Occ. Code 5908100









New York State Department of Civil Service

Classification Standard


            Recreation Program Leaders plan and coordinate organized discretionary time activities for inmates in a facility of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).  Incumbents develop, implement, and direct a comprehensive recreational program of athletic and non-athletic activities, and related activities, under the banner of Special Subjects Programs.


            These positions are classified at DOCCS.  All DOCCS employees assist in the total care and confinement of inmates sentenced to the custody of the Department and, as such, perform various duties and functions in conjunction with the overall operation of a facility and/or location to which they are assigned.




          RECREATION PROGRAM LEADER 1: entry level; plans and coordinates activities in correctional facilities with fewer than 300 inmates; or works under the supervision of a Recreation Program Leader 2 at facilities with inmate populations of 300 or more to implement Special Subjects Programs as designated by DOCCS.


          RECREATION PROGRAM LEADER 2: advanced performance level/first supervisory level; solely responsible for coordinating Special Subjects Programs in correctional facilities with 300 to 499 inmates; or training, scheduling, and coordinating the activities of subordinate staff who implement Special Subjects Programs in facilities with an inmate population of 500 or greater.


          RECREATION PROGRAM LEADER 3: coordinates, on a regional basis, DOCCS Main Office assignments with the Deputy Superintendent of Programs (DSP) of each designated facility within their assigned region; serves as the regional contact person for issues regarding the Special Subjects Programs; performs some of the duties of a Recreation Program Leader 2, at the facilities at which the incumbent physically is located.





          Recreation Therapists are responsible for planning and conducting activities for client/patient groups, working individually or as a member of a treatment team or treatment program; analyzing and reporting behavioral patterns to a team leader or other supervisor, verbally or in medical records; and participating in team meetings, recreation/leisure assessment and evaluation.


          Senior Recreation Therapists are responsible for designing, developing, implementing, and delivering recreational therapy services to effect the physical, mental and/or social well-being of patients/consumers residing and/or receiving treatment at state-operated facilities, clinics, community residences, and/or other state-operated programs. Incumbents are responsible for the organization and direction of one or more therapeutic recreation programs and may also supervise lower level Recreation Therapists and other staff.


          Chief and Head Recreation Therapists are top level professionals in the Recreation Therapy title series. Incumbents plan, develop, implement, direct, and evaluate all recreation therapy programs. They are responsible for recreational therapy goal setting, policy development, resource acquisition and utilization.


          Positions in the Recreation Specialist series primarily are classified at the Office of Mental Health and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.


          Youth Recreation Specialists 1, 2, and 3, plan, supervise, and coordinate youth recreation activities in facilities for court-placed youth.  Incumbents serve as the head recreation professional in these facilities; ensure that facilities fulfill the New York State Education Departments (NYSEDs) physical education requirements; and are responsible for the development and direction of the recreation program budget.  The levels are distinguished by the number of beds in the facility at issue, by staffing requirements, and by supervisory responsibilities.  Positions are classified at the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).     





Organize, coordinate, and execute all facility intramural programs, tournaments, and special athletic events, or is responsible for such.

·       Actively solicit and recruit participants, through various publicity methods.

·       Coordinate facility-wide publicity.

·       Coordinate all internal facility arrangements.

·       Determine the rules, regulations, procedures, and awards to be granted for these events, being mindful of budgetary constraints.

·       Supervise the drafting, trading, and contracting of players by the various teams.

·       Distribute and maintain all recreation equipment necessary.

·       Monitor events to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.

·       Assume responsibility for the organization and coordination of various athletic teams.

·       Conduct tryouts.

·       Personally coach and supervise the activities of inmate personnel who assist in coaching.

·       Solicit the participation of outside community competition against facilities teams.

·       Supervise the activities of the teams during actual competition.

·       Prepare reports to facilitate news releases and reports on the progress of the facilitys teams.

·       Determine the rules and regulations that will pertain to all teams and events.

·       Prepare necessary intra-facility movement permission slips for inmates participating in the competitions.

·       Make all necessary arrangements for all visiting teams (such as the proper volunteer forms and intra-facility inmate permission forms).

·       Provide instruction in sports officiating to involved inmates.


In conjunction with other appropriate staff, assume responsibility for the maintenance of all sports facilities and equipment.


·       Maintain records of use of the sports facilities.

