Prisoners up for an award
Prisoners are not often nominated for citizenship awards, but that is what one work camp team from Roebourne can now claim for the second year in a row.
A group of about 15 prisoners from Roebourne Regional Prison have been formally nominated for the City of Karratha Community Service Award, part of the Australia Day Awards, for their work camp project enhancing the ghost town of Cossack last year.
The Cossack Enhancement Project required the group to renovate the town cemetery, shelters, and bollards, and replace the heritage trail and signage in the area between March and June.
They also removed grit and weeds from the cemetery site, planted roses and repainted old equipment.
Work camp senior prison officer Steve Farrell said the group had gone “above and beyond” in their project, doing tasks like moving 24 tonnes of rocks in wheelbarrows and clearing weeds of more than 1m in the Chinese cemetery.
“The interesting thing about it was that once the blokes got involved in it, they started to take ownership of it,” he said. “They actually started caring. “Considering it’s a volunteer program, they don’t have to come to the work camp, but once the guys start coming out, they realise how important the work is and what they are trying to achieve. “Then you see them flourish.” Mr Farrell said this particular project was designed to get the prisoners using mathematics they had learnt in afternoon classes.
This is the second consecutive year the work camp has been nominated for the City of Karratha Community Service Award.
Last year, it was nominated for work improving the Yaburara Heritage Trail.
Pilbara district police Superintendent Jo McCabe said this work camp project had been particularly demanding.
“It was quite a complex job,” she said.
“It wouldn’t have been easy to build or produce what they did, in terms of the history of the area.”
Supt McCabe said work camps helped with prisoners’ rehabilitation and the Pilbara district police hoped to run more. “Often these offenders haven’t always had a sense of pride in themselves and the community, and don’t really understand what they’re taking from the community when they offend,” she said.
“Afterwards people tend to look at their community differently and give back to it.”
A work camp project team from Roebourne Regional Prison has been nominated for a City of Karratha community service award.