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Assistant Superintendent, Bathurst Correctional Centre23 years with Corrective Services NSW
It has been more than two decades since Shane Earsman first stepped foot inside a correctional centre.
It was 1994 and Mr Earsman was a fresh-faced 23-year-old kid from the bush going to work with maximum-security offenders as a bakery overseer at Long Bay Correctional Centre.
He was a little nervous on day one as the reality set in that he would be working with some of the state’s most violent offenders and they would have access to knives, scrapers and other tools of the bakery trade.
“As soon as I let the inmates out of their cells to start work for the day they knew I was brand new and could probably smell the gum leaves on me,” Mr Earsman said.
“One offender, who was easily the biggest and hairiest human being I’d ever seen walked up alongside me and said ‘geez you smell nice Chief’.
“I had no idea what to do but my senior at the time chimed in and said ‘Bear, leave him alone, he’s new,’ and at this point all 25 of the workers burst into laughter.
“As it turned out, Bear and I went on to enjoy a good working relationship over the next few years and thankfully he never again told me how good I smelt.”
Since then, Mr Earsman has worked at Lithgow Correctional Centre, Bathurst and Moree Court Escort Security Unit’s, Bathurst Community Corrections and is now enjoying working five minutes from home as an Assistant Superintendent at Bathurst Correctional Centre, in the state’s Central West.
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.
“My current role involves managing both staff and offenders, including rostering, training and mentoring of staff, and overseeing inmate placements and mapping out their rehabilitation needs,” Mr Earsman said.
“Coming from a regional area means I often run in to former inmates in town and one thing that keeps me motivated is when I see that they are on the straight and narrow.
“I worked with an offender who turned his life around after seven years in custody and he still stops me in the street with his wife and children – almost six years after being released – to thank me for helping him when he needed it most.
With 23-years under his belt, Mr Earsman notes the most memorable moment in his career was being promoted to Assistant Superintendent.
“I love my job and the comradery I share with my workmates,” he says.
“My career also allows me to be a good role model for the most important people in my world – my children.”