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Running a Prison Like a Small Town

When most people think of a prison, they think of correctional officers, metal bars and inmates in cells.

But behind the scenes at Parklea Correctional Centre lies a well-oiled machine, which ensures staff and inmates have everything they need to make sure each day runs smoothly.

NSW Correctional centres and community corrections offices will celebrate their hardworking and dedicated non-custodial staff on Administrative Professionals Day on Friday, 6 May. This includes Supply Chain Manager Leanne Hazell and her dedicated logistics team who run the Parklea warehouse.

Leanne started working at the prison as a Procurement Officer in 2019 and is glad she made the move.

“I’ve always liked working with vulnerable people and I like new challenges,” Leanne said.

I previously worked for a not-for-profit setting up their national client care team and I thought Parklea would be a good fit for me.

“I go to work each day because I want to make a difference and I want to help where I can.

“I also believe in what our Governor Paul Baker is trying to achieve here, as his values align with mine.”

Leanne’s team of 10 is responsible for sourcing, ordering, security checking, storing, and delivering a vast array of goods, including TVs, mattresses, pillows and prison greens, cleaning products, pens and buy-ups.

Buy-ups are products inmates can order each week, such as groceries, toiletries and stationery. The team process around 3,000 individual orders each month. Their delivery is hotly anticipated, and Leanne and her team knows how important it is they are delivered on time.

“Logistics is very much unseen, but without my team inmates wouldn’t get fed, they wouldn’t get their buy-ups, clothing and hygiene items wouldn’t get ordered and delivered and rubbish wouldn’t get collected,” Leanne said.

“Staff wouldn’t have their case files, stationary items or coffee either.

“I explain to my staff we do everything needed to run a small town. They know their role is vital to the organisation and they’re proud to do it.

“I’m lucky to have a dedicated and professional team who support staff and inmates to make their day easier.”

Leanne said the prison had experienced the same supply issues as the rest of the world over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You have to be aware of supply chain issues to ensure there’s no interruptions and so everyone has what they need and are entitled to, otherwise in can cause unrest in the prison.”

As well as keeping the prison running, Leanne also trains inmates in warehouse logistics.

“I enjoy teaching the inmates and logistics is a growth industry,” Leanne said.

“They do the pick and packing, data entry, stocktaking, check the buy-ups match the orders and load containers on the trailers.

“They do everything we do as we’re one team.”

Parklea has been operated by MTC Australia on behalf of Corrective Services NSW since 1 April 2019.