North Shore parole officers share their stories in podcast

Parole officers from across Sydney reveal what it’s like to work with offenders one-on-one in a ground-breaking new podcast, Behind the Walls.

Hosted by crime author Michael Duffy, the six-part series features first-hand accounts from 30 correctional officers about what really happens behind the walls of prisons and doors of parole offices in NSW.

One such interview is with Grace Wong, who works at Hornsby Community Corrections where staff supervise parolees and offenders on community-based court sentences.

“We do get a lot of clients who walk through the door with histories of childhood trauma, sexual abuse, exposure to violence at an early age and domestic violence,” Ms Wong said.

“I think a lot of the trauma that clients go through and their abuse history contributes to the reasons why they end up in our system. There are some really sad stories that walk through the door.”

Download images for ep six here:

Community Corrections officers work one-on-one with offenders, helping them to address the reasons why they commit crime and how they can stop it. This includes developing management plans, regular monitoring and referral to necessary services and programs.

St Leonards Community Corrections officer Jessie Slattery-McDonald told the podcast that while interventions could assist a person to lead a more pro-social life, sometimes that wisdom only comes with age.

“I feel like we can do everything we can, but if someone is not ready to change in themselves, that’s where it gets difficult,” Ms Slattery-McDonald said.

“Whereas you can have someone that has been repeat offending for 30, 40 odd years and they finally get to a point where they’re like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’. They’re seeing that there’s no benefit whatsoever.

“The 18-25 age group is hard because they tend to have a slight arrogance, they are a little bit invincible. They don’t really see an issue, particularly if some of them are still living at home.

“So they’re not working, they’re just hanging out and they don’t really see the consequences of their actions.

“It’s when they’ve got more responsibilities, they’re getting older, they’re not achieving what their peers might be, and they kind of realise that there’s no point doing what they’re doing.”

Episode six, Behind the Walls: Parole will be released Thursday 16 April and available for free on all good podcast apps. It is the final episode in the ground-breaking six part series about working in prisons and parole.

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