Pris­on­ers up for an award

Pilbara News - - News - ■ Ali­cia Perera

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.”

Pic­ture: Chris Lees

A work camp pro­ject team from Roe­bourne Re­gional Prison has been nom­i­nated for a City of Kar­ratha com­mu­nity ser­vice award.

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