Corrections Officer Āpiha Whare Herehere

Corrections officers are responsible for keeping prisoners safe and secure and motivating them to make changes in their lives.

Corrections officers may do some or all of the following:

  • supervise prisoners' daily routine, which includes meal, work and recreation times
  • monitor, assess and manage the behaviour and safety of prisoners
  • patrol prison buildings and grounds
  • ensure the physical and mental safety of prisoners
  • set up and monitor prisoners' sentence plans
  • monitor prison visits and record visitors' details
  • motivate prisoners to make changes to their behaviour
  • help control and lessen conflict in the prison
  • take part in rehabilitation programmes
  • prepare reports relating to prisoners and any incidents that occur
  • escort prisoners to court hearings, funerals or appointments with dentists or doctors.

Physical Requirements

Corrections officers need to be fit, healthy and strong as they spend a lot of time on their feet and the job can be physically demanding. They also have need to have good hearing.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for corrections officers includes:

  • work as a probation officer
  • community work
  • social work
  • coaching experience.

Personal Qualities

Corrections officers need to be:

  • good at communicating with a range of people, including prisoners and their families and friends
  • dependable and honest
  • mature, non-judgemental and fair in their dealings with prisoners
  • observant, alert and accurate
  • able to follow orders 
  • able to work well under pressure 
  • able to remain positive in difficult situations
  • assertive and able to use their initiative
  • interested in helping others.

Skills

Corrections officers need to have knowledge of:

  • prison policy, procedures, rules and routines
  • control and restraint techniques
  • first aid and safety procedures.

Conditions

Corrections officers:

  • work shifts, including public holidays, weekends and nights
  • work in prisons and courts. They also supervise prisoners in work groups on prison grounds or off-site
  • work in conditions that can be demanding and stressful as they may be at risk of verbal and physical abuse.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a corrections officer. However, languages, social studies and te reo Māori are useful.

Corrections Officers can earn around $51K-$54K per year.

Pay for corrections officers varies depending on their experience and level of responsibility.

  • Corrections officers in training can expect to earn about $51,000 a year.
  • Trained corrections officers usually earn between $51,000 and $54,000.
  • Senior and principal corrections officers can earn between $54,000 and $63,000.

Source: Department of Corrections, 2018. 

Corrections officers may progress to work as senior corrections officers, principal corrections officers and unit managers.

Corrections officers may also move into jobs in management or policy at Department of Corrections or Ministry of Justice.

Years Of Training

1 year of training required.

To become a corrections officer you need to have:

  • a current, full driver's licence
  • a clean criminal conviction record
  • the right to work in New Zealand for at least two years.

You must also pass:

  • medical, psychological and physical fitness tests
  • drug tests.

The Department of Corrections provides training for new corrections officers, which includes workplace and classroom learning. Initial training takes two weeks. Full corrections officer training takes 12 months.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Corrections Officer