Four Corrective Services NSW officers with a combined work history of 100 years were recognised today for their exceptional service in the Australia Day Honours.
Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts said the officers from Cessnock, Silverwater and Windsor earned the prestigious Australian Corrections Medal.
“We are honoured to have such esteemed individuals working for CSNSW and these officers should be very proud to be receiving this national recognition,” Mr Roberts said.
“The medal acknowledges these exemplary officers who have shown leadership and commitment to dedicating their working life to community safety and reducing reoffending.”
CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said the officers deserved the highest recognition for developing initiatives in correctional centres, which have helped staff and inmates.
“The medal holds special significance because staff are nominated by their peers, so they are true role models,” Mr Severin said.
“We come together today to acknowledge the wonderful efforts that Kieren, David, Vesna and Shaun bring to CSNSW and extend to them our deepest congratulations for shining a light on the positive work our staff do every day in managing offenders.”
The officers will be invested with their medals at NSW Government House later this year.
Kieren Shea ACM, Regional Support Manager Northern Region, Offender Services and Programs
Mr Shea commenced his service with CSNSW in 1985. He served in the correctional officer role in various centres, and in 2001 was appointed Manager of Offender Services, Programs and Employment at St Heliers Correctional Centre, in Muswellbrook.
At St Heliers he initiated work-release opportunities for minimum-security inmates, in the areas of local council, mining, building and abattoirs. His actions led to skills acquisition and future employment opportunities for many inmates.
In 2014, he was promoted to Regional Support Manager for the North Region where he is responsible for program and service delivery to inmates at nine correctional centres, and program delivery to offenders in 21 Community Corrections offices. He is also responsible for 111 staff.
As Regional Support Manager he supports the direct implementation and review of services and programs.
He was also influential in introducing the trial ‘Peer Support Program’ at St Heliers with CSNSW partner Red Cross.
His assistance to a diverse population of offenders with complex needs has contributed significantly to their rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.
“I am sincerely surprised and grateful to have been nominated,” Mr Shea said.
“Like most of my colleagues, we don’t do this role for the recognition, but because we truly believe that what we do on a daily basis contributes to the greater good.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with some amazing people throughout my career and could not have achieved what I have without the support of these colleagues and my team members. To be recognised for my career and achievements is humbling.”
David Harrower ACM, Senior Correctional Officer, Cessnock Correctional Centre
Mr Harrower has served CSNSW for more than 30 years and is currently a Senior Correctional Officer at the Cessnock Correctional Centre.
During his career he initiated and introduced a range of programs to assist inmates with their education and rehabilitation, and provide a service to the community. These programs included the Indigenous Weather Knowledge Program with the Bureau of Meteorology to conduct a detailed record from the Ngemba people, traditional owners of the land in the Brewarrina region.
While working at the Reception and Induction Centre at Long Bay, he was instrumental in having inmates participate in the South Sydney Touch Football Competition.
At Long Bay he introduced and facilitated the Young Offenders Program, which saw inmates mentoring young offenders in their transition to the main inmate population.
At Tomago Periodic Detention Centre in 1997, he introduced a range of programs to assist with inmate rehabilitation. Inmates maintained the grounds at St Peters Old Burial Ground at East Maitland, and others with appropriate building qualifications constructed a storage facility for the Caves Beach Surf Club.
He motivates inmates into employment roles within the Cessnock centre and actively promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, sport and education programs.
“When I was first told that I had been nominated I was embarrassed given that I have worked with so many amazing individuals over the years, who I believed would have been more deserving of this medal,” Mr Harrower said.
“They are now long retired but I wish the Australian Corrections Medal was around when they were working with me, as it really is such an honour to be receiving it.”
Vesna Mijatovic ACM, Senior Correctional Officer, Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre, Silverwater
Ms Mijatovic joined CSNSW in 1997 at the Long Bay Complex. She later transferred to the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre (MRRC) and became a senior correctional officer. She acted as Assistant Superintendent at the centre for three years.
As the MRRC Movement Coordinator, she manages new arrivals at the centre, by identifying their immediate needs and assessing any risks. She ensures offenders undergo the assessment process prior to being placed in the centre. The role requires dedication and attention to detail to ensure offenders are managed safely and effectively.
Additionally, she performs the role of a supervisor in the accommodation units, where she manages the day-to-day needs of offenders and the continuing security of the units.
She also conducts inmate classification, case management interviews and assessments, identifying each individual’s requirements to progress through the system, including programs and work opportunities.
“The role is challenging and different every day but I’m just grateful to be able to do a job that I enjoy,” Ms Mijatovic said.
“As a female officer working in a male-dominated area, I hope to encourage younger females to try this career, which has been rewarding for me.
“It can be daunting when you first start particularly for young female officers but I’ve always wanted to share my advice and assist my colleagues when I can.”
Shaun Danby ACM, Corrective Services Industries Operations Manager, Francis Greenway Correctional Complex, Berkshire Park
Mr Danby began his career with the NSW Government at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in 1996, then Juvenile Justice in 2001 and six years later joined CSNSW as an overseer.
He later worked as a senior project officer at the Francis Greenway Correctional Complex, Windsor, and business unit manager for Statewide Infrastructure Supply.
Since 2017 he has been the Corrective Services Industries Operations Manager, leading a team of trade-qualified overseers on construction, emergency and urgent building and maintenance works throughout CSNSW.
He maximises inmate participation on all projects, providing training, programs and real life work to inmates, which ultimately leads to assisting their rehabilitation.
He develops inmates through managing, coaching, instructing and encouraging them to improve their work skills, enhances their post-release employment prospects, and contributes productively to the community.
The program provides significant savings to the taxpayer and his hands on approach whilst mentoring and training inmates has been highly successful in achieving positive outcomes for CSNSW and inmates.
“I am surrounded by a great group of people and I believe that I owe my success to my team,” Mr Danby said.
“I feel like I am just doing my job so you can imagine my surprise to discover that my peers had nominated me. It’s an honour I don’t take lightly.”