Wellington Correctional Centre officer Emma Smith one of ‘unsung heroes’ to receive honours

Big honour: Emma Smith was the recipient of an Australian Corrections Medal in the Queens Birthday Honours. Photo: Corrective Services NSW
Big honour: Emma Smith was the recipient of an Australian Corrections Medal in the Queens Birthday Honours. Photo: Corrective Services NSW

A corrective services officer who spent a decade at Wellington Correctional Centre before moving to the nearby Macquarie Correctional Centre to get it running has been recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours.

Senior Assistant Superintendent Emma Smith has received the Australian Corrections Medal for her 17 years of service to date with Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW), 11 of which have been at Wellington.

Ms Smith joined CSNSW as a trainee correctional officer in 2000, and has risen through the ranks to be part of the frontline management at Macquarie, one of the state’s newest correctional facilities.

Throughout her 17-year career with CSNSW, Ms Smith has proven herself to be a dedicated officer who has consistently demonstrated professional and exemplary behaviour in difficult and confrontational workplaces.

Ms Smith said she was both shocked and honoured by the award.

“I work as part of a team. Anything I achieve is because I work with such amazing people. It just makes my job so much easier,” she said.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott congratulated Ms Smith and four other CSNSW officers for their awards.

“These exceptional officers have gone above and beyond in rehabilitating offenders and keeping the community safe. They are our community’s unsung heroes,” he said.

Ms Smith was first appointed to the role of correctional officer at the maximum-security John Morony Correctional Centre, which houses over 400 male inmates.

In 2001, she transferred to the Downing Centre Court Complex in Central Sydney - a crowded and hostile environment with a high degree of confrontation, due to many offenders being affected by illicit substances and suffering mental health issues.

In 2004, Ms Smith was promoted to Senior Correctional Officer at Oberon Correctional Centre, before transferring to Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, in a team responsible for 650 inmates.

She was promoted to Chief Correctional Officer at Wellington Correctional Centre in 2007, working in the intelligence officer role and acting as a positive role model to junior staff.

In 2017, she was promoted to the frontline management, and with her leadership the centre began operational status in a short period of time, without serious incident.