Imagine you were a woman and you had to roam, unprotected, around a maximum security prison.

Lois Dillon, the 174th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, has visited many prisons as part of her work with the Prisoners Aid Association of NSW.

Lois was a vomiting wreck before her first few prison visits. But once she became familiar with the environment and discovered the inmates were surprisingly respectful, her visits began to feel routine.

Lois runs Mates on the Move (a social enterprise within Prisoners Aid), which employs ex-prisoners and provides sustainable waste management services for companies.

Mates on the Move collects waste products from offices. This garbage is then taken to a processing facility, where it eventually gets turned into alternative fuel.

Companies like the service, because it fits in with their sustainability programs. And staff benefit, because it’s hard for ex-prisoners to find work.

Lois believes criminals should pay for their crimes. But they should be given more help to find housing and work after their release, she says. The better they reintegrate into society, the less likely they are to reoffend.