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Overseer, Bathurst Correctional CentreOne year with Corrective Services NSW
For Tara Strickland, service is a family tradition. Her grandfathers, brothers and partner have all served in the Australian Army, in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Timor L’Este.
And in her job as an overseer in Corrective Services Industries at Bathurst Correctional Centre in the Central West, it’s a powerful reason why she does what she does, and why she loves doing it.
“I do it for my family, for the families of victims and for the family I’ve made with my wonderful colleagues,” Ms Strickland says.
She is among 500 of Corrective Services NSW’s overseers and more than 8,000 total staff to be celebrated as part of the country’s first annual National Corrections Day.
Ms Strickland has been an officer for little more than a year, supervising inmates pack rations, first aid kits and handling chemicals for dispatch to other centres, but she plans to make corrections her life’s work.
She’s proud to represent CSNSW for National Corrections Day and her fellow officers, whom she calls her “work family”.
“Without their friendship and support, the job can be even more challenging,” Ms Strickland says. “But I know I can count on every one of my fellow officers to give me any support and assistance I need.”
Ms Strickland hopes that she can help the community to understand that she and her fellow officers are “just plain ordinary people like everyone else, doing a tough job that many don’t want to do.”
“We work together as a team to get the job done and to go home to our families,” she says.
“There are times that we have to deal with problems with inmates, but we try our best to help them. Sometimes, the help we give them to rehabilitate is the only help or care they’ve received from anyone.
“Ultimately, we want them to leave the centre better people, to not reoffend and to not return to custody.
“They’ve got families too. And if we can help them make those better choices, and learn how to lead better lives, they can be with their families again as well,” Ms Strickland says.