Ask Tamworth Community Corrections officer Kylee Nash what she wants out of her job and the answer is simple: I hope my work breaks the cycle.
It sounds like a tough ask for someone who has been in the job less than two years but Kylee is already making incredible headway - eight of her offenders have completed their orders without reoffending for the first time in their lives.
“Seeing these men complete their orders was a real buzz because they were Aboriginal men who’ve had very long periods of supervision or custody,” the 45-year-old says.
“I’ve had success by getting their families involved, connecting them to appropriate local services or an opioid addiction program, or working with Families and Community Services to give them visitation with their kids, which makes a big difference to the way they see themselves.”
Kylee is among 10,000 Corrective Services NSW staff celebrated on National Corrections Day, Friday 15 January, for her commitment to community safety and reducing reoffending.
The proud Ngurrabul woman is active in the Tamworth Gomeroi community and brings experience to the job, with a background in housing and child protection.
She says her connection to culture and her knowledge of the local Aboriginal community helps build trust and a connection with offenders.
“Most of them have never seen an Aboriginal person on this side of the table but they know me, they know my family and they know I’m not just talking the talk, I’ve walked the walk,” the mother-of-three says.
“I hope my work breaks the cycle of offending for the guys and helps change their attitudes to the stigma of offending and towards all government departments. I hope it also helps break the cycle of domestic violence, drug use or having other family members going into prison too.
“It’s that ripple effect – you see the individual change, then you see their family change and hopefully my kids will see the change in the community in the next generation.”
Kylee attributes her successes so far to her willingness to listen to offenders’ stories, being a good role model and using every conversation as an opportunity to plant the seed to help change the offenders’ attitudes and behaviours.
The 2021 National Corrections Day theme is Working together to reduce reoffending, focusing on the ways our staff assist offenders through programs, education, promoting a good workplace culture and positive interactions.
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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