The Southland and Otago Corrections Long Service awards have recognised the contribution of 64 staff to the work of the department and service to the community.

Ranging from seven to more than 28 years service with Corrections, the recipients received a letter of appreciation from the chief executive, as well as a medal, clasp or pin, depending on the award category.

Intelligence Officer Neil Jones-Sexton from Otago joined Corrections in 1989 as a Corrections Officer, rising to a senior position before taking up the role with the Intelligence Unit in 2007.

Neil Jones-Sexton has chalked up 29 years with Corrections.

Neil says he enjoys the work and challenges of working Corrections and this is what has kept him in the organisation, working with offenders, for such a long period.

As an Intelligence Officer, Neil works in the prison and community while liaising with associated agencies. His role supports Corrections’ operational and tactical planning to detect or deter criminal activity and assists the Department with its goal to keep offenders, staff and the community safer.

Prior to his work in Corrections, Neil worked in the Security Industry and as a Licenced Private Investigator. It was this interest and experience, coupled with his work as a Corrections Officer, which opened up the opportunity to work in Corrections Intelligence. “Prisons can be difficult environments to work in,” he says, “but I love working with people from such a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds.”

Neil says the reduced respect for staff and authority, the numbers of prisoners joining gangs and the effects of increased community drug use, especially Methamphetamine has significantly changed the prison environment over the years.

“These elements can make prison a very challenging space for staff and other offenders,” he says.

“I feel very proud and honoured to be receiving this award which recognises my 29 years of service. “Corrections have treated me well over the years and I am looking forward to the next few years with the department.”

Corrections employs over 8,000 staff who work to improve public safety and offender’s future opportunities for maintaining a crime free life by managing the sentences and orders of more than 10,000 people in prisons and around 30,000 people on community offenders at any time.