Lee Lyons has her last visit to Mobilong Prison

Officers at Mobilong Prison have celebrated their collective contribution to the community on National Corrections Day - but also the contribution of one woman.

Lee Lyons is retiring as a visiting inspector, a unique role carried out beyond the limelight, but one which ensures our justice system remains just.

Visiting inspectors regularly visit correctional facilities such as Mobilong to speak with both staff and prisoners, noting any changes, handling prisoner complaints and reporting back to the state minister.

Ms Lyons started her career as the first female staff member at the McNally Training Centre for boys.

By comparison, what she would remember most about her time at Mobilong, she said, was the prisoners' good manners.

"The prisoners are more polite than young people out on the street," she said.

"Someone will say 'mind your language, Miss is coming' - that has happened dozens of times.

"(They have) the feeling they can approach you ... talk to you, have a joke."

Though there were light-hearted moments in prison, the message she most wanted to pass on to the community was that although inmates were given food and a bed, it was no holiday.

Most prisoners spent their days at work just like anyone else, she said: working, fixing TVs or making bricks, pallets or bins, all for six or seven dollars a day.

They also had to complete programs designed to get them out of violence and drugs.

"When you hear people say 'they sit around all day and do nothing', it's not true," she said.

Others recognised on the day included the team which oversaw Mobilong's transition to a smoke-free environment, something Department for Correctional Services chief executive David Brown said had caused "enormous anxiety" but had also made the prison healthier and safer.

He also acknowledged the experience, passion and commitment of the 30 staff members who had taken voluntary separation packages on December 20, and the half-dozen more who would leave within weeks.

Finally he offered his thanks to general manager Kit Wong, who will also leave the prison soon for another role within the department.

Her replacement will be former Adelaide Remand Centre general manager Darren Hosking.