Attributable to Public Service Association general secretary Stewart Little:
“The Public Service Association is deeply saddened to learn of Ron Woodham’s death. He was a union member for more than 40 years, rising from prison officer to the top job in a remarkable career that oversaw significant reform of NSW’s corrections system.
“Ron’s prison officer instinct for knowing the difference between a crook and someone who had a tough start in life stayed with him even in the top job. This understanding of the system and those within it saw him deliver innovative and meaningful reform.
“He was among the first to recognise Indigenous inmates needed more help than others. He pioneered specific programs to support rehabilitation and find a better life outside of prison. Ron was an advocate for women inmates, including establishing the mothers and children program. He also saw the power of caring for animals to aid rehabilitation and introduced programs across NSW.
“He was dedicated to improving our jails. While at times the union disagreed with him over just how to do that, no one ever doubted his fundamental commitment to bettering the lives of those who live and work in NSW’s jails.
“If a prison officer needed help Ron was the first person to put his hand in his pocket. He bled blue.
“On behalf of the union, I send my heartfelt condolences to his family.”