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New podcast on life ‘Behind the Walls’ of NSW prisons

Last published on 10 Mar 2021 in Media Releases

A ground-breaking new podcast launching this Sunday takes listeners on a journey into what it’s like to work inside the state’s prisons and parole offices.

Behind the Walls is a six-part series featuring first-hand accounts from 30 correctional officers about what really happens behind bars, from riots to contraband detection and incredible stories of rehabilitation.

Download images for ep one here:

Crime author and former journalist Michael Duffy spent six months recording the series at 11 correctional centres and four Community Corrections offices.

“I was a court reporter for years but I had no idea what happened to convicted offenders when they were taken off to prison – like many people, I was just glad it was someone else’s job to look after them,” Mr Duffy said.

“Also, like many people, I thought prison was just about locks and security. For this podcast, I’ve gone to talk with real prison officers and discovered that their jobs – and they themselves – are about much more than that.”

Officer Sarah Smith shares her views in the first episode, The Job, released on 14 March. Others interviewed for the series include officers from Silverwater’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre, Long Bay, Bathurst, Lithgow, Kirkconnell, Cooma, Macquarie, Dawn De Loas and Emu Plains correctional centres.

“Everyone seems to focus on what the media has to say, so unless someone’s getting gassed or has been bashed or been stabbed, you don’t really hear anything,” Ms Smith said.

“You don’t hear about the inmate who got out two years ago, who has been in-and-out of jail his whole life and who hasn’t come back into custody because he has been rehabilitated.”

Lithgow Correctional Centre’s Andrew Guffogg also features in The Job and said there were many myths about correctional officers and the work they do.

“It is dangerous if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr Guffogg said.

“It’s dangerous if you drop the ball and you don’t pay attention to what you should be doing if you turn your back in the wrong post.

“But for the most part if you comply with the centre’s policies and procedures, the guidelines regarding security, for the most part it can be a very safe job.”

Episode one, Behind the Walls: The Job will be available to listen on all good podcast apps on Sunday 14 March. New episodes will be dropped every Thursday.
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