Chief Executive Ray Smith with Corrections Officer Hamish Rees.Four Manawatu Prison staff have been recognised for their efforts in saving prisoners’ lives in two separate events at the prison.

Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith presented Corrections Officer Hamish Rees, Acting Senior Corrections Officer Melissa Murray, and nurses Wilson George and Diane McIrvine with the Chief Executive’s Special Commendation Award in front of their family and colleagues.

The award is for Corrections staff who show exceptional courage, initiative and skill.  It recognises people who have gone over and above their role and shown, through their empathy and actions, that they are exceptional.

Mark Cookson, Manawatu Prison’s Acting Prison Director, said he was incredibly proud of his team:

“They showed incredible courage, perseverance and professionalism in two highly charged situations. They are leading examples of Corrections staff working in what can, at times, be a challenging environment. They strive for the best and to make a difference in the lives of people we manage.” 

Corrections Officer Hamish Rees received his award for saving a prisoner’s life at the prison’s medical centre. During the assessment by a nurse, the prisoner had a seizure. Hamish didn’t hesitate to use the first aid skills he had learned during his corrections officer training. He applied CPR to the prisoner then placed him in the recovery position. Hamish stayed with the prisoner until the ambulance arrived.  The prisoner has since made a good recovery.

Acting Senior Corrections Officer Melissa Murray, prison nurse Ray Smith with Acting Senior Corrections Officer Melissa Murray, agency nurse Diane McIrvine and prison nurse Wilson George.Wilson George and agency nurse Diane McIrvine received their award for saving the life of a prisoner who had a heart attack in the main gym. For more than half an hour Melissa, Wilson and Diane took turns performing CPR on the prisoner until the ambulance arrived.  A number of other prisoners were nearby and thought their friend had died.

Ambulance staff took over and the prisoner was taken to hospital, where he made a good recovery.