FAQs

FAQs

Use the filters below to get to what you want quicker

Right to work and Visa requirements

  • Application Process

We will need to see two suitable forms of proof of your identity, typically:

  • your passport and visa (if applicable) or full birth certificate, and
  • your New Zealand driver licence.

Typically, you must be legally able to work in New Zealand. If you are not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you will need a valid work visa before you can start working for us.  

Applying for a Corrections Officer role?

You'll need to hold the legal right to work in New Zealand for a minimum 12-months from your potential start date. We are currently working with New Zealand Immigration on changes to the accredited employers visa requirements and hope to be able to offer support for non-visa holders to work at specific sites across the country in late 2022.  

Declaring criminal convictions

  • Application Process

In your application form you will be asked to declare any criminal convictions or pending charges.

The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 means those who have had no convictions within the last seven years, and who meet other criteria in the Act, don’t have to disclose any convictions - except for certain roles.

Applying for a frontline role working with offenders?

The following frontline roles are exceptions under the Clean Slate Act (i.e. Clean Slate DOES NOT apply) and you are required to disclose ALL criminal convictions you have had regardless of when those convictions occurred.

You must disclose any criminal convictions when applying for these roles:

  • Corrections Officers, custodial staff and management roles within the prison.
  • Instructors (Offender Employment) and Principal Instructors.
  • Probation Officers, Community Work Supervisors and other management roles within probation.

You can find out more about criminal records and the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 on the Ministry of Justice website.

Declaring a conflict of interest

  • Application Process

What is a conflict of interest?

  • A conflict of interest means a conflict between your public duty (your role at the Department) and your private and/or personal interests.
  • Personal interests can be financial or relate to family, friends, associations or associates (past or present).
  • Conflicts of interest may be actual (real), potential or perceived.

Here are some examples of potential conflicts of interest:

  • Working with prisoners or offenders who are family members or friends or associates
  • Having supervisory or management responsibility for a family member, or a person with whom you have a personal relationship
  • Having a personal relationship in the workplace with a colleague, offender, client, contractor or other staff working in the Department
  • Having past or present associations with gangs
  • Affiliations with ex-offenders or prisoners
  • Taking part in recruitment processes where a close friend or family member is a candidate for the job
  • Commitments to professional, community, ethnic, family or religious groups that could conflict with your professional role
  • Interests in family or other private or commercial business that has dealings with the Department, such as providers and suppliers

If you are unsure, please declare on your application.

Supplementary Information Form

  • Application Process

Sometimes you may be asked to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) after you've applied.  

This form allows you to provide more information if you've said you have:

  • an association with someone who is currently serving a sentence or has previously been convicted
  • an association with a gang 
  • a conflict of interest (something else that may effect your ability to carry out your role)
  • a personal offence including any interactions you personally have had with any law enforcement agency in NZ or overseas. 

It is important that you provide as much information as you can on this form to allow us to assess your application.  Once you've submitted this we'll be in touch to let you know next steps.

Psychometric and online video interview

  • Application Process

We’ll send you a link to a psychometric assessment and sometimes an online video interview. There are no right or wrong answers but it gives us an idea about your fit for the role and makes sure that you’ll be safe working with offenders.


The psychometric assessment takes about an hour to complete and we recommend doing it in a distraction-free environment. It's important you answer honestly so we get a good feel to how you naturally respond to different situations.


The online video interview asks you a couple of questions and gets you to think about your motivation and what you might bring to the role. Read tips here about how to nail your interview.

Equal Employment Opportunities

  • Application Process

The Department understands that staff are our most valued resource. We aim to provide a safe, supportive and responsive environment. Our staff have opportunities to contribute to human resource policies that affect them and discuss flexible work options with their manager, who will take into account the needs of the workplace and the staff member before making a decision.


The Department of Corrections is committed to equal opportunity in all our employment policies and procedures.


All staff – regardless of gender, race, martial status, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious or ethical beliefs, political opinion or union affiliation – have access to equal employment opportunities, particularly recruitment, training and career performance management and conditions of employment.


The equal employment opportunities programme complements other human resource initiatives to create and maintain a positive workplace culture and to develop constructive relationships between staff and management.


