Wellington jail has a new superintendent – and according to Barbara Andrews, she’s here to stay.
Ms Andrews has been appointed general manager (a new term for governor) of the proposed Mid Western Correctional Centre to be built on the outskirts of the town.
She replaces Ron Gibson, who retired for health reasons.
Ms Andrews said she plans to stay in the position at least until the new facility is completed in 2007.
With 25 years experience in the Department of Corrective Services, Ms Andrews’ most recent posting was as governor of the Kirkconnell Correctional Centre.
Her role will be to oversee the construction process and liaise with the community, making sure the project is completed and on budget.
The successful tenderer for the jail’s construction is expected to be announced in late March.
The jail will house 500 inmates, male and female, in both maximum and minimum security facilities.
This will be the first time Ms Andrews has been involved in the construction of a jail.
She described it as an exciting time for Wellington.
“I enjoy coming to a town and starting at a grassroots level to witness the town develop with the jail,” she said.
Ms Andrews witnessed this first-hand during her tenure at Kirkconnell.
She also stressed the importance of getting inmates ready for the outside world to prevent re-offending.
After consultation with the Wellington community, she hopes to get inmates working with the community on various projects.
“I know in Bathurst and Goulburn, inmates have been trained as shearers,” she said.
Ms Andrew said getting inmates to work on community projects was an important part of her job.
At Kirkconnell she was involved with the introduction of a program called Pups in Prison, where both the staff and inmates helped to train puppies for Assistance Australia which provided trained dogs to people with physical disabilities.
“It was such a success, they are now training a second group of dogs,” she said.
“It was great for the atmosphere in the centre as inmates worked closely with the
staff, improving their relationship.”
The children at Kirkconnell Public School also assisted with the program and were awarded a commendation from justice minister John Hatzistergos.
Ms Andrews already has ties with the Wellington community, having an aunt and uncle living in the town and knowing people in and around the area through her other role as a district officer with Lions Club International.
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