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"Inside's" longest-serving receive special honour

6 May 2004

"Inside's" longest-serving receive special honour

Twelve hundred years behind bars is a long stretch by even the toughest of standards - yet that's precisely what a group of around 70 men and women have notched up in Auckland, a service the Corrections Minister today recognised at a ceremony in Auckland.

Medals and clasps were presented by Mr Swain in recognition of staff having completed 14, 21, 28 or 35 years of service. The medals, for long service and good conduct, are issued by Royal Warrant and are engraved with each officer's name. Medals are presented for 14 years' service, with clasps presented for each additional seven-year milestone.

Ten of the recipients were women, including two officers who have each served 22 years behind bars - among the longest-serving female corrections officers in New Zealand.

Four staff members - including Auckland regional manager, Brendon Moynihan - received clasps for 35 years' service, two having commenced their careers as teenaged "prison officer cadets" in the late 1960s.

Mr Swain noted that the work of corrections officers has changed markedly over the past decades, and most notably in the past five to ten years.

"Corrections officers are important role models to inmates, offering positive examples of social interaction", Mr Swain said in his address.

"All in all, corrections officers deserve a vote of thanks from the New Zealand public for the important, and often unseen, work they carry out."

He observed that the role includes specialised positions such as sentence planner, crime prevention officer, receiving officer, programme facilitator, to name just a few.

"Management career paths, from running a single unit to the prisons in an entire region are also possible. Career progression and recognised qualifications are available, and the role has become a genuine career option."

A recruitment campaign is currently underway to recruit more corrections officers, required to help staff four new prisons currently being planned or constructed.

ENDS

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