How does the CSNSW Psychology Service work?

    All CSNSW 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 CSNSW, 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.

    Local Services

    Psychologists employed by CSNSW 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 CSNSW 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. Community Corrections officers can also refer people to a CSNSW 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 CSNSW 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, Community Corrections  Officers, Overseers and other Offender Services and Programs staff.

    Statewide Services

    The other half of all Psychologists and Senior Psychologists work exclusively in one of the statewide areas of:

    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.

    Governance

    All policies, procedures and practices for psychologists within CSNSW 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 CSNSW.

    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 CSNSW are determined by the Psychological Clinical Governance Team, made up of:

    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.

    University Partnerships

    CSNSW 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 CSNSW psychologists and other staff to develop an extensive understanding of the role of psychology in CSNSW. 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.