Only a few years ago, Toni Wozniak was working as a financial planning manager at one of the major banks.
But after life took a twist and she was made redundant, she applied for a job in corrections.
Now, she spends her days working with inmates; helping them get used to being in full-time custody and away from family and cultural connections, and preparing them to go back into the community and make the most of their lives.
Ms Wozniak is one of about 100 staff who keep St Heliers Correctional Centre running.
ACM, publisher of this masthead, was invited inside the minimum security prison on a sprawling property at Muswellbrook on Monday, January 9, ahead of National Corrections Day next week.
Minimum security doesn't mean only minor offenders are doing time inside St Heliers.
While some are there for less serious crimes, others are spending the tail end of long sentences at the Upper Hunter jail having worked their way through the system.
It is here that they are being prepared to be re-integrated into the community through education programs, work training that provides skills to make them more employable, and personal development.
Ms Wozniak, an Aboriginal Services and Programs Officer, runs a range of programs - from teaching strategies to help inmates sleep better to recording them reading stories to send to their children on the outside.
She also runs guided meditations sessions, which ACM saw in action this week, in which inmates are blindfolded and talked through a calming scenario - in this case they were on a cruise ship with sea spray hitting their faces (Ms Wozniak sprayed water mist into the air as she described the scene).
"My role is very diverse, and I absolutely love what I do - giving back to my mob and helping them transform their lives is just awesome," said Ms Wozniak, a proud Anaiwan woman.
"It is very rewarding being part of an inmate's journey, especially preparing them to reintegrate into the community, because I get to actively participate in reducing their risk of re-offending - and the risk to the community."
There are about 200 inmates at the jail, which is also a working farm.
They are given opportunities to build skills that will help them get work in agriculture or the horse industry, as well as those that apply to a range of trades.
With luck, Ms Wozniak and her colleagues don't hear how inmates have got on when they get out - no news is good news.
Elsewhere on the property, inmates were putting together pre-fabricated demountable classrooms for schools and building kit homes for in-need communities.
On Monday, a group was busy building a home bound for Kempsey.
The prison's Governor Louise Smith said education and pathways to employment were key factors in giving inmates an opportunity for a fresh start - "the best chance not to go back into custody".
"It's a rewarding career," she said.
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