Thank you for volunteering with Corrections
We appreciate what you do and value your time and effort!
About 3,000 of you give your time to help people in our care, both in prison and on a community sentence or order. Volunteers have a positive impact on the behaviour of people in our care and help reconnect them to their family and community. This helps us greatly to reach our goal of keeping our communities safe and changing the lives of people in our care.
In this page you can find important information to make volunteering at Corrections a pleasant and safe experience.
Please contact your Volunteer Coordinator if you have any questions or contact PSVolunteering@corrections.govt.nz
Before you start volunteering you would have signed a volunteer agreement. A copy will be retained by us and you will be provided with a copy.
Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct describes the principles and the standard of behaviour expected of all staff, contractors, consultants and volunteers. This will be provided to you and you are required to sign the Code of Conduct to acknowledge that you have received, read and understood it.
Confidentiality and media contact
You are required to keep all information confidential (including information about individual people in our care) and not to make statements to the media without the authorisation of Corrections.
You should refer media enquiries to the Corrections communications staff on (04) 460 3365 (office hours).
For volunteers – entering the prison
You need to ensure that you:
- pre-arrange your visit:
The Volunteer Coordinator (or the prison chaplain if you are a religious or spiritual volunteer) can help you with this. In the secure environment of a prison, it may take some time to move round the site.
Allow plenty of time. Our staff will be pleased to assist you, but they may have other urgent things to do.
- have the correct documentation:
You will be issued with an Authorised Provider Prison Entry (APPE) ID card. You must bring this to gain entry every time that you come to the prison.
- refer below for a list of prohibited items.
Please speak up if you have any issues or complaints. In the first instance you should talk to your Volunteer Coordinator or the prison chaplain.
If anyone has a complaint about your behaviour, a Corrections staff member will let you know and explain why. Further training might be an option or switching to other tasks.
If the matter cannot be resolved, Corrections may decide to deny you access into prison and/or end the volunteer agreement with you. In this case you will be advised in writing with the reasons for this (in accordance with relevant legislation).
Recognising and supporting volunteers
Volunteer recognition awards and morning teas are held periodically to thank volunteers for their great work. Such events are also a valuable opportunity for volunteers and our staff to get together to make new connections and cement long-standing ones.
We do not want volunteers to be out of pocket so please let your Volunteer Coordinator know about any materials or equipment costs you need to deliver your service or activity, as we may be able to assist with covering some of these costs. You may also be eligible to receive a contribution towards your transport costs if you are a regular volunteer, please talk to your Volunteer Coordinator.
If you do not already receive professional supervision you may wish to ask your Volunteer Coordinator about joining a network or group of other volunteers who meet up regularly to support each other.
You may find the following online training resources useful:
Conflict of interest
Because of a possible conflict of interest, you must tell your Volunteer Coordinator if you are thinking of:
- attending a Parole Board hearing with or for a person in our care
- writing to the Parole Board about someone in our care
- corresponding with someone in our care or person who has previously been in our care
- giving your personal contact details to a person in our care
- visiting a person in our care as a casual day visitor
- employing a person in our care on release to work programme
- giving a person in our care a job on release
- giving accommodation to a person in our care or previously in our care (whether in your own home or in someone else’s you know.)
You should declare if your circumstances change as there might be a conflict of interest in your new situation. This includes if you are required to appear in Court or get a new conviction.
Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
Know something about a crime but want to remain anonymous?
Call CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111. This number is free of charge to confidentially pass information to Corrections on any crime or prison-related matter, including the trafficking of drugs.
Top tips for staying safe
Nothing in and nothing out
Take nothing in and bring nothing out of the prison. Alcohol, drugs, weapons, anything that can be used as a weapon, cards, lighters, cigarettes, cell phones, cameras and portable digital devices are not allowed. Leave keys, purses, wallets and any other personal items in your car, at home or with gate staff.
Remember to get written permission from the prison management to take in any specific equipment or materials required for your volunteering. This can be arranged by the Volunteer Coordinator.
Listen to Corrections staff
Make sure to listen when a Corrections staff member asks you to do something, even if it might not be immediately obvious why. For example, don’t linger when you have been told it is time to leave, stay with your group if you are part of a volunteering team and make sure prison staff know where you are.
Think about what you wear
Make sure the clothes you are wearing are practical for the activities you will be completing on site and consider how people in our care may react to your outfit.
Be mindful of business transactions and gift giving
Business transactions and gift giving are activities that people in our care may ask you to take part in, though you may want to help them it is important that if this happens you politely decline their offer.
Protect personal information
Be careful not to reveal your home address or personal telephone number to a person in our care, or that of other volunteers and staff.
If you decide to keep on supporting people in our care following release from prison, talk to your Volunteer Coordinator and ensure you arrange your meetings at a neutral venue (ie a church hall or community centre, rather than in a private home).
Be careful about physical contact
When it comes to physical contact, know what the boundaries are. A handshake is often appreciated but make sure any other contact is related to the work you are carrying out.
Be aware of manipulation
Some people in our care have spent their lives deceiving others or being deceived, they may work to earn your sympathy or make you feel guilty to get what they want. They may tell you some very convincing stories, especially when trying to get something from you. Make sure to let a staff member know if you suspect this is happening.