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Local jail like family

Tuesday, 14th January, 2020

Paula and Randall Pace at the Broken Hill jail. PICTURE: Corrections NSW Paula and Randall Pace at the Broken Hill jail. PICTURE: Corrections NSW

Randall and Paula Pace have lived in Broken Hill all their lives, so when they decided on a new career with Corrective Services NSW they were pleased they could stay in their home town.

After working as a manager at an electrical wholesale business for 17 years, Randall joined CSNSW in 2008 and is now a senior correctional officer at Broken Hill prison. 

Wife Paula is a services and programs officer at the prison and joined in 2015 after working in welfare and as a custodial officer at Juvenile Justice.

Randall and Paula are among 10,000 Corrective Services NSW staff who will be celebrated on Friday during National Corrections Day for their dedication in rehabilitating offenders and keeping the community safe. 

The theme of National Corrections Day is “We Are Family”, focussing on the camaraderie of CSNSW staff. Many of the staff, such as the Pace family, are also related.

Randall was encouraged to join CSNSW by a fellow volunteer at the Rural Fire Service, who was also a custodial officer at Broken Hill.

“I wanted a career that would be challenging and rewarding, and the diversity of the job also appealed to me,” he said.

Paula says she loved every aspect of her job, especially assisting inmates and providing programs to help reduce reoffending. 

She said she also enjoyed working with her colleagues, some of whom she considers an extension to her family.

“Broken Hill is a small town with a population of about 17,000 so I already knew some of the staff when I started, and because we spend so much time together it strengthens the friendship,” Paula said.

Randall also enjoys the camaraderie of his fellow officers and the support they provide.

“I have been lucky enough to have some work colleagues become like family and we have great friendships outside work,” he said.

Randall said having a close family is important after a challenging day at work and he enjoys working with his wife at the same prison.

“When Paula first joined I was a bit nervous due to the nature of the job, but now I realise she is a very capable, proactive employee and is well respected by her work peers. Paula is great to talk to and unwind with because of her understanding of the job.”

CSNSW employs about 5,600 custodial officers, 1,100 Community Corrections officers, 650 industries workers, 700 psychologists and programs officers and 680 administration people.

On Friday staff across NSW will hold morning teas and lunches, and raising funds for chosen charities, including NSW Rural Fire Service, Australian Red Cross and the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service.

Many officers volunteer with the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Service, and some have lost their homes and property in the bushfires.

In the lead up to National Corrections Day, CSNSW discovered about 200 family units working in the organisation and there are likely more. 

This is mostly due to parents recommending the career to their children or people meeting their life partner on the job. 

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