"Everyone deserves a second chance and I want to see people succeed."

I initially offended in 2010. It was a white-collar crime. I was put on a Corrections Order for nine months and successfully completed that, but throughout that time I was still offending. I spent most of my career in the travel industry and it was in that environment or capacity that I defrauded individuals and companies. Essentially, I was invoicing victims and facilitating the electronic transfer of funds into my own account for personal benefit.

In 2013 I was interviewed again for similar offences, and in 2015 I was put into custody for four years.

When I was offending, I was detached. I’d experienced trauma in my early twenties, and I think from that I had very low self-esteem and I wanted to appear that I was doing better than I was, keeping up appearances and for others to think that I was doing well financially.

I didn’t have any previous convictions or trouble before, but I knew I was going to end up in prison. I researched what I could bring in, what I could do with my time, what the accommodation was like. I decided – I’m going to make the best of this.

I got a really good job as a canteen billet that required a lot of trust and responsibility, and database entry for the kitchen. I also studied my Bachelor of Arts and searched for programs that I thought could help me through my journey, such as positive lifestyle, frame-of-mind and counselling.

I wanted to come out of prison a different person. I hurt so many people along the way. Not just my victims but also my family. And it weighed on me heavily.  I wanted to be a role model and to be proud of what I was able to achieve. I still have my moments, but I trust myself now. I know there are consequences, and I don’t want to go back to prison and have that experience again. I just want to live a life where I’m not looking over my shoulder every moment. But I’m still working through it, I’m still riding the wave.

I’m now part of a think tank with RMIT University, which is connected to their “Inside Out Prison Exchange Program.” It was one of their students who suggested I join ACSO’s LEAP program. I’m also finishing my degree [in linguistics and Spanish] and working part-time.

My motivation is to see change. In prison you see so many women with so much potential and they’ve got so many obstacles in front of them, and I just want to remove those obstacles. Everyone deserves a second chance and I want to see people succeed.