Because inmates’ actions are restricted by incarceration, Tarasoff duties in prisons have certain unique aspects. There are two broad situations: (1) when the potential victim is located within the prison community; and (2) when the potential victim is located outside of prison. Although responsibilities vary widely from state to state, this paper discusses general principles of exercising Tarasoff duties in prison settings. In addition to duties to protect potential victims, correctional mental-health professionals have an ethical duty to protect patient confidentiality. Professionals should chose Tarasoff options that protect confidentiality to the fullest extent possible, and prisoners should be informed of situations where confidentiality does not exist. A caveat is that no Tarasoff statutes can be relied upon to offer tort protection to correctional clinicians until they have been tested in appellate courts.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 23, 2010
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