IT IS, to put it mildly, an unusual story: a jail governor who ended up giving a speech at a former inmate's wedding.
Former Bathurst Correctional Centre governor Mark Kennedy, in NSW's Central West, (who is now governor at Wellington Correctional Centre) explains about his unique friendship with Bathurst man Damian Cuff in the new six-part podcast series Behind the Walls.
Behind The Walls has been produced by Corrective Services NSW and the NSW Department of Justice to give a glimpse of life in the state's prisons.
"After he [Mr Cuff] got out of prison, he came to play on my football [Aussie rules] side and I coached him for a number of years," Mr Kennedy said.
"I went to Damian's wedding, did a speech at his wedding and I consider him a friend now. I've known him and his wife for the last five years. He's done really well for himself."
According to the podcast, Mr Cuff, 46, spent 19 years in and out of correctional centres for a range of crimes including armed robbery, kidnapping and drug use.
IN OTHER NEWS:
On February 21, the grandfather of four marked a decade free of prison.
"Normally blokes get out and they go back to the same area, the same people that they always hung with and got in trouble with," Mr Cuff said.
"I was given an opportunity before I got out here. I did works release and I still work for that company now - they offered me a position if I was willing to stay in Bathurst and what better opportunity than to start fresh.
Mr Kennedy still coaches the team in which Mr Cuff competes.
"He did quite a long time in jail and he's quite focused to stay out, which is good, but every now and then we sit down and have a chat," Mr Kennedy said.
"I believe I need to be a positive role model for him and a bit of a mentor. And I think he'd say the same.
"He's really focused on making sure that he provides for his family and does the right thing. And I think that's what we all want really."
The podcast features first-hand accounts from 30 correctional officers - including some from Bathurst, Lithgow and Kirkconnell - about what really happens behind bars, from riots to contraband detection and stories of rehabilitation.
Episode four, Behind the Walls: Rehabilitation, will be released on April 1 to listen for free on all good podcast apps. New episodes are released every Thursday.