Spotlight on Pauline Randall – Correctional Officer Port Lincoln Prison
When did you join Correctional Services? 5/3/1990
What have you enjoyed the most about your time in the job? The camaraderie between Staff and the flexibility with our roster for family and the other commitments I have.
What do you think makes Corrections a great place to work? Correctional Services is a great secure job. It is great to be part of a team and to know they are there for me.
What are the biggest changes or projects you’ve been involved in across your career? Since I first started here at Port Lincoln Prison I have seen it grow from having 56 prisoners to 202 prisoners. I have seen the cellblock grow with Units 2&3 and 5&6 added on and Bluefin and Yellowfin units built. 1994 saw the near closure of the Prison with staff cut backs and redundancies offered, thankfully with the support of the community we are here today to see the prison grow.
I have seen the Industries side of the prison that was run by the General Manager and which was a working Prison with a working dairy, a piggery, sheep, crops and a well maintained garden that supplied the Prison with all the vegies. We did our own butchering and baking and whatever extra produce we had left sent to Port Augusta Prison.The majority of prisoners were employed on the farm and the prison ran as a very self-sufficient prison. Changes in management saw the pigs, dairy cows, chickens and a lot of the machinery sold off. The baking stopped and the butchering stopped and they only ran sheep, crops and a garden that did not do so well, they believed we were better off buying egg, vegies and meat etc.This affected the amount of prisoners employed out on the farm, garden and the expanding numbers of prisoners made the unemployment greater in the prison. Now the Industries have been returned to the General Manager’s care.
We also had work gangs that would go out and do jobs for the community like beach cleaning, bushfire work gangs with a fire unit, fencing after fires and every Thursday night I would take out a touch football team to play at the high School against community teams. We also had supervised day leaves and 2 prisoners that were employed in the community one prisoner worked on the flower farm, one prisoner working on a local farm and one prisoner attended TAFE.
I was the only Female Correctional Officer on and off over the years and the only female for a long period of time. In the early years we had some of the Officers wives trained as casual or admin staff to help me with the strip searching of female prisoners. Today about one third of all staff are female..
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is the commencement of case management and the big role that it now plays in the management of Offenders – from the development of their sentence plan during their imprisonment and their through-care planning for release either to Parole/Home Detention or at the end of their sentence. I have seen the department change from a disciplinarian management era to the Case Management principals of today. I have also seen the Prison slowly change from a protection and special needs prison over the years to now having a lot of mainstream prisoners and the changes that have been implemented in how we handle the different prisoner population.
What is the most important thing you’ve learnt across your career in corrections? Being part of a team that when there is an incident that you can depend on your work mates to help you out. When I come through the front gate to start work I leave my personal life behind and start my work life, when I leave work and go through the front gates I then pick up my personal life. Be yourself at work and don’t be complacent.
What advice would you give to new officers starting out in corrections? I would tell them that if they do not know something or what to do when working make sure they ask someone and don’t think any question is a stupid one. If a prisoner asks you a question make sure the information is correct and if you do not know the answer tell them you will find out. Never give them false or misleading information and never make promises. Never discuss private things when prisoners are around.Treat prisoners all the same and do not become over friendly, don’t work on your own and lead by example. We have a duty of care towards Prisoners. Be clear, consistent, don’t get complacent and work hard. Find the best qualities from watching experienced Officers work, and try to apply them to your work ethic.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I enjoy camping, reading, going on cruises and time with family and friends. I spend any free time I have at Coffin Bay at our shack.