By Sally McGlew
A GROUP of prisoners and staff at Wooroloo Prison Farm have joined forces to build a mini golf course in a confidence-boosting construction project.
Working with recreational officers as part of their rehabilitation, the prisoners came up with a design for the nine-hole course and spent about eight months constructing and landscaping the course at the minimum-security prison.
Named Parole-In-One, the course is the result of high-quality workmanship and dedication by the five prisoners involved and the officers overseeing the project.
Working in all weather, the prisoners made use of their skills to scope out the course, digging, trenching, paving, laying bricks, cementing and putting down artificial turf.
“They were here early in the morning every day, waiting for us to arrive so they could get stuck into it,” Senior Activities Officer Agostino Vallelonga said.
“Having them take ownership of the project has made it better for everybody,” he said.
One of the prisoners involved said it had been a rewarding experience for them.
“It’s quite satisfying being a part of the whole process, like being able to design it and build it,” he said.
“It was good to collaborate with the other guys and build something that hopefully will be here for quite a number of years.
“It’s been really good for the guys’ self-esteem.”
Wooroloo superintendent Leonie Sinclair said the prisoners had worked hard on the project.
“It just goes to show that when people participate and get engaged in things, they can actually be creative and show a skillset that they do have,” she said.
“That’s meaningful and gives a sense of pride in what they built.
“It demonstrates to other prisoners that you can learn from others, you can contribute.”
Wooroloo Prison Farm accommodates prisoners with a minimum security rating who are nearing their release dates.
It prepares prisoners for re-integration through employment and training in prison industries, supervised work in the community and educational programs.
Ms Sinclair said recreation also played an important role in helping rehabilitate prisoners.
“It gives people an opportunity to be engaged, to interact with other people and actively exert energy,” she said.
“We try to normalise things as much as we can by offering activities that you can do in the community.”