To help our staff reach their full potential, we offer opportunities for study assistance, career development and performance management.


Everyone has access to support and assistance through our Employee Assistance Programme.

Tangata Whenua

The Department recognises the status of Māori as tangata whenua and its responsibilities to deliver equal employment opportunities to Māori staff.

Interviews & Assessment Centres

  • Application Process

Interviews are a two-way process. They are an opportunity for you to find out more about us and the role you have applied for, while the we get the chance to find out more about you.

For more, read our interview tips.

Assessment Centres

This is a half-day session that gets  you to complete role plays, team exercise, written exercises and an interview.   It may sound scary but it’s just a chance for you to show off your natural skills and give you a better idea of what working on the frontline is like. 

You can find out more about what to expect by downloading our Assessment Centre Guide.

Referee Checks

  • Application Process

The Department will conduct reference checks prior to a job offer being made.  

We typically ask for two references and prefer that they are:

  • your current manager or someone you have worked for within the last 5 years
  • not personal references, friends or co-workers.

If you're not able to find suitable references, please contact our team to discuss other options.

 

How we complete the checks

We use a tool called Xref - a fully automated, online reference checking platform that securely collects feedback.

Here's what happens:

  1. When we're ready to talk to your referees, you'll get an invitation directly from Xref.
  2. Read through the instructions in the invitation - it'll tell you how many referees we need an remind you of who we need to speak to.
  3. Enter the referees details and hit submit!

You can now put your feet up and relax! The system will send out the necessary forms along with a set of instructions directly to your referees.  You can log into Xref at any time to track to see if they've completed it or if you need to followup and remind them.

TIP:  We recommend you let your referees know a reference check is on its way!

They'll then be able to keep a lookout for the email and can complete quickly so not to hold you up in the process.

Pre-employment checking

  • Application Process

Because of the nature of our work and the high standards of integrity and conduct we expect from employees, Corrections carries out a number of pre-employment checks on  applicants for all roles within Corrections. 


The type of checks depend on the nature of the job you have applied for roles within the Department:

  • referee checks
  • criminal conviction checking - either NZ Police vetting or Ministry of Justice criminal record check, including those required by the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 depending on role type (read more about declaring convictions)
  • drug testing
  • physical fitness test and medical check for corrections officers and instructors
  • proof of identity and right to work check
  • credit checks (for specific roles including finance, procurement, and payroll staff)


All information gathered during the job application and pre-employment checking process will be used, stored and disposed of in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1993.

Medical assessments

  • Application Process

If you’ve applied to become a corrections officer or an instructor, you’ll also be asked to have a doctor (of your choice) do a full medical examination. 

We need to make sure that any conditions you have, such as neurological, psychological or sensory, don’t affect your safety or increase risk inside the prison. You’ll need to cover the cost of the medical but we’ll reimburse this once you’ve been appointed.

Unsure or have an pre-existing condition?

We encourage you to disclose all pre-existing conditions as soon as you apply, regardless if they effect your day to day living or not e.g wear hearing aids, take blood pressure medications etc. 

We consider all applications on a case by case basis and can provide you advice and guidance on your specific circumstances.

Site Visit or SCOPE

  • Application Process

Some roles will require you to complete a site visit called a SCOPE. 

This is an opportunity for you to take part in a job preview and allows you to shadow one of our team members as they carry out their daily duties. This gives you the chance to see what the environment is like, and gives you the chance to ask all the questions you might still have.

If you’ve applied for a job as an instructor or a corrections officer, we’ll also get you to complete a fitness assessment (Physical Readiness Assessment). You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a gym junky as  it can be passed by anyone with  a reasonable level of fitness.

CV

  • Application Process

We get thousands of applications each year and the ones that stand out are:

  • Tailored - look at the position description and align your key skills and experience with what we’re looking for
  • Simple - make sure it’s easy to read - it doesn;t have to win design awards
  • Has been proofread and the spelling checked 

Stuck? Check out the CV builder and tips at careers.govt.nz

Interviews

  • Application Process
  • Interviews can make the best of us break into a cold sweat but remember, this is also an opportunity to see if we’re right for you! 
  • We use the ‘tell us about a time…’ interview technique or STAR - situation, task, action, and result. 
  • To prepare, think about examples of achievements and challenges in previous roles. 


