Psychologists in Corrective Services NSW belong to the Offender Services and Programs Branch. Click on any of the links below to go straight to the section you are interested in, or read through for an account of how the Psychology Service operates.
What is the Corrective Services NSW Psychology Service?
Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. Psychologists can help to understand how people’s thinking relates to their behaviour and to the situation around them. Corrective Services NSW employs approximately 170 Psychologists and Senior Psychologists across different areas of custody and community corrections as well as 2 Chief Psychologists and 1 Principal Psychologist. The role of psychologists in Corrective Services NSW is to assist with
- The safe, secure and humane management of offenders and people on remand by providing advice and direct service provision for vulnerable people who are in custody or under supervision of Corrective Services NSW. These people include those with mental health and cognitive impairments (including those at risk of self-harm or suicide), and those who pose a risk of harm to others in their immediate environment
- Reducing risks of re-offending through specialist service and program delivery, particularly for sex and violent offenders and for those with complex clinical and behavioural needs who require extra assistance to access and complete appropriate programs that make a safer community
- Integration of offenders into custodial environments and reintegration to community on release from custody. Community safety is improved by having well-adjusted and stable people released from custody who are supported in times of need related to risks, and who are engaged with the wider community and can pursue general well-being without criminal behaviour
- Advising courts, the State Parole Authority, the Mental Health Review Tribunal and other statutory authorities regarding assessment of risks, criminogenic needs, and responsivity issues as well as recommendations for appropriate management of these issues
It is important to distinguish psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, from psychologists, who are not medical doctors, particularly in Corrective Services NSW. Psychiatric services for people who have serious mental health impairments are provided in Corrective Services NSW by Justice Health , which is a part of NSW Health not of Corrective Services. Psychologists in Corrective Services NSW work in partnership with Justice Health to manage people with mental health impairments and other health-related issues, however Justice Health is the primary agency for health care for people in custody.
How Does the Corrective Services NSW Psychology Service Work?
All Corrective Services NSW psychologists are registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and are employed under conditions of the Crown Employees (Psychologists) Award of 2009. All employed psychologists have the opportunity for peer and senior peer consultation within Corrective Services NSW, and are provided with continuing professional development activities that fulfil the ongoing registration requirements of the Psychology Board of Australia, and maintain quality in service delivery.
Approximately half of all Psychologists and Senior Psychologists employed by Corrective Services NSW work in local correctional centres or community corrections offices. They provide services to people on remand, offenders serving sentences in custody and offenders serving sentences (including conditional release to parole) in the community.
People on remand can be referred to a Corrective Services NSW psychologist at any time whilst they are in custody. They are typically referred by screeners who interview people as soon as they are received into custody, or by custodial staff who supervise them whist they are in custody. Probation and Parole officers can also refer people to a Corrective Services NSW psychologist if they require an assessment to inform their pre-sentence report to court.
Sentenced offenders, whether in custody or supervised in the community, are generally referred to a Corrective Services NSW psychologist as part of their case plan to address assessed risks, needs and responsivity factors. Offenders might also be referred to a psychologist to assist with mental health and other crises, or for management of behaviour whilst in custody. Offenders can be referred by Custodial Officers, Probation and Parole Officers, Industrial Overseers and other Offender Services and Programs staff.
The other half of all Psychologists and Senior Psychologists work exclusively in one of the statewide areas of:
- Sex and Violent Offender Therapeutic Programs
- Intensive Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program
- Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Centre
- Statewide Disability Services
- At Risk Inmate Programs
- Personality and Behavioural Disorders Unit
Each of these areas is overseen by a Chief Psychologist, Director or Principal Officer. Offenders and people on remand typically require these services as a specific part of their case plan or for a higher intensity of specialised service than is available locally. For more information about these services and programs see other sections of the Offender Services and Programs Branch Website.
All policies, procedures and practices for psychologists within Corrective Services NSW are informed by the conditions of practice of the Psychology Board of Australia, the conditions of employment by the Crown Employees (Psychologists) Award of 2009, and the core business objectives of Corrective Services NSW.
The Principal Psychologist, Principal Adviser Psychology
- Provides advice to senior staff of Corrective Services on matters relating to psychological services for offenders in custody and in the community, including effective deployment of staffing resources, program design, range of services to be provided, and standards for delivery of psychological services.
