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.




          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 Department’s 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).     






Organizes, coordinates, and executes all facility intramural programs, tournaments, and special athletic events, or is responsible for such.


·       Actively solicits and recruits participants, through various publicity methods.


·       Coordinates facility-wide publicity.


·       Coordinates all internal facility arrangements.


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


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


·       Distributes and maintains all recreation equipment necessary.


·       Monitors events to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.


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


·       Conducts tryouts.


·       Personally coaches and supervises the activities of inmate personnel who assist in coaching.


·       Solicits the participation of outside community competition against facilities’ teams.


·       Supervises the activities of the teams during actual competition.


·       Prepares reports to facilitate news releases and reports on the progress of the facility’s teams.


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


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


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


·       Provides instruction in sports officiating to involved inmates.


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


·       Maintains records of use of the sports facilities.


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


·       Notifies appropriate staff of the need for maintenance of the facility’s sports facilities.


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


·       Maintains contact with nearby facilities to arrange exchange of equipment when possible.


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


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


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


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


·       Maintains records of all equipment and control its issuance.


Coordinates the activities and programs of the facility entertainment committee.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


·       Assists with inmate disciplinary hearings.


·       Acts as staff advisor to an inmate organization.


·       Acts as liaison for the Volunteer Services Program.


·       Supervises a handicraft and/or hobby shop.


·       Supervises a music program.


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


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


·       Assists with the preparation for every special event.


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


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


·       Monitors special events activity in conjunction with security personnel.


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




Plans, implements, supervises, and evaluates programs in the various Special Subjects Programs as defined by DOCCS.


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


·       Assigns recreation program staff as appropriate.


·       Writes justifications for staffing and programs.


·       Coordinates Special Subjects Programs with other programs.


·       Makes 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.


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


·       Establishes and maintains contact with appropriate organizations.


·       Acts as Chairperson for the Special Events Committee.


·       Analyzes and recommends ways in which staff may improve inmate participation in recreational programs.


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


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


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


·       Promotes personal professional development among the subordinate staff.


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


·       Supervises and coordinates all band activities within the facility.


Assumes responsibility for facility program direction.


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


·       Prepares and submits reports on unusual incidents to appropriate facility and Main Office staff.


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


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


·       Interviews applicants for Recreation Program Leader 1 positions and makes recommendations.


·       Orients new staff.


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


·       Observes and evaluates instruction methods, formally and informally, to identify possible deficiencies.


·       Authors or otherwise prepares 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.


·       Discusses evaluations with staff, suggests alternatives and/or provides training in areas of weakness, when necessary.


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


·       Recommends and approves, if appropriate, courses or other programs for purposes of staff development.


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


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


·       Prepares 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.


·       Reviews and approves or denies staff requests for materials, supplies, and equipment.


·       Implements approved budget requests through purchase order.


·       Participates in meetings with DOCCS Main Office budget staff.


·       Devises and implements economical purchasing practices.


·       Ensures that incoming inventories meet program and purchasing specifications.


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


·       Directly provides services to inmates, as needed, and performs various related functions. Interviews new inmates to gather background information to determine their needs and preferences.


·       Reviews the inmates’ past records, accomplishments, and special needs to determine appropriate placement.


·       Discusses reports with inmates to obtain comments.


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


·       Counsels inmates with behavior problems and offers general counseling to inmates who request such.


·       Distributes certificates and awards.


·       Supervises core of inmates for recreation program.


·       Records and processes inmate payroll for inmates working in the recreation area.


·       Advises inmate organizations in program areas.


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


Performs 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, serves as a regional coordinator of DOCCS Special Subjects Programs.


On a regional basis, aligns 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.


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


·       Conducts 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.


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


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


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


·       Assists in the interviewing of candidates for Recreation Program Leader positions, and makes recommendations.


·       Provides 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.


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


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


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


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


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






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




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




Promotion: one year of permanent competitive service as a Recreation Program Leader 2.


Rev: 7/18


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.