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Changing lives: How a prison officer uses his faith to help inmates

Gurpreet Singh is a classification officer at the Silverwater Correctional Complex, NSW. Source: Supplied by Mr Singh

Gurpreet Singh is a classification officer whose job is to decide where inmates should be placed to give them the best chance of returning to normal life. This year, Mr Singh is one of the celebrated staff of Corrective Services NSW for his commitment of giving back to the community.

Gurpreet Singh has been working with Corrective Services, New South Wales for the past 27 years.

In 1994, he started from a base grade, and now he is a Deputy Superintendent deciding the classification and placements of inmates at Newington House in the Silverwater Correctional Complex.


Highlights

  • Gurpreet Singh has been working with Corrective Services NSW for 27 years.
  • This year's theme for National Corrections Day was 'Giving Back', highlighting how the staff goes above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Mr Singh says he believes in giving back through 'Sewa' - an act of selfless service.

Migrated from Delhi in 1992 for better stability in life, Mr Singh acquired the skills to deal with prisoners over time.

Speaking to SBS Punjabi, Mr Singh says his work involves classifying and placing inmates into the right program depending upon their behaviour and criminal charges.

gurpreet singh
As part of National Corrections Day, Mr Singh is one among 10,000 CSNSW employees celebrating their commitment to community through their work.
Supplied by Mr Singh

"We can make a difference by assessing and placing inmates in a suitable setting, as it's a long journey for them".

"My job is all about helping them so that they can have the best chance at turning their lives around, and that's how I give back," he says.

'Transforming a prisoner into a mentor'

While dealing with hardened criminals and complex cases, Mr Singh believes in the power of faith.

"There was an inmate with self-harm issues, but with the right direction and with putting him into the right program, he turned into a mentor.

"After he got his confidence back, he decided to write a book, and now he mentors other inmates to live a respectful life."

"Transitioning personalities like in this case gives me immense satisfaction," Mr Singh says.

'Giving Back'

As a Sikh, Mr Singh practices the principles of his faith and treading on that path, he practices 'Sewa'- which means 'giving back' through selfless service.

Mr Singh says that often it is his turban that brings him into the limelight.

"Now the inmates and my peers have a belief that turbaned people are good, honest and never lie, but I believe that it's the behaviour and right communication that really counts," he says.

The theme for the 2022 National Corrections Day is Giving Back, which recognises the efforts of CSNSW staff who go beyond the call of duty to protect and mentor the staff and the community.

Listen to the podcast in Punjabi by clicking on the audio icon inside the picture at the top.  

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