Āpiha Whare Herehere
Corrections officers are responsible for keeping prisoners safe and secure and motivating them to make changes in their lives.
New corrections officers usually earn
$51K-$54K per year
Experienced corrections officers usually earn
$54K-$63K per year
Source: Department of Corrections, 2018.
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.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
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.
Skills and knowledge
Corrections officers need to have knowledge of:
- prison policy, procedures, rules and routines
- control and restraint techniques
- first aid and safety procedures.
- work shifts, including public holidays, weekends and nights. They work eight hours a day and 80 hours a fortnight. They may also be on call
- 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.
To become a corrections officer you need to have:
- a current, full driver's licence
- a clean criminal conviction record
- a First Aid Certificate
- the right to work in New Zealand for at least two years.
You must also pass:
- medical, psychological and physical fitness tests
- communication and problem-solving tests
- drug tests
- credit checks.
The Department of Corrections provides training for new corrections officers, which includes workplace and classroom learning. Frontline Start induction training takes three 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.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a corrections officer. However, languages, social studies and te reo Māori are useful.
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.
Useful experience for corrections officers includes:
- work as a probation officer
- community work
- social work
- coaching experience.
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.
Find out more about training
- Department of Corrections
- firstname.lastname@example.org - www.corrections.govt.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
More prisoners mean increased demand for corrections officers
Demand for corrections officers is expected to continue growing due to an increase in prisoners. The number of prisoners in New Zealand increased by 20% between 2015 and 2018.
There are currently more than 3800 correction officers in New Zealand.
According to the Census, 4,218 correction officers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Most corrections officers employed by Department of Corrections
Most corrections officers are employed by the Department of Corrections.
Serco New Zealand employs corrections officers for the Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility.
- Christian,H, 'Prisons across the Country are Short Hundreds of Staff, Corrections Reveals', 25 June 2018, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Cowlishaw, S, 'Budget 2018: Waikeria Prison on Hold', 17 May 2018, (www.newsroom.co.nz).
- Davison, I, 'Budget 2018: Corrections Get Boost to Cope With Fast-Growing Prison Population', 17 May 2018, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
- Department of Corrections, 'Briefing to the Incoming Minister 2017', 2017, (www.corrections.govt.nz).
- Department of Corrections website, accessed May 2018, (www.corrections.govt.nz).
- Fisher, D, 'Andrew Little: Longer Sentences, More Prisoners – it Doesn't Work and it Has to Stop', 22 February 2018, (www.nzherald.co.nz),
- Gattey, M, 'Government Aims to Cut Prison Population and Fix "Abnormal" System', 29 March 2018, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Ministry of Justice, 'Justice Sector Forecast 2011–2021, Forecast Update', March 2015, accessed May 2018, (www.justice.govt.nz).
- Rakuraku,S, manager recruitment administration, Department of Corrections, careers.govt.nz interview, July 2018.
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Corrections officers may progress to work as senior corrections officers, principal corrections officers and unit managers.
Correction officer may also move into jobs in management or policy at Department of Corrections or Ministry of Justice.
Last updated 3 November 2020