The disintegration of a marriage and a plummeting in financial and social status when in her late forties, leaves the author stranded with a limited income, custody of the two youngest children, a mortgage, no provision for her old age and an employment history fractured by part-time positions structured around family responsibilities.
A recruitment advertisement for prison officers in the wake of the Nagle Royal Commission becomes the catalyst for a major career change with the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services, and catapults her into a world beyond her imagination.
However, this choice launches her into a fulfilling, stimulating career, delivering not only financial security and a professional status, but also the privilege of working with dedicated colleagues and offenders and their families.
Avoiding a catalogue of sensational revelations about staff and offenders, she narrates the experiences through the prism of a naive, middle-class housewife and mother with humour and compassion and tries to convey insights into, and a broader understanding of the many facets of the world of corrections and its links with society.
Interwoven with these experiences are the challenges of adapting to the life of a single person and mother while completing a BA at Macquarie University.
Retiring in her mid-sixties after a seventeen year career, she has no misgivings about her decision to work in this much-maligned industry.