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Correctional Counselor II (Specialist) (9901)

Correctional Counselor II (Specialist)

California State Personnel Board Specification

  • Schematic Code: XS35
  • Class Code: 9901
  • Established: 03/03/1987
  • Revised: 12/13/2018
  • Title Changed: --


Under general direction, as a sworn essential public safety officer, either: (1) to conduct difficult program assignments within a special treatment unit of an institution; or (2) to conduct specialized program assignments as an Assistant Classification and Parole Representative, Inmate Appeal Coordinator, Inmate Work/Training Incentive Program Coordinator, or Prison Litigation Coordinator (Legal Liaison); to perform peace officer duties as required; and to do other related work.


Distinguishing Characteristics

Classification is the study of the individual prisoner for the purposes of understanding his/her needs and providing an administrative procedure for carrying out a program for his/her adjustment, education and skill training. Employees in this series usually are assigned either to a reception center or to a State correctional facility and are expected to demonstrate high ethical standards consistent with other state peace officer classifications and perform in such a way that facilitates and promotes the department’s rehabilitative programs, policies, and public safety efforts. Reception center staff prepare an evaluation of an inmate and make recommendations for his/her subsequent classification, assignment, transfer and program development or modification in a correctional setting. State correctional facilities attempt to assist inmates in their adjustment to institutional living, and to educate and provide skill training to prepare an individual for return to his/her community.

Employees in the next lower class of Correctional Counselor I, the first full-working level in this series, are primarily concerned with the adjustment, education, skill training, classification and assignment of inmates.

Employees in the next higher class of Correctional Counselor III are responsible for directing the inmate classification and pre-parole program or entering treatment program in an institution, and for liaison activities between the institution and Board of Prison Terms or may serve as members of the departmental headquarters' classification unit.


Typical Tasks

Instructs and assists with in-service training programs; integrates casework services with activities of other disciplines represented on a clinic team in a diagnostic center; provides casework services to select inmates and serves as treatment consultant to the custodial staff in lock-up units; checks the compilation of case records to determine that policies and appropriate procedures are followed; follows up on specific classification recommendations; assists in the development of effective casework procedures; coordinates the work of the Department of Corrections and that of the law enforcement agencies and interested public and private agencies; performs special assignments and studies; conducts or directs individual and group psychotherapy and counseling sessions; consults with custodial, educational, and care and treatment staffs; makes recommendations to the Board of Prison Terms for parole and retention of inmates; performs peace officer duties which include maintaining order and supervising the conduct of inmates, maintaining the safety of public, staff, inmates and property while enforcing state and Federal laws, rules, and regulations, inspecting premises and searching inmates for contraband, and replacing and/or assisting custodial staff during emergency situations, such as fights, attempted escapes, or major incidents such as riots; utilizes de-escalation/communication/use of force techniques to defend the safety and security of a correctional institution; documents incidents per policy and procedures.


In addition to the above tasks, the following is performed by the specialty assignments: the Assistant Classification and Parole Representative coordinates hearings for the Board of Prison Terms, serves as a member of the classification and disciplinary committees, and supervises the official recording of the Board of Prison Terms; the Inmate Appeal Coordinator researches and investigates second-level inmate appeals and makes recommendations for response; the Inmate Work/Training Incentive Program Coordinator assists in achieving legislative and departmental mandates to provide full work/training assignments for inmates, audits and monitors the work incentive law, provides training to staff on all aspects of the work incentive law, and maintains records to show compliance; the Prison Litigation Coordinator (Legal Liaison) serves as the institution litigation specialist for noncriminal lawsuits filed by, or on behalf of inmates, including habeus corpus, tort and civil rights type cases filed in State and Federal courts.


Minimum Qualifications

Either I

One year of experience in the California state service performing correctional casework duties at a level of responsibility equivalent to Correctional Counselor I.



Experience: In a California state adult correctional institution either:

  1. One year performing the duties of Correctional Program Supervisor III. or
  2. Two years performing the duties of a Correctional Program Supervisor II. and

Education: Equivalent to graduation from a recognized four-year college. (Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for not more than two years of the required education on a year-for-year basis.)



