DHURRINGILE prison has appointed a new general manager to oversee operations.
Colin Thompson brings extensive experience in prison management to the role, having served as general manager at Barwon Prison, Marngoneet Correctional Centre, Melbourne Assessment Prison, Hopkins Correctional Centre and Langi Kal Kal Prison throughout his 35-year career in corrections.
Mr Thompson said he was excited to get to know the local community and explore new ways the prison can lend a hand.
Dhurringile’s community work groups are currently involved in activities including the upkeep of recreation reserves, maintenance and gardening at local schools, and assisting emergency services during natural disasters.
“Community work is really important to me because it allows prisoners to use their time in a way that’s constructive and gives something back,” Mr Thompson said.
“I’m looking forward to finding new ways we can make a difference while also building on our current partnerships and contributing to community safety and confidence.”
Mr Thompson said working in a minimum security environment provided unique opportunities to focus on rehabilitation and preparing prisoners to lead crime-free lives once released.
With many Dhurringile prisoners nearing the end of their sentences, he said preparing men to transition back into the community was a critical task and would be a key focus of his role.
Dhurringile prisoners are involved in a range of programs aimed at reducing reoffending and developing life skills, as well as working in the prison’s woodwork and metal shops, horticulture teams and on its 280-head dairy farm.
“We need to give them the best shot at being successful on the outside, so the goal is to have 100 per cent of prisoners engaged in constructive activity every day,” Mr Thompson said.
“The prison has also formed great relationships with local community correctional services teams, and they often sit in on case management reviews to ensure important links around things like housing and reporting requirements have been established before someone is released.”
Mr Thompson said he hopes to hear from local community groups and organisations interested in knowing more about the prison and how it can provide assistance.
“Dhurringile prison is a big employer for the Hume region with around 150 staff, but it’s also important the broader community has confidence in us and understands what we are trying to achieve,” he said.