- Five WA staff receive the prestigious Australian Corrections Medal for distinguished service
- Two Noongar elders, including NAIDOC Elder of the Year, among the ACM recipients
- This year's awards bring the number of WA ACM recipients to 10
Australia's NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year Greg Little is among five Western Australian Corrective Services staff to have been honoured with the prestigious Australian Corrections Medal in this year's Australia Day Honours.
Mr Little, a Noongar Elder, has been recognised for his work as a prison support officer at Bunbury Regional Prison where he has played a major role in the management, leadership and mentoring of the prisoner support team.
Fellow Noongar Elder Samuel Dinah has also been recognised with an ACM for his involvement with the Aboriginal Visitors Scheme and is part of a team that visits custodial facilities and courts to support and advise indigenous people involved in the justice system.
The Australian Corrections Medal was only introduced to the Australia Day Honours in 2017 and today's recipients bring the total to 10 Western Australians awarded an ACM.
The 2020 ACM recipients are:
Mr Samuel Dinah is a member of the Aboriginal Visitors Scheme. Since joining the Department in 2004, Sam has been pivotal in helping families concerned about a relative in custody. He is one of a small team which visits metropolitan and regional custodial facilities, police lock-ups and courts to support and advise indigenous offenders.
Ms Cassandra Gilbert is an Adult Community Corrections Manager in the Pilbara and Kimberley. Since joining the Department as a prison officer in 1995, Cassandra has worked in several positions and locations. In her current role, she sometimes travels more than 1,065km a day to support staff who work with offenders in the community.
Mr Benjamin Leadbetter is Assistant Superintendent, Security Support and Administration in the Special Operations Group. Since joining the Department as a prison officer 15 years ago, Ben's skills have been in demand during prison incidents and emergencies to restore good order and security without significant injuries to staff or prisoners. He has also contributed to policy development and specialist training delivery.
Mr Gregory Little is a Prison Support Officer and a highly respected Elder of the Noongar Boodjar who has worked at Bunbury Regional Prison for 19 years. Greg plays a major role in the management, leadership and mentoring of the prisoner peer support team focussing on preventing suicide and self-harm and continuing to support prisoners after their release. Greg was the 2019 national NAIDOC Elder of the Year.
Ms Leith Thomas is Assistant Superintendent, Offender Services West Kimberley Regional Prison. Since joining the Department as a nurse at Broome Regional Prison in 2007, Leith has held several positions including as team member for the prison addiction services and employment co-ordinator. She has established good relationships with communities and understands what skills prisoners need to find work on release.
Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
"I would like to congratulate the five Corrective Services staff who have received this prestigious recognition.
"Their work in contributing to the safety and security of the prison environment and the rehabilitation of prisoners in their care is essential to ensuring safer WA communities.
"It's wonderful to see that two of our indigenous staff members have also been recognised for their invaluable work supporting members of the indigenous community in custody as well as their families.
"Thank you to Mr Dinah for his work with the Aboriginal Visitors Scheme, which makes a significant difference to indigenous people involved in the justice system and their families.
"Congratulations to Ms Gilbert for her work in the community with offenders, which I believe the wider public does not fully appreciate. Our community management teams make a big difference in not only keeping the community safe, but also helping to turn an offender's life around.
"Mr Leadbetter's work with the Special Operations Group sees him working in a high-pressure environment and keeping prison staff and prisoners safe during critical incidents. I congratulate him for his work in contributing to the training of other officers in this specialist area.
"Mr Little's work in mentoring indigenous people to improve their lives has been recognised for helping to pave the way for the rehabilitation of prisoners so they are better equipped to reintegrate back into society.
"Ms Thomas' great connections with her local community mean she is well placed to put prisoners into the programs that suit their skills and educational levels. Her work ensures that prisoners remain engaged in the programs they do and prepares them with skills for when they are released."
Minister's office - 6552 6300