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Serco empowering the women in their workplace and in their care

Published: 7 Mar 2019

Southern Queensland Correctional Centre (SQCC) will host an International Women’s Day high tea with Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan to address staff and prisoners.

SQCC Director Mark Walters said Serco has a strong history of supporting and empowering women at all levels of the organisation, and this function is intended to celebrate the women working at the facility and also reinforce with the female prisoners that they can strive to make their lives better.

“We have some incredibly inspiring women at SQCC and I am immensely proud of the valuable contribution they make each day,” Mark said.

Denise Alexander, who began her career in the Justice sector as a prison officer almost 20 years ago, has been a proud member of the Serco team since 2006. Currently on secondment as the Assistant Director Prisoner Management at SQCC, Denise was instrumental in the successful transition of the centre to a women’s facility.

“I have continued to grow, learn, thrive and promote within Serco. I have held a number of positions starting as a prison officer through to senior management and my mantra has continued to be to make a difference to the lives of people we care for and add value wherever possible,” Denise said. 

Mark is proud of the strong links the women working at SQCC have back to the community, which have grown through innovative programs and charitable initiatives that are making a positive impact.

Head of Operations Prisoner Management Juanita Zuna leads SQCC’s Pups in Prison program, run in partnership with Assistance Dogs Australia, whereby prisoners train Labradors and Golden Retrievers to support people with special needs. The program enables prisoners to give back to those in need, while supporting their own rehabilitation.

Canteen Officer Kassie Liston established the Lowood Truck Show with her husband as a means to give back to their local community. Held every year, this event now attracts more the 3,000 people and about 150 trucks, raising over $36,000 for local charities since 2014.

Now a women’s facility, Serco has extended their culture of support to the new female cohort at SQCC.

“The women in our care have access to a range of programs and vocational education training to support their individual reintegration pathways,” said Mark. 

“We have also established several new programs and facilities catering to needs of the women, in particular mothers with young babies, and it’s wonderful to see them filled with pride as they learn new skills and achieve new milestones in their rehabilitation.” 

At the high tea, Mayor Milligan will be presented with a selection of wooden picture frames, which have been hand crafted by a group of prisoners through SQCC’s industries program. Mayor Milligan was impressed by prior work created by the women and invited them to craft new pieces that could be used as awards at an upcoming International Women’s Day event for the local community.