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Mental Illness Training for Corrections Officers


You are a member of the training division in a maximum-security prison facility. There are about 8,000 inmates, and another 350 staff members, of which 220 are corrections officers. Because of the recent economic downturn, the number of prisoners incarcerated for property crimes, such as grand thefts and burglaries, has been on the rise. About 3,000 of the 8,000 inmates are violent offenders. Traditionally, the violent offenders establish a structure of control amongst the inmates, and often abuse the property crime offenders who are not used to violence. You have been tasked by the warden and the prison counsel, the mayor, and the city council to provide a method for dealing with an anticipated rise in violence as the demographic of the prison population puts more less experienced inmates in the facility. You must identify types of personnel who you would involve in the evaluation. There will be a number of inmates whose mental health will make them prone to violence and some who will be more likely to be victimized by that violence. An example that may be considered is not to put a minority in a cell block with large numbers of members of white supremacy gangs. Other issues might include identifying persons who have demonstrated leadership through force, and segregating them to prevent them from affecting the population's mood.

I need help answering in detail the following questions based on the above scenario:

Describe how corrections officers responding to an incident in the cell block might identify a potentially mentally ill inmate from one that is just acting out.
Explore the mental illness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Given the confines of the cell block, how you would best approach an inmate who is suffering from one of these three conditions?
Explain what you believe should be included in training corrections officers and staff to safely handle mentally ill inmates in a restricted environment (keep in mind: safety first, followed by reasonable empathy).
Be sure to cite references used

Solution Preview

You have an interesting assignment and I am glad to guide you.

Outline for your assignment on psychopathology case study:

1. Ways for corrections officers to identify potentially mentally ill inmates instead of malingering ones.
i) Observe for consistency of behavior - duration of the behaviors
ii) Severity of the behaviors- is it getting worse? How does it affect the individuals functioning in daily living? Do others notice the odd behavior? Do other call this person names like "she's crazy... the loopy one etc."
iii) What is the cluster of behaviors? Are there several, such as isolation, hallucination, self-harm? Incoherent phrases?
iv) Compare past history to the current ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses a case study discussing mental illness training for corrections officers