options and enable smarter management of parolees, more offenders will be subject to supervision by Community Corrections officers.
The new laws are part of a package of reforms being rolled out by the middle of next year to reduce reoffending, improve community safety and support victims.