Junee Correctional Centre inmates set new community benchmark

Jim O'Regan, Barb Wealands, Bill Richardson and Des Littlewood from Lawson House with Trevor Coles and Peter Holt from the Correctional Centre. Picture: Madeleine Clarke
Jim O'Regan, Barb Wealands, Bill Richardson and Des Littlewood from Lawson House with Trevor Coles and Peter Holt from the Correctional Centre. Picture: Madeleine Clarke

Inmates from the Junee Correctional Centre have returned to the roots of their first ever community project. 

Maintaining the grounds at Lawson House was the jail’s first undertaking back when it was built in 1993. 

Now four hand-worked, pine benches, crafted by a number of inmates working in the timber section, loom large in the tenants’ backyard. 

Secretary of Lawson House Barb Wealands said without the Correctional Centre’s continued support they would struggle. 

“We wouldn’t be able to afford the upkeep,” Ms Wealands said. 

Lawson House is a real local institution, offering affordable housing for the elderly in Junee. Ms Wealands’ grandmother Gertrude spearheaded the project back in 1964. 

Chairman Des Littlewood said he was “delighted” with the benches. 

“It will be a really well-used space in the summer, we can have more parties here!” he said. 

Trevor Coles, offender services manager from the Correctional Centre said it’s important the jail remains part of the community. 

“The inmates see it as giving back, which is not always an easy thing to do when you’re incarcerated,” he said. 

“We see the centre as part of the community and this is our way of contributing back to it.” 

Industries manager at the jail Peter Holt said it gives them a sense of job satisfaction and helps them gain skills they can utilise upon their release.