Australia’s 25,000 corrections staff are being applauded for their work in keeping the community safe, as part of a global campaign to recognise their dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) and many non-government associations around the globe have come together to thank the world’s prison and parole officers for their commitment and professionalism.
ICPA President and Corrective Services NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said Custodial and Community Corrections staff should be applauded for their ongoing work during this challenging time.
“Even at the best of times, Australia’s corrections staff go to work each day and face often dangerous situations when managing inmates in prisons and offenders in the community,” Mr Severin said.
“Now our officers are adapting to the new challenge of COVID-19 by keeping our prisons and parole offices safe from the disease, while also ensuring the smooth and safe running of our facilities – for this they should be truly applauded.”
The community is being asked to share the #WeApplaud message on their social media channels to show their support for the nation’s 25,000 correctional staff, who combined manage more than 43,000 inmates in custody and 83,000 offenders in the community.
Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Martin APM said that he was proud of the way that the 5,500 officers of QCS had worked to manage the risk of COVID-19 in a highly dynamic environment.
“Our officers have done a remarkable job in responding to the pandemic, developing new ways of working with prisoners and offenders to ensure that community safety was maintained,” Commissioner Martin said.
“We have seen the impacts of the pandemic in jurisdictions in other parts of the world, and the commitment our officers have shown in preventing COVID-19 entering our prisons has been commendable.
“Similarly, our community corrections officers have embraced new ways of supervising offenders in the community, adopting new technologies and changing the way they work.
“I would like to thank all of our officers for their work at a time when there is significant personal and social impact from the virus. It is reflective of their professionalism and commitment to keeping our community safe. I hope the wider community will join us in saying, ‘we applaud’ them.”
ICPA executive director Michelle Carpentier, a former correctional officer in Canada, said correctional officers keep our communities safer while helping offenders to successfully return to society.
“ICPA would like to recognise their commitment and acknowledge their contributions during this unprecedented time,” Ms Carpentier said.