Take a Look Inside QCS officer profile

Senior Psychologist Jennifer, from Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre manages the ‘at risk’ portfolio of women prisoners who are vulnerable to self harm, suicide or very unwell with mental health conditions.

She also supervises her team of psychologists, provisional psychologists, counsellors, cultural liaison officers and program delivery officers.

“My team is a conglomeration of talented individuals who share the same goal of ensuring the women in our care are safe from risk of harm to themselves and others by managing them on ‘at risk’ observations where necessary,” Jennifer said.

“Safety is paramount when interacting with prisoners. You don’t always know what they have been through, what they are thinking, or how stable their mental health is. Anything can happen, so being on your guard is important to ensure everyone is kept safe.

“We also need to be aware of potential trauma history and what could be interpreted as a trauma trigger for the ladies, and it could be as simple as closing a door.

“We also provide rehabilitation programs to help the women turn their lives around for the benefit of themselves, their children and the broader community.  We offer education, vocational training, parent courses and assist mother’s repatriate with their children that are involved with Child Safety Youth and Women.”

Jennifer  joined the public service almost five years ago when she was looking for an internship to complete her Psychological General Registration.

“I was looking for an organisation where I could actually provide intervention in a non-voluntary capacity to get my foot in the door.”

She found Queensland Corrective Services and has worked at multiple centres, including Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, Borallon Training and Correctional Centre, Wolston Correctional Centre and now Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre.

“My role is exciting and different every day and what I love most is making a difference,” Jennifer said.

“Every job comes with its challenges however, and at times our challenge with the women is motivating them to want to change.

“We can provide all the care and intervention to the women, but ultimately they need to want to change, so helping provide that motivation is key.

“At BWCC, our ethos is to change a woman is to change a generation. We aim to change the trajectory of their path and help them return to society with viable skills to become more self-sufficient and strong individuals so they can endeavour to lead crime-free lives.

At the end of a challenging and tough day, Jennifer often enjoys the tranquility of being on the water with her stand up paddle board or riding her push bike, which helps burn adrenaline and calm her mind.

She also volunteers in her spare time and said volunteering was a great way to meet people, share knowledge and build new skills while giving back to the community.

“I have been involved in a community group providing support to the lower socio-economic group by way of helping with fundraising and monster garage sales.  This was a great opportunity to meet locals, help facilitate the garage sales and provide links for consumers with the community organisation,” Jennifer said.

“I have also been fortunate to sit on a subsidiary board for the Domestic Violence Action Centre, writing and publishing educational material, including putting together a DVD, educating first responders how to identify victims of domestic and family violence, and provide referral pathways for the victims.”

For anyone considering a career in corrections, Jennifer recommends street smarts, some life experience, resilience and the desire for a challenge.

“This environment and cohort is not for the faint-hearted, but it is a life long career and you will never stop learning or being challenged. It’s here if you’re ready for the challenge,” Jennifer said.