If you’d like some tips on how to answer interview questions, click here

The Physical Readiness Assessment (PRA)

  • Application Process

The PRA is based on tasks that you’d carry out in your role as a Corrections Officer instructor and is something you’ll be tested on each year. 

The test includes: 

  • Walking between units (a 300m speed walk)
  • A simulated search- lifting and reaching 
  • A call to emergency - run five laps of a 20m course that includes stairs
  • A control and restraint activity (grip and pull strength)
  • Rescue of an unconscious person (50kg dummy moved 10m)

To pass, you need to complete the circuit within a certain amount of time.

Need more? You can find out more about the assessment by visiting careers.corrections.govt.nz/pra

How long does the recruitment process take to complete?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

For our custodial roles, we aim for 6-8 weeks but it depends on a number of factors. For all other roles we work as quickly as possible and will be in touch with timeframes.

If you've already applied please give our team a call on 0800 437 668, we’ll be able to chat with you further about your application. 

Can I apply as a Corrections Officer if I live overseas?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Unfortunately we're not able to offer employment as a Corrections Officer to those who do not already hold the legal right to work in New Zealand for a minimum of 24 months.

If you do hold the legal right to work, you would need to be willing to travel to New Zealand to attend an assessment centre and complete other stages of the recruitment process. All costs associated with travelling to New Zealand to undertake recruitment selection processes will be at your own expense.

Candidates need to provide evidence of the right to work in New Zealand for at least two years, before we can progress your application to assessment. 

Need more information on Visas?

Information on visas and the requirements can be found on the Immigration New

Can you work at Corrections if you have a family member in prison?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Yes - usually you can!

It’s important to us that you aren’t put in any unsafe situations, so we ask you to disclose all conflicts of interest when you apply. 

These are then assessed on a case by case basis.

Can I apply as a Corrections Officer if I have a criminal conviction?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Once you declare an offence, you will be required to complete an additional form (Supplementary Information Form) providing us with as much as information as possible. 

We assess any candidate on a case by case basis  depending on the severity of the conviction and the length of time it has been since you were charged. 

Applicants with the following kinds of criminal record will not usually be considered:

  • Any person who has received a custodial sentence (includes periodic detention and corrective training) regardless of when the offence occurred
  • Any conviction for violence, dishonesty, drugs, a sexual offence, or any offence which incurred a sentence of supervision within the last 20 years (Prison Services custodial positions) or 10 years (other Prison Services positions, and all other services and groups)
  • Any criminal conviction within the last 10 years, with the exception of minor convictions (minor convictions are those incurring small fines)
  • A continued history of minor offences

I have served time in prison, can I apply as a Corrections Officer?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Unfortunately, we cannot consider those who have stayed in prison to work on our Custodial team. 

We hold our staff to very high standards in terms of their previous criminal history in order to maintain their safety in the role. 

You may be more interested in working for a programme provider to provide support services to those in prison instead.

Why do I need a full driver licence?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

You'll need to hold a clean full driver licence (NZ or International) for all of our frontline roles before you start with us.  This is so you are able to carry out the tasks associated with your role - even if you're based entirely inside a prison. 

Not applying for a Custodial role?

If you're not working on the frontline you'll need to check the position description to see if this is a requirement.  Some roles will require you to travel and be able to drive between locations or sites.

What career progression is there as a Corrections Officer?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Corrections officer

When you start with us you'll be paid a starting annual salary while you complete your training - this increases to after you graduate.

As you develop experience,  leadership skills, and demonstrate willingness to be a role model and coach other officers, you apply to become a senior corrections officer. 

Senior corrections officer

As a senior corrections officer, part of your responsibility is supervising and supporting other corrections officers working on the same shift as you.  

We do recommend to be in the role for 12-18 months before applying for senior corrections officer role given that it takes time to learn and master our policies and procedures. 

Principal corrections officer

Once you’re a senior corrections officer, you can then work towards applying to become a principal corrections officer. In this role, you’re responsible for managing a prison unit and team of staff to ensure a safe and secure environment that allows prisoners to take part in their rehabilitation activities.   