- Is responsible for the development of policy and procedural guidelines that facilitate an integrated delivery of psychological services and programs
- Negotiates and ensures the conduct of relevant research to produce standards of better practice for the development, delivery and effectiveness of psychological services and programs
- Maintains and directs standards of professional supervision of all psychologists in Corrective Services NSW
- Provides advice and support in relation to the development, accreditation, approval and evaluation of psychological programs and services
- Represents Corrective Services NSW to external agencies and individuals as the key contact on matters related to psychology and the practice of psychologists in Corrective Services NSW.
The Principal Psychologist is a member of the Public Sector Senior Psychologists Forum
Strategic and operational decisions relating to policy, procedures and practices of psychologist in Corrective Services NSW are determined by the Psychological Clinical Governance Team, made up of
- Principal Psychologist, Principal Advisor Psychology
- Chief Psychologist, Statewide Clinical Coordinator ‘At Risk’ Inmate Programs
- Chief Psychologist, Team Leader Personality and Behavioural Disorders Unit
- Principal Officer, Statewide Disabilities Unit
- Director, Sex and Violent Offender Therapeutic Programs
- Manager, Offender Assessment Unit
- Director, Wentworth Forensic Clinic
Together, these areas represent the different types of work that psychologists in Corrective Services NSW do. In addition, Psychologists and Senior Psychologists from the field also contribute to the Psychology Clinical Governance Team on a casual basis via topic-area working parties.
Corrective Services NSW has a formal collaborative partnership with the University of NSW School of Psychology (Forensic Program) that operates the Wentworth Forensic Clinic located in the Sydney metropolitan area.
Students of the Clinic, as part of their post-graduate studies in Forensic Psychology, work under supervision of Corrective Services NSW psychologists and other staff to develop an extensive understanding of the role of psychology in Corrective Services NSW. The program allows them to progressively work towards more autonomous practice in the day-day operations of the Corrective Services Psychology Service. The students also participate in research activities across the Offender Services and Programs Branch.
The Wentworth Clinic is not exclusive to students of the University of NSW, and other Universities in metropolitan and regional areas are welcomed to participate.
How do I apply for a job with Corrective Services NSW Psychology?
Permanent and temporary vacant Psychologist and Senior Psychologist positions are advertised with Jobs NSW and managed by the Human Resources Division of Corrective Services NSW. For a list of all currently advertised psychologist positions as well as details on how to apply for a position, please visit the Jobs NSW website. General information for prospective employees of Corrective Services NSW can be found at the Corrective Services NSW Careers page.
Applicants for psychologist positions must hold registration with the Psychology Board of Australia and address each selection criteria in full. Applicants wishing to apply for specialist classification (clinical psychologist, forensic psychologist, neuropsychologist, counselling psychologist) by Corrective Services NSW must satisfy all 5 characteristics for specialist classification outlined in the Crown Employees (Psychologist) Award. It is not sufficient to be endorsed in a specialist area of practice by the Psychology Board of Australia.
Provisionally registered psychologists are eligible to apply for some psychologist positions. Appointment as provisionally registered psychologist is dependent upon suitability of location, availability of an accredited Corrective Services NSW psychologist supervisor, and details of the proposed learning plan with the Psychology Board of Australia.
How do I apply for placement with Corrective Services NSW Psychology?
Corrective Services NSW welcomes postgraduate psychology students completing clinical and research placements. Postgraduate psychology students currently enrolled in ‘5th year’ or ‘6th year’ of an APAC accredited course are eligible to apply for voluntary placement with Corrective Services NSW. Placement availability will depend on indemnity insurance being provided by the training institution, suitability of location, availability of accredited Corrective Services NSW supervisor, and proposed learning plan for the placement. A Corrective Services NSW Senior Psychologist must be approved as a primary or secondary supervisor for any placement.
Currently, Corrective Services NSW is not able to offer voluntary placements that are not a component of APAC accredited course. This includes 4-year trained psychologists undertaking 2 years of supervised practice and 5-year trained psychologists undertaking 1 year of supervised practice.
How do I request a psychology report from Corrective Services NSW?