·       Monitor the preparation of all fields with the appropriate lines and markings for sporting events.

·       Notify appropriate staff of the need for maintenance of the facilitys sports facilities.

·       Issue, maintain, and maintain proper records of all equipment used in the facilitys recreation program, including recommending repair or replacement when appropriate; maintaining sanitation; and performing checks to ensure the integrity of items upon their return.

·       Maintain contact with nearby facilities in order to arrange exchange of equipment when possible.


Supervise inmate staff assigned to the Special Subjects Programs, performing the range of supervisory duties.


Supervise all non-athletic recreation and other Special Subjects Programs activities available at the facility.


·       Issue and maintain all equipment necessary for non-athletic activities (for example, game pieces or playing cards).

·       Provide instruction for inmates to enable them to participate in the non-athletic recreation program. 

·       Maintain records of all equipment and control its issuance.


Coordinate the activities and programs of the facility entertainment committee.


In conjunction with supervisory staff, meet with sales personnel representing the various entertainment product distribution firms or retail outlets.


Solicit recommendations regarding movies to be shown to the facility inmate population from the Inmate Liaison Committee.


Contact various firms to determine which films are available for presentation in the facility and in what format or means.


Work with the Inmate Liaison Committee to determine which radio and television programs will be available to the inmate population.


Ensure that movies requested by inmates are approved for inmate viewing.


Prepare and submit a monthly report on all activities supervised, as well as periodic reports as required by the supervisor.


Handle other assignments as directed by supervisory personnel.  Some examples of possible other assignments are as follows.


·       Assist with inmate disciplinary hearings.

·       Act as staff advisor to an inmate organization.

·       Act as liaison for the Volunteer Services Program.

·       Supervise a handicraft and/or hobby shop.

·       Supervise a music program.


In conjunction with supervisory personnel, is responsible for the supervision and/or coordination of special events.


·       Assist in determining the special events calendar for the year.

·       Assist with the preparation for every special event.

·       Supervise the inmate committee when setting up the special event.

·       Authorize and supervise the movement of equipment and supplies to and from the special event area as well as the clean-up of the area.

·       Monitor special events activity in conjunction with security personnel.

·       Act as liaison for outside speakers and guests invited to special events.




Plan, implement, supervise, and evaluate programs in the various Special Subjects Programs as defined by DOCCS.


·       Supervise the scheduling of Special Subjects Programs events and activities.

·       Assign recreation program staff as appropriate.

·       Write justifications for staffing and programs.

·       Coordinate Special Subjects Programs with other programs.

·       Make appropriate arrangements for Special Subject Programs, including working with appropriate officials for space, accommodations, and proper security needs.

·       May participate in discussions and decision making with facility committees which determine facility rules, disciplinary procedures for inmates, and programs or procedures.

·       Review for appropriateness, and approve or deny, program plans, special projects requests, or the like, developed by program staff (including Recreation Program Leaders 1).  Make determinations based upon program goals, program requirements, and individual inmate needs.

·       Establish and maintain contact with appropriate organizations.

·       Act as Chairperson for the Special Events Committee.

·       Analyze and recommend ways in which staff may improve inmate participation in recreational programs.

·       Schedule the use, maintenance and servicing of equipment needed by the Special Subjects staff.

·       Plan the building and maintenance of recreational facilities needed by the Special Subjects staff with maintenance and vocational staff.

·       Assist subordinate staff in developing program plans in their areas.

·       Promote personal professional development among the subordinate staff.

·       Plan and schedule day and evening programs, for every day of the week, that address the needs of the entire inmate population.

·       Supervise and coordinate all band activities within the facility.


Assume responsibility for facility program direction.

·       Prepare reports for the facility and Main Office officials regarding participation in and the status of Special Subjects programs.

·       Prepare and submit reports on unusual incidents to appropriate facility and Main Office staff.


Supervise, and participate in the hiring, training, and evaluation of, recreation program personnel, including Recreation Program Leaders 1.


·       When supervising Recreation Program Leaders 1, or other staff, perform the full range of supervisory duties.

·       Interview applicants for Recreation Program Leader 1 positions and make recommendations.

·       Orient new staff.

·       Assign experienced Recreation Program Leaders 1 to assist new Recreation Program Leaders 1.

·       Observe and evaluate instruction methods, formally and informally, to identify possible deficiencies.