Experience: Two years of experience in collecting, evaluating, and interpreting social, behavioral, and vocational data for purposes of counseling and promoting individual adjustment. This experience must have been gained in one or a combination of the following fields: probation, parole or correctional casework.

(Completion of one year of graduate training in a recognized school in a field of social work, clinical psychology, criminology, or sociology, administration of justice, correctional science, criminal justice, psychology, or other related behavioral science field may be substituted for one year of the required experience.)


Education: Equivalent to graduation from a recognized four-year college. (Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for not more than two years of the required education on a year-for-year basis.)

(In appraising experience, more weight will be given to the breadth of pertinent experience and the evidence of the candidate's ability to accept and fulfill increasing responsibility than to the length of his/her experience.)


Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: Principles and procedures of inmate classification, assignment, and transfer in correctional institutions; principles and practices of counseling and guidance; causes of crime and delinquency; casework theory and practice and the principles of individual and group behavior; purposes, activities, regulations, and functions of the California Department of Corrections and the Board of Prison Terms; educational, psychological and vocational tests used in counseling and placement work and interpreting test results; principles and practices of vocational guidance and occupational placement; principles of verbal and written expression; correctional casework procedures; an understanding of the range of normal and abnormal human behavior; the policies and procedures of custody; methods used and problems involved in the supervision and adjustment of inmates; the various prison gangs, gang behavior, and the threat of gang action in an institutional setting; group processes and dynamics, including various roles played by group participants and different types of questions or modes of inquiry which can be used in group settings; training methods and planning and conducting in-service training programs.


Ability to: Apply the principles and practices of counseling and guidance; interpret test results; evaluate sociological, psychological, psychiatric, and vocational findings and make recommendations; coordinate the work of professional and technical employees in inmate guidance and classification work; secure accurate social data and record such data systematically; speak and write effectively; command the respect and trust of inmates and staff; organize and prioritize work; meet deadlines; deal tactfully/diplomatically with sensitive issues; evaluate situations accurately and take effective action; deal effectively with a high volume of work; work under pressure; respond effectively to emergency situations; work independently; control an interview with an inmate; interpret institutional/departmental policies, rules and regulations; adjust to changes in assignments; work with a team of people from a variety of occupations and professional disciplines; motivate an inmate toward specific goals; recognize and handle dangerous situations for inmates and staff.


Special Personal Characteristics

Capacity for assuming a progressively greater responsibility as evidenced by recent employment history; neat personal appearance; adaptability; emotional maturity and stability; tact; patience; willingness to work irregular hours; satisfactory record as a law abiding citizen; normal or corrected to normal hearing; sound physical condition; strength, endurance, and agility; willingness to report for duty at any time due to an emergency crisis.


Felony Disqualification

Existing law provides that persons convicted of a felony are disqualified from employment as peace officers. Such persons are not eligible to compete for, or be appointed to, positions in this class.


Training Requirement

Under the provisions of Penal Code Section 832, successful completion of a training course in laws of arrest, search and seizure, and in firearms and chemical agents is a requirement for permanent status in this class.


Background Investigation

Pursuant to Government Code Section 1031(d), all persons successful in this examination who are not peace officers with the Department of Corrections shall be required to undergo a thorough background investigation prior to appointment.


Citizenship Requirement

Pursuant to Government Code Section 1031(a), in order to be appointed to a peace officer position a person must be either a United States citizen or be a permanent resident alien who is eligible and has applied for United States citizenship at least one year prior to the final filing date for an examination. The one- year requirement does not apply to permanent resident aliens who have applied for employment prior to their 19th birthday.


Age Limitation

Minimum age for appointment: 21 years, pursuant to Government Code Section 1031(b).


Drug Testing Requirement

Applicants for positions in this class are required to pass a drug screening test. (The drug screening test will be waived for employees who are currently in a designated "Sensitive" class for which drug testing is required under State Personnel Board Rule 213.)

  Updated: 12/20/2018
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