On the Role of Correctional Officers in Prison Mental Health

On the Role of Correctional Officers in Prison Mental Health This article discusses the role of correctional line staff in treatment of prison inmates with serious mental illness. The authors assert that many roles and duties traditionally attributed to clinicians can and often should be performed not only by mental health professionals, but by line staff such as correctional officers and nurses. Moreover, the optimal climate for effective treatment is one in which mental health professionals and line staff work collaboratively, especially since line staff alone are in contact with inmates 24 hours per day. The specific activities which comprise mental health treatment in prison are described as: 1) counseling and psychotherapy—talking with inmates, 2) consultation—talking about inmates, 3) special housing, activities, and behavioral programs, and 4) medication. Case examples demonstrate how correctional officers, nurses, and other line staff perform each of these activities. Recognition and nurturance of these activities will improve the quality of services and reduce stress on staff and inmates alike. Consultation with line staff, joint training, and use of multidisciplinary treatment teams are advocated as methods of reaching these goals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychiatric Quarterly Springer Journals

On the Role of Correctional Officers in Prison Mental Health

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Human Sciences Press, Inc.
Subject
Medicine & Public Health; Psychiatry; Public Health; Sociology, general
ISSN
0033-2720
eISSN
1573-6709
D.O.I.
10.1023/B:PSAQ.0000007560.09475.a0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article discusses the role of correctional line staff in treatment of prison inmates with serious mental illness. The authors assert that many roles and duties traditionally attributed to clinicians can and often should be performed not only by mental health professionals, but by line staff such as correctional officers and nurses. Moreover, the optimal climate for effective treatment is one in which mental health professionals and line staff work collaboratively, especially since line staff alone are in contact with inmates 24 hours per day. The specific activities which comprise mental health treatment in prison are described as: 1) counseling and psychotherapy—talking with inmates, 2) consultation—talking about inmates, 3) special housing, activities, and behavioral programs, and 4) medication. Case examples demonstrate how correctional officers, nurses, and other line staff perform each of these activities. Recognition and nurturance of these activities will improve the quality of services and reduce stress on staff and inmates alike. Consultation with line staff, joint training, and use of multidisciplinary treatment teams are advocated as methods of reaching these goals.

Journal

Psychiatric QuarterlySpringer Journals

Published: Oct 2, 2004

References

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