If Paul Lancaster enjoys something, he sticks with it. That’s how the 59-year-old has clocked up 33 years working for Corrective Services NSW.
A boilermaker by trade, Mr Lancaster usually works as an Industries Manager at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, but is currently acting as a Project Manager looking after 10 staff and 650 contractors completing the 440-bed expansion of the prison at Kempsey.
“Once the expansion project is complete, we’ll have a couple hundred inmates working in Corrective Services Industries, and undertaking education or programs,” Mr Lancaster says.
He is among the more than 9000 Corrective Services NSW staff being celebrated for their commitment to community safety on National Corrections Day, which is Friday January 18. CSNSW staff includes custodial officers, inmate services and programs staff, psychologists and parole officers.
“I started as a correctional officer in 1985 and became an overseer a year later. Working in industries makes me feel like I’m making a real difference; we’re equipping inmates with skills that make them more employable and more likely to break the cycle of crime,” Mr Lancaster says.
“Inmates have the chance to work in furniture, upholstery, buy-ups, food services and ground maintenance. They learn great work ethic and experience a workplace as close to reality as possible so they can transition easily to employment outside of custody.”
Paul spent time in the Navy before joining CSNSW, where he has enjoyed a successful career that has included stints working at Grafton and St Heliers correctional centres.
When he’s not donning the blue uniform, Mr Lancaster is jumping into water and enjoying the diving that the Mid North Coast has to offer.
“We have some of the best diving spots in the world around here, so I’m very lucky,” he said.
The 2019 National Corrections Day theme is Working Corrections, focusing on inmate industries and the work of Community Corrections officers, who supervise offenders on court-ordered community work.
Across the state, there are about 650 Corrective Services Industries’ staff, who oversee inmates undertaking work, training and other qualifications to help reintegrate them into the community and reduce re-offending.
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