When cricket allrounder Ben Patterson is not smashing the ball over the fence or clean bowling a batsman he’s helping people in jail get ready to live in the community when they are released.
The 23 year old Campbelltown Camden Ghosts rising star followed in his mother Jodie’s footsteps by joining Corrective Services NSW last year.
At first he was posted to Bathurst Correctional Centre as a case management officer but now he’s a services and programs officer at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre.
Patterson grew up in Dubbo, and that’s where both his cricket ability and a career with Corrective Services took shape.
“It was kind of one step at a time – there were vacancies for residential support workers at a rehabilitation centre for young offenders around Dubbo, which I had a bit of experience with,’’ he says.
He then moved on to the delivery of community programs for criminals before being offered the Corrective Services job.
“It’s good to be out there face to face and learn what makes someone tick, learn how to work with them,’’ he says of his career so far.
Patterson’s father and mother both played cricket so it was natural for young Ben to take it up.
He also played a bit of AFL but chose cricket “because I really liked it’’.
And obviously there was some talent there as well.
“There was a shift in gears when I turned 16 and started dominating around Dubbo, and thought I could take it a bit further, so here I am now seeing how far I can take it,’’ he tells me during a break in play at Raby Sports Complex.
Last season, having joined the Ghosts, Patterson played in their Twenty20 side, but this year he’s a full member of the first grade squad.
It means he’s got a shot at the big time.
“In layman’s terms, I think I’m a good first grader, but I would like to be top of the echelon and move on to bigger things like the Big Bash – I think that’s my goal,’’ he says.
Back at his Corrective Services job, Patterson is lucky enough to be able to talk to his mum about both the challenges and the joys of the job.
And he’s obviously proud of his mum, who’s been at Corrective Services for seven years.
“Mum’s great like that; she’s straight up my reporting line and she has created a couple of programs we give inmates,’’ he says.
Jodie and Ben are among 10,000 Corrective Services NSW staff who will be celebrated on National Corrections Day this Friday, January 17, for their dedication in rehabilitating offenders and keeping the community safe.
Aptly, for Ben and Jodie, the 2020 National Corrections Day theme is We Are Family.
And both are also proud of their Aboriginal culture.
“Definitely, I’m a proud Wiradjuri man,’’ he says of his mob based around the Dubbo area.
“It’s important in your life: it’s opened up my eyes to diversity and how the cultural side to things is so amazing,’’ he said.
“And it’s good with the inmates too; it resonates with them.’’
When it comes to cricket though, one thing’s for sure, the Ghosts are lucky to have Ben Patterson in their ranks.
Watching him bat it’s obvious he’s a thinking cricketer, perhaps captain material down the track.
“Par would have been 210-220,’’ he says after the Ghosts were dismissed for just 168 and he played a little gem of an innings.
So there’s just one more question to ask before I let him get back to the team in the dressing room: being an allrounder, do you prefer bowling or batting?
Quick as a flash, young Ben Patterson has an answer: “Nothing better than seeing a stump fly out of the ground.’’