Corrections officer

We have profiled five of our frontline roles on our frontline jobs website. You can view them here:, or continue reading this page for more information on being a corrections officer.

Corrections officers are responsible for the safe, secure and humane containment of prisoners and for actively motivating them to make positive changes in their lives.

Corrections officers often spend more time with prisoners than anyone else, so they play a key role in encouraging prisoners to attend and complete their rehabilitation and education programmes, trade training and other programmes inside the wire. In this way Corrections officers contribute to reducing re-offending.

Corrections officers work in shifts in a variety of areas within the prison and carry out the daily routines relevant to the unit they’re in, for example locking and unlocking prisoners, escorting them to training, work and rehabilitation programmes, and health centre visits.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for people who:

  • work well in a team
  • are able to identify and respond to potentially challenging situations
  • have good communication skills
  • are positive role models
  • can relate to people from all walks of life
  • have a good standard of literacy and can comfortably use computers and technology.

Our corrections officers come from a wide variety of backgrounds; from trades and farming to office jobs, retail, teaching and social agencies – so your experience could be just what we are looking for!

Meet Rebecca

Previously: Nanny
Now: Corrections officer

Working as a nanny, Rebecca learnt how to multi-task and communicate clearly and under pressure. She brought these skills with her when she started her role as a corrections officer.

“I wanted a steady job where I could use my skills and life experience, and that’s exactly what I got when I became a corrections officer.”

Rebecca feels the keys to her success have been the training she received when she joined the department and the support she gets from her colleagues.

“It was a bit scary at first, but once I got to know the prisoners and talked to them, I felt more at ease. I’ve never felt unsafe at work.”

Meet Moses

Previously: Labourer/rugby coach
Now: Corrections officer

Before joining Corrections, Moses was working as a builder’s labourer, but wanted a good career with financial stability.

“Before I became a corrections officer I thought it was all about ‘the keys’ and ticking people off, making sure they were all asleep.”

Once Moses realised part of the job was to engage with the prisoners and motivate people to do their programmes, it became much more than just a job.

“Some people just want someone to talk to about their life. Five minutes of your time is all it takes sometimes to makes a difference, the person is really grateful someone listened to them and they remember it.”

Learn more about Rebecca and Moses and what it’s like working on the frontline of a prison:

Read the transcript of this clipshort transcript

Salary range Hours Driver licence required? UniformTraining

While training (until graduation) $51,490

$54,001 - $63,420

24/7 shift roster including public holidays and weekends.
8 hours/day 80 hours/fortnight
Yes - you need a full clean drivers licence Yes - supplied by Corrections

Frontline Start (three weeks)

Role specific training (12 months)

See below


Corrections Officer Development Pathway

The Corrections Officer Development Pathway (CODP) begins with Frontline Start (see below) and provides a full training curriculum for new corrections officers and instructors over a 12 month period.

The CODP consists of an initial training programme that blends classroom based learning, on-the-job activities and a simulated prison environment where the participants can practice the skills and apply the knowledge they learn on the programme.

There are six phases of the CODP programme:

  • Phase 1: Three week Frontline Start programme.
  • Phase 2: New corrections officers and instructors (along with case managers) spend a week at the National Learning Centre at Rimutaka Prison in Wellington focussing on learning custodial practice in a simulated prison environment. This follows on directly from Frontline Start.
  • Phase 3: Assisted by a learning buddy and experienced staff from their unit, new corrections officers start to carry out corrections officer duties on their prison site. The programme covers custodial practices like locking and unlocking, security checks, safety practices and responding to incidents as First Responding Officers. Communication between staff members and with prisoners is key ingredient of the training programme as is tactical decision making. This marks the end of the initial training period.
  • Phase four: Graduation. New corrections officers undertake a series of scenario based assessments that not only assess their abilities to perform the required practice areas effectively but also the level of confidence they have in doing their job well. At the end of the assessments there is a graduation ceremony.
  • Phases five and six: Over the remainder of the year long development programme new corrections officers gain work experience that will enable them to complete the National Certificate level 3 for Offender Management.

Frontline Start

Frontline Start is a three week programme designed to give new staff an understanding of what Corrections does and how they play their part in reducing re-offending in their new role. You will join with other new staff from around the country beginning their careers with Corrections in a range of frontline roles. The first and third weeks of the programme are spent in Wellington at Corrections’ National Office. Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for weeks one and three and for any other training that requires staff to be away from home.

Information for overseas applicants

Overseas applicants must have either New Zealand citizenship OR residency OR a work visa that entitles them to work in New Zealand for a minimum of 24 months (from start of employment with the Department).  At this time we cannot accept applications from candidates who require a job offer in order to gain a work visa for New Zealand. Please refer to Immigration New Zealand website for more information on obtaining New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency.

Candidates will also need to be available to travel to New Zealand to complete parts of the assessment process, including an Assessment Centre and physical testing. All costs associated with travelling to New Zealand to undertake recruitment selection processes will be at the candidate’s expense.

If you would like to talk to us contact one of our recruitment advisers.

Apply now