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Assistant Superintendent, Bathurst Correctional Centre18 years with Corrective Services NSW
What does a typical corrections officer look like? According to Scott Fogarty’s wife, anything but him.
“Like most people who discover what I do, my wife was gobsmacked when we first met that a well-spoken, well-groomed, normal bloke could be a prison officer,” Mr Fogarty says.
“And like most people, her perception was based on what she’d seen in movies or on TV.”
Although the closest most of us have ever been to prison is via films like The Shawshank Redemption or television series like Wentworth, such depictions couldn’t be further from reality, according to Mr Fogarty.
A veteran of 18 years, Mr Fogarty, from Bathurst Correctional Centre in the Central West, loves the diversity of the job.
He is among 5,140 of Corrective Services NSW’s custodial officers, services and programs staff and psychologists - and more than 8,000 total staff - to be celebrated as part of the country’s first annual National Corrections Day.
“I like having been able to move to so many locations, learning and taking on so many diverse roles and meeting so many people from different walks of life,” Mr Fogarty says.
“There are so many different possibilities for anyone considering a corrections career, with an enormous range of roles and locations and experiences.”
For him, National Corrections Day is a “fantastic opportunity to share what we do, a chance to shake up some of those Green Mile myths, and to honour my dedicated and inspiring colleagues, both past and present.”
Mr Fogarty’s first experience of corrections wasn’t typical. “A relative of mine was an inmate for a time. I used to visit them in prison and I guess the seed to join corrections was planted then, especially as one of the blokes I played cricket with was an officer at that centre.
“He was such a great guy. He definitely changed my own preconceptions of officers too, and encouraged me to pursue this as a career.”
Now it’s truly a family affair. Mr Fogarty’s wife has worked with Corrective Services NSW for the past 14 years. His eldest daughter is also a correctional officer.
“I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about my daughter joining, but she’s proven to be a very well-respected and proactive officer, and I’m so proud of her,” Mr Fogarty says.
“One of my proudest moments was the day I collected my 15 year service medal at Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy in Eastwood. My daughter was also there receiving her Certificate III in Correctional Practice, and my wife and two younger daughters were also there.
“We were in full ceremonial dress, and it was just wonderful that we were all there together, representing CSNSW.”