A staff member from New Plymouth Prison received a Special Commendation Award today to acknowledge the role she played in saving a prisoner’s life.
Corrections Chief Executive Barry Matthews says Senior Corrections Officer Barbara MacDonald displayed initiative, skill and professionalism during the incident in July last year.
“I must congratulate Barbara for displaying such acts of distinction. She demonstrated behaviour that went above and beyond the call of duty.
“In July 2009 a prisoner attempted suicide and put his weight against his cell door to stop anyone entering. Barbara’s calm approach to the incident led to the prisoner allowing her to attend to him and apply first aid. Because of the urgency of the situation, Barbara also put the prisoner’s life ahead of her own safety and immediately offered assistance.
“After applying first aid Barbara kept the prisoner calm and conscious by talking to him and reassuring him an ambulance was on the way. It was only once the ambulance arrived that Barbara left his side for a short time before accompanying him in the ambulance to the Hospital.
“I have no doubt that because of the officer’s professional conduct and timely actions the prisoner’s life was saved.
“Our staff are fully trained to deal with incidents like this. Barbara’s actions were, however above and beyond the call of duty. She is truly a credit to the Department. Other staff also present during the incident and ambulance personnel were impressed by Barbara’s course of action and indicated that the outcome could have been fatal without Barbara’s quick intervention.
“Staff who demonstrate these kinds of qualities deserve to be recognised and these awards are one way we can show our appreciation for their extraordinary work in what can be a very demanding role.”
It is the Department’s mission to improve public safety and to reduce re-offending.
The Chief Executive’s Special Commendation Awards were developed last year to recognise the times when Corrections staff display exceptional and exemplary behaviour.
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