Corrective Services NSW inmates and staff from a correctional centre near Windsor have been donating their time and labour to assist a not-for-profit homeless support group.
Each week, minimum-security inmates from the Outer Metropolitan Multi-Purpose Correctional Centre meet with Hawkesbury Helping Hands to prepare and serve food, and provide much-needed social interaction for those experiencing homelessness.
OMMPCC Assistant Superintendent Jack Mahoney had the idea to get inmates involved in the charity and said it is a win-win for all involved.
“The inmates are assisting some of the most vulnerable members of the local community and gaining a sense of belonging and empathy in the process,” Mr Mahoney said.
“Bridging the gap between custodial staff, inmates and the wider community is vital for inmates’ reintegration into society and through this positive interaction we are also reducing their risk of reoffending.”
Minister for Corrections David Elliott praised CSNSW staff and inmates for helping those who need it most.
“The inmates involved in the program would have faced their own personal struggles in the past and it’s encouraging to see that they’ve now made a commitment to support others during their time of need,” Mr Elliott said.
Member for Hawkesbury Dominic Perrottet said it is great to see inmates constructively using their time in custody to make positive change within the community.
“Not-for-profits like Helping Hands rely on the support of local businesses, organisations and community members to continuously have a big impact, and it is fantastic to see CSNSW getting involved in such a worthy cause,” Mr Perrottet said.
Inmates have assisted people such as Dave, 38, who has spent the past three years sleeping rough on the streets of Mount Druitt and Windsor after losing his family to illness.
Kimbo, 62, is another rough sleeper who has been living on and off the streets for the past 18 years and can only communicate via a pen and notepad.