Elaine Schulz, Custodial Correctional Officer, Capricornia Correctional Centre
Queenslander Elaine spent 25 years in customer service before she realised, she needed a career change. She took advice to join Queensland Corrective Services and 12 years later has never looked back.
“A friend who worked at the Townsville Correctional Complex suggested becoming a Custodial Correctional Officer (CCO) might be the change I was looking for, so I tried it and have been here ever since,” Elaine said.
“My role in the Mainstream Induction Unit at Capricornia Correctional Centre is to introduce new prisoners to the expectations of the unit and centre, specifically appropriate behaviour and rules.
“I also regularly supervise prisoners and encourage them to participate in the various programs we offer to support their rehabilitation, for example, the drug and alcohol and domestic violence programs.
“As a CCO, I address their offending behaviour and provide prisoners with coping mechanisms and tools to help them reintegrate back into society when released from our care.”
Elaine says it is important for CCOs to model positive behaviour and interact positively and respectfully with prisoners.
“Using manners when dealing with them and showing respect usually results in the prisoner reciprocating the same behaviour towards you. Treating prisoners how you would like to be treated is a good philosophy to practice in this role,’’ says Elaine.
“If someone asked me what attributes you needed to become a CCO, I would say good life skills, verbal and written communications skills, empathy, sensitivity, cultural awareness, enjoy working with people, a positive attitude, compromise and flexibility.
“I would also tell them that working for the Queensland public sector has many rewards and benefits, including excellent work/life balance, working environment and flexibility.”
Elaine makes a difference in the lives of prisoners and their families by working honestly and ethically, which in turn promotes rehabilitation and helps keep communities safe by reducing reoffending. Elaine also hopes the prisoners she has helped to rehabilitate have learned from their mistakes and do not return to custody.
Outside of work, Elaine likes to spend quality time with her family and friends, catch up on chores around the house and travel the world.