A South Coast Correctional Centre officer is helping Aboriginal offenders stay on the right path by reconnecting them with their culture and family.
Aboriginal services and programs officer Stan Jarrett has worked at the South Nowra facility for 10 years, rehabilitating Aboriginal inmates through mentoring, programs and cultural activities.
“I take these offenders on a journey of cultural navigation because once they know their mob and identity, it builds confidence in them to want to change their behaviour,” he says.
Stan is among 10,000 Corrective Services NSW staff celebrated on National Corrections Day, Friday 15 January, for his commitment to reducing reoffending.
Over the years, he has organised several successful cultural activities for inmates including Aboriginal art projects such as the painting of totem poles, and a Koori cook off.
“The yarning circle is a very important cultural strengthening exercise because I sit down with the men on a human level, away from the white board and in an environment where we can build respect,” Stan says.
“The first question is ‘Who’s your family?’ and some can’t say who their clan is but I’m there to help them, and you do see their pride come out when they begin to form that connection.
“Once I’m able to build a rapport and have those positive interactions, we can begin to move forward and address their risk factors and find out what’s got them to where they are today.”
The 2021 National Corrections Day theme is Working together to reduce reoffending, focusing on the ways corrections staff work hard to assist offenders through programs, education, promoting a good workplace culture and positive interactions.
The Kootchaditchi and Gumbaynggirr man, originally from Rockhampton in Queensland, previously worked as state manager of the Aboriginal Client Service with the NSW local courts to improve community awareness and understanding of court processes and services.
“For me reducing reoffending is about seeing these men and women stay out of trouble, live a substance-free life and be on the outside to enjoy their culture and families,” he says.
“It’s the small successes that keep you going. When I go to Koori community events and see former inmates with their families, in a stable relationship, their behaviour curbed and their family saying he’s a different bloke, it’s beautiful to watch.”
Stan also facilitates the Babiin Miyagang fathering program for Aboriginal offenders, providing them with skills to maintain a positive relationship with their children.
“I want to show them how they can coach their kids not dictate, and I also share traditional Aboriginal fathering practices.”
CSNSW includes about 5,000 custodial officers, 1,800 Community Corrections staff, 750 industries workers, 720 psychologists and programs officers and 1,170 Security and Intelligence staff.
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