Western Australia’s longest-serving female superintendent Jan Allen ACM has officially retired today leaving behind an internationally recognised reputation in female offender management.
Ms Allen, who retires as an Acting Deputy Commissioner, was the first superintendent of the Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women from 2004 to 2019.
The centre was considered controversial by some at the time with its different approach to community living and rehabilitation, but it is now held up internationally as one of the best female offender management facilities in the world.
Ms Allen was recognised with a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, with sapphire pin, for her work with communities in helping to rehabilitate female offenders.
In 2018, Ms Allen was one of the first two Western Australians to receive the inaugural Australian Corrections Medal.
Ms Allen joined Corrective Services in 1988 and worked in maximum security male prisons until 2003 when she became the Assistant Superintendent of the former Nyandi Women’s Prison in Bentley.
Her move to Boronia next door sparked what would be a life-long passion for working with female offenders and for ensuring their smooth reintegration into the community.
Ms Allen affected intergenerational change within families and she worked tirelessly with community organisations to help facilitate programs to enable effective rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders.
As a parting project for Corrective Services, Ms Allen wrote an e-learning training package for staff to better understand the unique requirements of managing female offenders.
The package, which is expected to come online later this year, will also enable regional staff to undertake it remotely.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“Jan Allen was an integral part of Western Australia’s corrective services for decades and helped pioneer what was then considered an out-of-the-box approach to female offender management at Boronia.
“Now that approach is so well regarded that Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women regularly attracts international members of corrective services as well as academics who visit the centre to learn how they manage female offenders.
“I have spent a great deal of time with Ms Allen and was honoured to join her when she was one of the first two Western Australians to receive the inaugural Australian Corrections Medal in 2018.
“Ms Allen would often receive thank you letters from ex-offenders who had set up new lives in the community thanks to Jan’s and her team’s work.
“I would like to thank Ms Allen for her tireless work in seeking to provide intergenerational change for female offenders by trying to help break the cycle of offending.
“Her legacy will be the delivery of a better understanding throughout the system of the differences that define the management of female offenders who often have backgrounds of domestic abuse, homelessness and debt.
“I would like to wish Ms Allen all the best for a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”