8 October 2009
Twelve new recruits destined for Wanganui, Tongariro/Rangipo and Waikeria Prisons and Otago Corrections Facility today graduated from their six week course at the Staff Training College and are ready to join the frontline of community safety, with one receiving the highest praise from Corrections Minister, Hon Judith Collins.
“Today's graduation marks the beginning of an important and rewarding new career for you all,” said National MP Hekia Parata, attending the ceremony on behalf of Ms Collins, to present the Ministers Excellence award to one graduate who performed above the required level during their training.
“You should all be very proud of your achievements. When you graduate today, you will not just be starting a new job, but you will be entering a career in which you can make New Zealand a better and safer place every day,” she said.
The winner of the Minister's Excellence award was Shontee Murray from Wanganui Prison.
The Minister of Corrections established the award to promote and honour excellence in graduates of the Department’s six week live in training course. All new staff members must complete the course before working in a custodial role in a prison.
“Shontee has been a role model to other course members in terms of her approach, attitude and the manner in which she has worked with others,” said Ms Parata.
The new recruits have spent the last six weeks living at the Staff Training College adjacent to Rimutaka Prison where they have learnt the basics in actively managing all types of prisoners, from dangerous and disturbed to rehabilitation-focussed quieter types. Graduates have covered modules in Corrections legislation, the Sentencing and Parole Acts, site and perimeter safety, managing prisoners’ visitors, drug reduction in prison, gang management and avoiding being compromised – or ‘getting got’ by prisoners, among others.
Now that their initial training is complete they will return home and complete an induction programme at the prison they will be employed at before being assigned to full operational duties. During the course of their career in Prison Services they will continue to undertake workplace training toward National Certificates in Offender Management, refresher training and specialist role training as required.
Corrections Chief Executive Barry Matthews was also at the ceremony to welcome graduates into their new employment.
“Managing offenders in prison is not only a vital service - keeping the public safe - but helping prisoners make more positive choices and reduce re-offending makes it a rewarding career.
“Corrections officers are responsible for ensuring prisoners are safely, securely and humanely contained during their sentence and they actively work with prisoners to make positive changes to their behaviour.
“This is also a position that offers a clear career path for motivated professionals. We have a number of prison managers around the country who have worked their way up from the floor.
“I am sure you will all be warmly welcomed by the staff at the prisons you will be working at. People that work with prisoners share the same challenges and rewards to the work across New Zealand, and as the nature of the work is unique, many make supportive, lifelong friends in the service.”
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