BEHIND the locked gates, and barb-wired fences, almost 90 inmates are serving out their time in the Tamworth Correctional Centre.
There's no visits, or barely any physical contact with the outside world. On remand, bail refused for a variety of offences, they can't escape the fallout from COVID-19.
The inmates can't be moved to court, and all their family and friend visits have been cancelled since last year.
Instead, the 25 minimum security and 64 medium security offenders have been using tablets to video chat.
During a rare tour behind the prison walls, senior case management officer Sara Abberton told the Leader this didn't worry some of them.
"Some inmates like that better because there's no strain on their family to travel, and they can also see the inside of their homes," Ms Abberton said.
Local media took a walk through the jail on the eve of National Corrections Day, which recognises the efforts of corrections staff who work with offenders to keep the community safe.
As well as visitation, inmates have been unable to enjoy extended leave programs, or work releases.
On the bright side, though, acting manager of security, Bev Bennett, said the minimum security folk have still been able to help with community projects outside.
"They help with the pony club, the maintenance of the bike track, and they've still been going because they're not working with others," Ms Bennett said.
Any incoming inmates must quarantine for 14 days, and corrections officers now wear masks whenever they're in close quarters with inmates.
Between 1000-2000 inmates came through the gates to the prison in 2020.
The life of a corrections officer
Ms Bennett has been a corrections officer for more than 30 years, beginning at the Long Bay Correctional Centre back in 1995.
She's been based in Tamworth for four months, after moving from Cessnock Correctional Centre.
She said sometimes it was "a thankless job", but was "also one that somebody needs to do".
"People don't see the relationship we have with inmates and the staff, they don't know what goes on inside," she said. "It can be very rewarding."
Ms Bennett said the phrase 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' rings true sometimes with recidivists, or repeat offenders, but it was important to "create an environment where they want to rehabilitate".
"We actively encourage them to take responsibility of their own lives," she said.
"As people get older, they think 'do I want to do this forever?'"
She's run into a few ex-inmates in the community previously, but she's never had a problem.
"It's great to bump into outside people, it makes you feel like the job is worthwhile," Ms Bennett said.
This year's theme for National Corrections Day is 'Working together to reduce reoffending', which focuses on the ways staff assist offenders through programs and education to promote good workplace culture and positive interactions.