·       Author or otherwise prepare written evaluation reports for each periodic and annual evaluation performed, including articulating findings and making recommendations related to needed training, and suitability for retention or promotion.

·       Discuss evaluations with staff, suggest alternatives and/or provide training in areas of weakness, when necessary.

·       Conduct periodic staff meetings to provide training and to discuss specific program issues and plans for improvement.

·       Recommend and approve, if appropriate, courses or other programs for purposes of staff development.

·       Communicate regularly with staff through memoranda, discussions, and meetings.


Assume responsibilities in the areas of budgeting, purchasing, and inventory control within the program area.


·       Prepare budget estimates and justifications for program area, using appropriate Departmental guidelines/forms and submit these to the appropriate facility program administrator and the Central Office Special Subjects Coordinator.

·       Review and approve or deny staff requests for materials, supplies, and equipment.

·       Implement approved budget requests through purchase order.

·       Participate in meetings with DOCCS Main Office budget staff.

·       Devise and implement economical purchasing practices.

·       Ensure that incoming inventories meet program and purchasing specifications.

·       Maintain ongoing inventory of Special Subjects supplies and equipment, noting equipment which is obsolete and recommending repairs.

·       Directly provide services to inmates, as needed, and perform various related functions. Interview new inmates in order to gather background information to determine their needs and preferences.

·       Review the inmates past records, accomplishments, and special needs in order to determine appropriate placement.

·       Discuss reports with inmates in order to obtain comments.

·       Prepare reports on dropouts and dismissals for the Program Committee.

·       Counsel inmates with behavior problems and offer general counseling to inmates who request such.

·       Distribute certificates and awards.

·       Supervises core of inmates for recreation program.

·       Record and process inmate payroll for inmates working in the recreation area.

·       Advise inmate organizations in program areas.

·       Serve as liaison to facility executive staff for planning and execution of special events.


Perform some of the same duties as a Recreation Program Leader 1, but at larger facilities and at higher levels of responsibility. 




Under the direction of the Special Subjects Coordinator at DOCCS Main Office, serve as a regional coordinator of DOCCS Special Subjects Programs.

On a regional basis, align Special Subjects programs activities within the assigned regional group of facilities (known as a HUB) with the priorities and methods proscribed by DOCCS Main Office.


·       Provide guidance to each assigned facility, within the assigned HUB region, regarding all Special Subjects Programs.

·       Conduct Quarterly site visits at all facilities in the HUB region as assigned by the Special Subjects Coordinator, reviewing all Special Subjects Programs activities, and related activities, within those facilities, as assigned.

·       Submit reports to the Special Subjects Coordinator for each facility site visit.

·       Attend the Annual Regional Special Subjects Training conducted by the Special Subjects Coordinator.

·       Conduct Annual Regional Training for all regional recreation personnel, under the direction of the Special Subjects Coordinator.

·       Assist in the interviewing of candidates for Recreation Program Leader positions, and make recommendations.

·       Provide training, orientation, and technical and other forms of assistance to all staff and programs within DOCCS Special Subjects Programs, as defined by DOCCS, within the assigned region.

·       Inform all recreation staff at each facility within the assigned region of DOCCS Special Subjects policy changes and all relevant information.

·       Review staff requests for materials, supplies, and equipment purchases for the Special Subjects Programs in each facility within the region, and submit recommendations to the Special Subjects Coordinator for review.

·       Coordinate with Regional Volunteer Services Coordinators for the scheduling and approval of community athletic teams for facilities within the assigned region.

·       Inform the Special Subjects Coordinator of pertinent facility issues within the assigned region.


Perform duties associated with a Recreation Program Leader 2, at the facility within which the incumbent physically is located.  In that capacity, work under the supervision of a Deputy Superintendent for Program Services.






Open Competitive:  an associates degree in the field of physical education, recreation, recreational therapy, or a closely related recreational field, and two years of experience as described above; or a bachelors degree in the field of physical education, recreation, or recreational therapy; or a bachelors degree and two years of experience in the direction of a scheduled, organized recreational program.



Promotion: one year of permanent competitive service as a Recreation Program Leader 1.



Promotion: two years of permanent competitive service as a Recreation Program Leader 2.


Revised:  8/16




NOTE: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent, and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe.  Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class.  The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written.  Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.