Again, principal corrections officers need to be good leaders and willing to coach others, but they also need to have really good decision-making skills and the ability to build up a strong team. 

What hours do Corrections Officers work?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Full-time staff would work a combination of 8, 10, or 12 hour shifts and the roster patterns would depend on the operational requirements of the site.  

As we operate a 24/7 - 365 day service, you'll need to be available to work rostered hours including nights, weekends and public holidays.

What is the physical readiness assessment (PRA)?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

The Physical Readiness Assessment (PRA) is based on tasks that you’d carry out in your role and once you’re in, we retest our corrections officers each year.

The timed test includes: 

  • Walking between units – a 300m speed walk,
  • A simulated search – lifting and reaching,
  • A call to an emergency - run five laps of a 20m course that includes stairs,
  • Control and Restraint (C&R) activity - grip and pull strength,
  • Rescue of an unconscious colleague – dragging a dummy 10m safely, and
  • Walking back to unit – another 300m walk.

To pass you’ve got to complete  the circuit within a specific time. 

Want to know more?

Download our full guide to the testing process.

What qualifications do I need to become a Corrections Officer?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

There are no specific prerequisites, and you don't need to have any prior qualifications - we provide all of the training you need. We are looking for people who work well in a team, are able to identify and respond well to challenging situations, and have good communication skills. In addition, we look for people who are positive role models and can relate to people from all walks of life.

Applicants must meet a minimum criteria including:

  • A current full New Zealand or international driver licence (must be able to drive a manual vehicle as a requirement for this position).
  • The legal right to work in New Zealand for a minimum 30 Months
  • The ability to pass a full drug test and medical assessment in line with the physical requirements of the role
  • Approval of any declared convictions or conflicts of interest in accordance with the Corrections delegations policy

How safe are Custodial jobs?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

Safety is our number one priority, so the training is intensive and starts from day one. You’ll need to be ‘up for it’ as we put you through your paces to make sure you have what it takes to work face to face with our offenders. Like any job, there are risks - but you have a great team who have got your back, and we provide a wide range of training and equipment to keep you safe.

What is the ratio of Correction Officers to prisoners?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

This varies according to security classification, and can also be dependent on other activities and related risk assessments, so very hard to give one answer.  You'll always be part of a supportive team who provides you support and keeps you safe.

What is the turnover rate like? Is it a good place to work?

  • Becoming a Corrections Officer

We have a pretty low turnover rate (7-8 percent) compared with around 11 percent for the rest of the public sector. Our staff tell us that they enjoy working somewhere where no two days are the same, and you have a real chance at making a difference in people’s lives.

Corrections Officer Development Pathway

  • Training

The Corrections Officer Development Pathway (CODP) is the initial learning for new corrections officers and offender employment instructors. This starts with Ara Tika and continues for a period of 12 months.  The CODP includes classroom based learning, self-led learning, practice in simulated environments and on-the-job learning.

There are six phases of the CODP programme:

Phase 1: 

Ara Tika is a week-long induction programme designed to give new staff an understanding of what Corrections does and how they play their part in reducing re-offending. You will join with other new staff from around the country beginning their careers with Corrections in a range of frontline roles. The programme is conducted at the National Learning Centre in Upper Hutt, Wellington. Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for any training that requires staff to be away from home.

Phase 2: 

New corrections officers continue their learning for three more weeks at the National Learning Centre. Learning is focused on custodial practice, safety and security. 

Phase 3: 

Assisted by a learning buddy and experienced staff from their unit, new corrections officers start to carry out duties on their prison site. This phase continues for four weeks.

Phase 4: 

This phase of learning is conducted at National Learning Centre for two weeks. New corrections officers undertake a series of scenario based assessments to assess their ability to perform the required practice areas effectively and the level of confidence they have in doing their job well. Also they will complete learning focused on offender management and supporting rehabilitation. At the end of the two weeks there is a graduation ceremony. 

Phases 5 and 6: 

Over the remainder of the year long pathway, new corrections officers gain work experience that will enable them to complete the National Certificate level 3 for Offender Management.

So you can plan your life, we'll supply the dates for each phase in your offer letter.

