Position Title: Principal Corrections Officer
Service/Group: Prison Services
Date: May 2010
The Department of Corrections is a core part of New Zealand’s justice sector and
manages custodial and community-based sentences imposed by the Courts. More
information can be found on our website at www.corrections.govt.nz.
Prison Services is the largest of the Department’s business units, responsible for the
management of sentenced and remand prisoners within 20 prisons nationwide, and
aims to provide world class prison services that are safe, secure and humane.
Purpose of Position
The Principal Corrections Officer (PCO) is the senior custodial position within Prison
Services responsible for the efficient and effective day-to-day operation of a particular
Unit or Area within a Prison site.
This position is also responsible for the overall supervision and performance
management of staff in the unit and for ensuring the management of prisoners is
consistent with the Department’s and Prison Services’ overall mission i.e. to ensure the
provision of a safe, secure and humane prison service, which contributes to reducing re-
Responsible to: Residential Manager
Responsible for: Corrections Officers/Senior Corrections Officers
Corrections staff and unions
Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) staff
Finance Systems & Infrastructure (FS&I)
Rehabilitation & Reintegration Service (RRS)
Regional Intelligence Unit
Wider PCO Group & Site Management team
Regional Quality & Business Improvement
ACC + CRM
Custodial Management & Security
Plan, allocate and co-ordinate the work of the unit team
Ensure sentence compliance by supervising and coaching staff to manage
prisoners in the unit according to their individual offender plans, security
classifications and the risks that they present.
Monitor daily routine of the unit and supervise unit staff to ensure the day-to-day
custodial and operational functions are carried out to the standards required by
all legislation, policies and procedures.
Carry out assigned custodial delegations to the required standards. (Whilst still
to be finalised, it is anticipated that these delegations will include areas such as,
B14 sign offs, releases, classifications, transfers, medical transfers.)
Develop and maintain a close understanding of all risks impacting on unit, staff
and prisoners and lead staff to minimise, mitigate and manage these risks. Co-
ordinate the preparation of the unit risk management framework and supervise
staff to ensure implementation of all necessary mitigation strategies or remedial
Activate initial incident response and emergency procedures when required.
Supervise staff to ensure that they manage prisoner behaviour and discipline in
order that staff and prisoner safety is maintained.
Ensure prisoner complaint processes are managed by staff according to the
required standards and that prisoner grievances are appropriately resolved or, if
this is not possible, elevated to the next level.
Supporting Offender Management
Act as the champion of Offender Plans and "Active Management" within the unit.
Supervise staff to ensure they carry out all case officer responsibilities to the
required standards and that prisoners are actively encouraged to participate in
employment, programmes and education as per their individual offender plans.
Personally assist staff in the management of high risk, complex or difficult
Monitor and recommend improvements to offender management procedures and
Assist in regularly informing and educating staff about their responsibilities in
relation to offender management and active management.
Ensure that prisoners with special needs (including segregation) are
appropriately and safely managed in the unit.
(NB. Additional or amended responsibilities may be included for Offender
Management once the new RRS has confirmed the required support from PS and
the role of PCO’s/SCO’s and CO’s in case management).
Develop and maintain an up-to-date understanding of the Corrections Act (and all
amendments), Corrections Regulations, PS policies and procedures
(PPM/PSOM) in relation to custodial management and compliance.
Monitor compliance within the unit on a day-to day basis and ensure that staff are
carrying out all responsibilities in accordance with the required legislation,
regulations and policies/procedures.
Proactively identify risks or gaps in compliance and take appropriate action with
staff or with senior management to immediately address these.
As required by the Residential or Prison Manager, report on compliance in all
Lead and coach unit staff to create an environment that supports quality
control/assurance and continuous quality improvement.
Monitor staff to ensure that unit operations and prisoner management meet all
required quality standards.
Leadership & Teamwork
Act as a positive role model for staff by demonstrating the Department's values
on a daily basis and ensuring staff do likewise.
Act as the senior custodial leader within the unit by ensuring that staff understand
the Department's/PS mission and objective and how this relates to their roles.
Also lead unit staff to high standards of behaviour and performance.
Actively encourage teamwork within the unit and a culture of "working together".