What we do
Psychologists in Corrective Services NSW can only write reports at the request of
- Magistrates of Local Courts of NSW (for sentencing options only)
- Judges of District Courts of NSW (for sentencing options only)
- Justices of the Supreme Court of NSW (for offenders eligible for Continuing Detention Orders or Extended Supervision Orders)
- The State Parole Authority
- The Mental Health Review Tribunal
- The Guardianship Tribunal
- Another case managing agency or service for the purpose of continuity of care (eg NSW Health, NSW Department of Ageing Disability and Home Care, General Practitioners)
Reports are most easily prioritised when the reason for the report, the specific referral question and angle of inquiry are made clear. If these are not clear, we may suspend the report until we have received clarification.
As a result of several factors, it typically takes 4-6 weeks from the time of request to the time of completion of a psychology report in Corrective Services NSW. If a report is required to be completed in less time, we may advise that the report cannot be completed.
Requests for psychological reports from a Corrective Services NSW psychologist must be directed to email@example.com
What we don’t do
Psychologists in Corrective Services NSW can NOT write reports
- For trial or pre-trial stages of court proceedings (they can only write reports for sentencing stage)
- At the requests of legal representatives (they can only write reports at the request of the judicial officer of the court)
- At the request of offenders
- For psychiatric assessment (these must be referred to Justice Health).
For listings of psychologists in private practice who may be of assistance in conducting psychological assessments for court, please visit the Register of Practitioners on the Psychology Board of Australia website or visit the website for the Australian Psychological Society, which provides community information for how to find a psychologist
Are Corrective Services NSW Psychology Files confidential?
Psychologists in Corrective Services NSW keep records of all of their assessments, interventions and consultations. All psychologists maintain their records in accordance with Corrective Services NSW Corporate Records Management Policy and associated policies and procedures, with due regard to the Code of Ethics adopted by the Psychology Board of Australia, including those related to limitations on confidentiality.
Most psychologists’ records are kept in the Offender Integrated Management System (OIMS) database and general case management file that is accessible by all staff of Corrective Services NSW. These records provide information and advice to other staff about management strategies specific to people’s assessed needs. Records that are more confidential are kept only on a Psychology File that is only accessible by Corrective Services NSW Psychologists and their administrative assistants. These records inform the advice provided by psychologists in Corrective Services NSW.
It is important that all psychologists and the people to whom they provide a service know and understand the limits of confidentiality in Corrective Services NSW. This includes knowledge of how Psychology Files might be released within and outside Corrective Services NSW:
- Voluntary exchange of relevant information with other agencies for ongoing case management and continuity of care
- Mandatory subpoena by a court (NB all subpoenas must be sent in the first instance to the Corrective Services NSW Legal Branch)
- Mandatory exchange of relevant information with other agencies for child protection purposes under Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, Child Protection (Offender Prohibitions Order) Act 2004,and other relevant legislation (NB all requests for this information must be sent in the first instance to the Corrective Services NSW Child Protection and Support Unit)
- Mandatory limited release of information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NB requests for access under this act must be forwarded to the Information Access and Privacy Unit of Corrective Services NSW)
If you have concerns about the psychological well-being of someone you know in custody or under supervision of Corrective Services NSW, and would like us to know about it, you should contact the relevant manager of the Correctional Centre or District Office that they are at.
If you would like to inquire about an advertised psychology position, please contact the Corrective Services NSW Recruitment Office or the contact person listed in the advertisement.
If you are seeking information about specific areas of practice by psychologists within Corrective Services NSW, follow the links for
- Psychological assessments used in Corrective Services NSW
- Mental health services available in Corrective Services NSW, including management of suicide and self-harm risks NB see also Justice Health
- Disability services available in Corrective Services NSW
- Strategies for managing offenders with personality and behavioural disorders
- sex and violent offenders in Corrective Services NSW
- other programs for offenders in Corrective Services NSW
or visit the Corrective Services NSW Offender Services and Programs Branch website.
All other inquiries about the Corrective Services NSW Psychology Service, including requests for psychological reports, can be addressed to the Principal Psychologist, Principal Advisor Psychology, via
§ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
§ Telephone: +612 8346 1333
§ Post: GPO