Pou Hapori Iho - Probation Officer training

  • Training

Pou Hapori Iho follows on from Ara Tika and provides new probation officers with the opportunity to complete their learning pathway at their work sites, guided by learning and development facilitators. 

You will complete structured learning activities supported by your experienced colleagues. You will also be supported by your manager and practice leaders. 

Pou Hapori Iho includes:

  • Principles underpinning our practice
  • Assessing people in the community (risk assessments)
  • Planning for people in the community (planning for interventions and programmes)
  • Working with people in the community (managing compliance)
  • Developing my practice (reflective practice)

Ara Tika is a week long 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 programme is conducted at the National Learning Centre in Upper Hutt, Wellington.

Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for any programmes that require staff to be away from home.

Pou Ārahi Iho - Case Management Training

  • Training

Case managers take part in Ara Tika, a week long induction programme designed to give new staff an understanding of what Corrections does and how they play their part in reducing re-offending. You will join with other new staff from around the country beginning their careers with Corrections in a range of frontline roles. The programme is conducted at the National Learning Centre in Upper Hutt, Wellington.

Pou Ārahi Iho follows on from Ara Tika and provides new case managers with the opportunity to complete their learning pathway at their work sites guided by learning and development facilitators. 

You will complete structured learning activities supported by your experienced colleagues. You will also be supported by your manager and practice leaders. 

Pou Ārahi Iho includes:

  • Principles underpinning our practice
  • Assessing those in our care (risk assessments)
  • Planning for those in our care (offender planning)
  • Transitioning those in our care (release planning)
  • Developing our practice (reflective practice)

Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for any programmes that require staff to be away from home.

Offender Employment Instructor

  • Training

Instructors complete the same learning as corrections officers.

The Corrections Officer Development Pathway (CODP) is the initial learning for new corrections officers and offender employment instructors. This starts with Ara Tika and continues for a period of 12 months.  The CODP includes classroom based learning, self-led learning, practice in simulated environments and on-the-job learning.

There are six phases of the CODP programme:

Phase 1: 

Ara Tika is a week-long induction programme designed to give new staff an understanding of what Corrections does and how they play their part in reducing re-offending. You will join with other new staff from around the country beginning their careers with Corrections in a range of frontline roles. The programme is conducted at the National Learning Centre in Upper Hutt, Wellington. Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for any training that requires staff to be away from home.

Phase 2: 

New corrections officers continue their learning for three more weeks at the National Learning Centre. Learning is focused on custodial practice, safety and security. 

Phase 3: 

Assisted by a learning buddy and experienced staff from their unit, new corrections officers start to carry out duties on their prison site. This phase continues for four weeks.

Phase 4: 

This phase of learning is conducted at National Learning Centre for two weeks. New corrections officers undertake a series of scenario based assessments to assess their ability to perform the required practice areas effectively and the level of confidence they have in doing their job well. Also they will complete learning focused on offender management and supporting rehabilitation. At the end of the two weeks there is a graduation ceremony. 

Phases 5 and 6: 

Over the remainder of the year long pathway, new corrections officers gain work experience that will enable them to complete the National Certificate level 3 for Offender Management.

So you can plan your life, we'll supply the dates for each phase in your offer letter.

Programme Facilitator Pathway

  • Training

Programme facilitators take part in Ara Tika, a week long induction programme designed to give new staff an understanding of what Corrections does and how they play their part in reducing re-offending. You will join with other new staff from around the country beginning their careers with Corrections in a range of frontline roles. The programme is conducted at the National Learning Centre in Upper Hutt, Wellington.

The Programme facilitators pathway follows on from Ara Tika and provides a full curriculum for new programme facilitators over a two year period.

The initial facilitator pathway is an intensive eight week learning programme, which includes three weeks in a classroom environment. Classroom-based courses are delivered in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland or Hamilton. In between the classroom modules, structured activities and assignments are completed back at your local office so you begin to see and learn about the facilitator role.

The facilitator pathway includes:

  • Self-management (professional behaviour)
  • Facilitation of group learning
  • Planning delivery and reporting of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) therapeutic programmes
  • Application of theoretical concepts
  • Working with Māori and Pacific values, concepts and processes
  • Co-facilitation and management of programme relationships and organisation.

Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for any programmes that requires staff to be away from home.