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Correctional Counselor III (9902)

Correctional Counselor III

California State Personnel Board Specification

  • Schematic Code: XS20
  • Class Code: 9902
  • Established: 06/18/1955
  • Revised: 05/08/1990
  • Title Changed: 02/01/1958


Under general direction, either: (1) to be responsible for the inmate classification program, including supervision of a records office and the liaison functions between the institution and the Board of Prison Terms, or an intensive treatment program in an institution; or (2) on a rotational basis, perform specialized and highly responsible assignments as a staff member of the departmental headquarters classification unit; 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 are usually assigned either to a reception center, to a State correctional facility, or to the headquarters classification unit. 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 II (Specialist) or (Supervisor) are given specialized program assignments and may assume, on a regular or temporary basis, supervisory responsibility for classification and the development or modification of inmate programs.

Typical Tasks

In an institution, plans, organizes and directs the inmate classification or an intensive treatment program in a State adult correctional facility; effects staff's adherence to departmental classification and treatment policies, procedures and goals for the program and integrates classification activities of other programs of the institutions; supervises the professional staff of a records office; secures and trains staff, evaluates staff performance and recommends appropriate action; participates in administrative staff conferences; interprets the classification program to other departmental personnel, agencies, and the public; supervises the preparation of calendars for the Board of Prison Terms and serves as a member of the classification and disciplinary committees; supervises the official recording of the Board of Prison Terms; represents the Department of Corrections in court as an expert witness; coordinates the work of the Department of Corrections with that of the law enforcement agencies and interested public and private agencies; appraises status of programs in terms of departmental objectives and priorities and makes suggestions for improvements in administration and in services rendered; maintains standards of staff performance and ensures that work assignments are carried out as planned and scheduled; performs peace officer duties which include maintaining order and supervising the conduct of inmates, protecting and maintaining the safety of persons and property, 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.


In headquarters, reviews and audits classification and treatment activities in institutions to ensure conformity with policy and makes surveys to determine the effectiveness of treatment programs; effects institutional staff's adherence to departmental classification and treatment policies; authorizes or denies proposed institutional transfers; authorizes or takes exception to such actions as proposed by the reception centers and the classification committee within the institutions; observes and comments upon the application of policies, and the adequacy and effectiveness of case material; discusses current policies and practices with institutional personnel; approves or denies transfers of inmates to meet institutional needs for skilled work crews; interprets the classification program to other departmental personnel, agencies, and the public; provides training to institutional staff and other agencies (Board of Prison Terms and Attorney General's Office); maintains the departmental Classification Manual; represents the Department of Corrections in court as an expert witness; coordinates the work of the Department of Corrections with that of the law enforcement agencies and interested public and private agencies; appraises status of programs in terms of departmental objectives and priorities and makes suggestions for improvements in administration and in services rendered; analyzes escape statistics and makes special studies as assigned. Staff specialist positions are non- supervisory and are filled on a rotational basis. Such assignments are less than two years, and incumbents are expected to rotate to supervisory positions at the end of the assignment.

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 II (Supervisor) or (Specialist).



Experience: Two years of experience, which includes one year in a supervisory capacity 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 non-supervisory experience.) and


Education: Equivalent to graduation from a recognized four-year college. (Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for 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 responsibilities than to the length of his/her experience.)

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: Prison administration; principles and practices of personnel management and effective supervision; principles, practices and techniques used in the administration of inmate classification programs in correctional institutions and skill in their application; purposes, activities, regulations and functions of the California Department of Corrections and the Board of Prison Terms; principles of verbal and written expression; correctional casework procedures; an understanding of the range of normal and abnorma1 human behavior; the policies and procedures of custody; 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; criminology and behavior and attitude of inmates and evaluating sociological, psychological, psychiatric and vocational findings and recommendations; training methods; planning and conducting in service training programs; Department's Affirmative Action Program objectives; manager's role in the Affirmative Action Program and the processes available to meet affirmative action objectives; and the labor-management relationship under the collective bargaining law.


Ability to: Plan, organize and direct the work of others; evaluate sociological, psychological, psychiatric and vocational findings and recommendations; coordinate the work of professional and technical employees in inmate guidance and classification work; analyze problems arising out of the supervision of classification programs and reach practical and logical conclusions; put into practice effective changes; plan and conduct in-service training programs; effectively control and coordinate programs and meet scheduled work requirements; estimate and budget the amount of time and approximate cost required to complete assignments; 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; and effectively contribute to the Department's affirmative action objectives.

Special Personal Characteristics

Demonstrated supervisory ability; capacity for assuming 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.

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.)

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.

Citizen 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).

  Updated: 6/3/2012
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