This includes working positively with other staff, managers, providers and
Maintain good communications with unit staff and ensure all relevant information
is effectively distributed to and understood by all staff.
Responsible for the overall custodial supervision of the Unit and for the setting of
performance and behavioural standards within the unit.
Define individual and team expectations for the unit. This includes setting
objectives for the performance plans of unit staff.
Provide immediate and day-to-day feedback to unit staff regarding performance
Provide coaching and mentoring to staff to ensure they make positive
contributions, consistent with the Department's and PS's mission and business
Encourage & support COs & SCOs to achieve Offender management
Conduct formal performance appraisals and reviews in relation to Cos and SCOs
in the Unit as agreed with the Residential Manager.
Contribute to the resource allocation and budget planning process.
Monitor and actively manage major cost drivers as agreed with the Residential
Work with the Residential Manager to identify variance from the approved budget
and any Business Plan targets and the required remedial actions.
Ensure cost effective rostering and allocation of staff duties. This includes
ensuring rosters are consistent with the approved model for the unit and
unplanned absences are managed in accordance with the required protocol and
the unit budget.
Ensure all leave for unit staff (including annual leave, DIL's, bereavement leave
and accident leave) is managed according to the required policies and
Undertake minor day-to- day purchasing as agreed with the Residential
Liaise with FS&I re minor day-to-day unit issues
Develop & build strong working relationships with key internal stakeholders as
agreed with the Residential Manager and Prison Manager.
Build good relationships and a strong rapport with staff and Unions.
Liaise closely with other staff and other units and prisons in order to ensure
effective management of prisoners across the whole site.
Contribute to overall management of the site muster, management of site wide
risks, site wide quality improvement initiatives and after hours security.
Support Prison Manager & the site management team in developing good morale
on site and a team approach to operating the prison.
Undertake specific projects or manage site wide portfolios as agreed with the
Residential Manager or Prison Manager.
Develop coaching or remedial plans to address any performance or training gaps
identified as part of the PMS review process.
Ensure that each unit staff member has a performance management
development plan and this is reviewed as part of the PMS process.
Health & Safety
Ensure compliance with the OH&S legislation both individually and within the
Manage the Hazard register & identification of hazards within the Unit.
Identify potential risk, and co-ordinating remedial action to minimise, if necessary.
Ensure new staff into the Unit are inducted regarding H&S practices.
Maintain a safe environment in the unit and comply with all Health and Safety
legislation and Department policies.
Ensure all hazards are clearly identified, eliminated, mitigated or managed and
placed on the Unit hazard register.
Ensure hazard management plans are developed and implemented across the
Identify and report on H&S hazards work related injuries.
Provide first aid and basic life support.
Prepare reports for the Residential Manager on relevant issues including; the
operational performance of the unit, rostering and leave performance, incidents
and incident management. This includes recommendations and remedial actions
to address any operational performance gaps.
Supervise staff to ensure all required unit documentation and IOM/IT data input is
completed on time and to the required standards.
Ensure effective implementation of new policies/procedures through provision of
clear information to staff and ongoing monitoring of performance.
Ensure skill/knowledge remains current especially in relation to required
legislation/policies and broader Corrections issues.
Understand Department and PS mission, values & goals and work to achieve
Manage and maintain personal wellness and safety.
Complete offender management qualifications to at least Level 4 standard. Look
to undertake further development regarding the PCO role.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience
Sound working knowledge of operational prison practices and risks
Proven frontline operational custodial experience
Experience in the implementation and maintenance of processes to ensure
compliance with legislation, policy, and procedures
Commitment to developing staff to improve performance, contribute to culture
change, and build capability
Proven ability to set and enforce clear standards and expectations with direct
reports and manage individual performance
Ability to develop and maintain strong working relations with external agencies and
Level 4 NCOM and working towards Level 5 (aim for level 5 achievement in two years).
Job Description and Scope of Duties
The job holder is expected to perform such other duties as can reasonably be regarded
as incidental to the job description, and such other duties reasonably within their
experience and capabilities as may be from time to time assigned following
People Leader Competencies – PCO
The competencies for the PCO position will be based on the new Lominger
competencies recently adopted by the Executive Team. These will be completed in the
new few months and then included in the Position Description.