Will Swan, 31 March, 2022
William is a corrections officer who helps improve lives.
I'm passionate about working in corrections to ensure the community is safe and vulnerable people make good decisions to not commit anymore crimes.
I came to this realisation while studying a double degree in law and justice at QUT. That led to now working in the High Risk Offender Management Unit (HROMU) at Rockhampton’s Correction Centre, supervising high risk sex offenders in the community.
After graduating in 2018 I commenced my career at Gladstone Community Corrections to learn the ropes before transferring to Rockhampton to oversee the low risk caseload of supervised individuals. These roles gave me the knowledge and skills to work in my current position which can be challenging but rewarding.
I knew during my studies I wanted to work somewhere that helps people and corrections allows me to keep the community safe while bettering the lives of someone vulnerable and stopping them from committing anymore crimes.
This role has given me the ability to fast track my learning experience because no two days are the same. I really love working in corrections and enjoy the challenges and complexities of this profession and the ability to make a difference.
Why did you decide to work in corrections?
While studying a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Justice (Criminology and Policing) I became interested and focused on criminal justice issues in the community like domestic violence and sexual offending. I also undertook volunteer work at RISE and work experience at Queensland Police Service and this inspired me to want to work with those less fortunate who are not given opportunities. This became my career focus and working in corrections has enabled this to become a reality.
What do you do in your role? What is a typical day?
I supervise high risk sex offenders in the community that is legislated under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (Qld).
Every day is a learning experience that enhances my ability to assist and supervise vulnerable high risk individuals during a difficult time in their life. In most cases, these individuals have not had the opportunity to be supported by a reliable and consistent person who can help them. Taking on that responsibility can be stressful and frustrating but knowing I have assisted someone to lead a new life away from further criminal activity makes it worthwhile.
I really love working in corrections. It can be a challenge, but a rewarding challenge.
I have been able to develop and undertake a mentor role for staff in relation to assisting with specific sex offender supervision risk analysis and I also conduct monthly training sessions that are unique to the rest of community corrections in Queensland.
Why did you choose to study at QUT?
I chose QUT as the course offered a practical focus and gave me the opportunity to study a double degree.
I was able to study law and criminology at the same time which set me up with some great skills to eventually work in the criminal justice sector.
What has it been like moving from Brisbane to regional Queensland?
Moving to Central Queensland from Brisbane was always going to be a challenge but one I was willing to take. After discussing this opportunity with several people experienced in community corrections I knew that taking this chance would provide me with the opportunities I need to reach my career goals. It has proven to be a great move. Reflecting on how far I have come since my move almost four years ago, I can say with confidence that this was an excellent decision for my career and long-term aspirations.
What are some of the challenges working in your role?
I welcome the challenges that this role offers and all the complexities that accompany it. Whether that is talking to an individual you supervise who is feeling suicidal or having honest and difficult conversations with aggressive and hostile individuals. All situations you are exposed to present their own unique challenges. I also need to have the confidence to address issues without consulting management because the location is quite remote.
What advice would you give someone thinking of working in corrections?
Corrections is a great profession for anyone that wants to help others, is interested in learning about different personalities and backgrounds, and has the drive to learn something new every day. It is not an easy profession and can have long days and weeks, but knowing you are helping to keep the community safe, and bettering the lives of those who have not had the chance to build a fulfilling life is really rewarding and why I do the job.
What are your future goals?
I have aspirations to move into specialised advisory units focused on assessing sex offenders and their risk to the community. I would also like the opportunity to be involved in the incredible work being undertaken by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. I would also be keen to work in correction units overseas and seek further graduate research opportunities.
You can find out more about the Bachelor of Justice/Bachelor of Law