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Computer-Based Programs: Pennsylvania's Cost-Effective Approach to Staff Training

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Magazine Volume: 67 Issue: 7 Dated: December 2005 Pages: 64-66
Jill C. Fluck
Date Published
December 2005
3 pages
This article describes the development and use of computer-based training by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC).
The Pennsylvania DOC’s use of the Simulated Prison Environment Crisis Aversion Tool (SPECAT) has streamlined officer training and saved human and budgetary resources. SPECAT offers a computer-based simulated training environment that uses a series of video clips depicting prison scenarios followed by a series of questions related to those scenes. Audio and video quality is described as excellent and all that is needed is a computer. Pennsylvania DOC has also been in the process of converting its training requirements into computer-based training modules covering 18 different areas, such as bomb threat and mail handling. The process of converting training lessons into computer-based training modules is described and program implementation details are explored, such as the purchase of software capable of handling the training modules and the training of three staff members to oversee the computer-based training program. The ease of use offered by computer-based training modules is underscored and the benefits of using technology to more efficiently meet goals are extolled. The Pennsylvania DOC plans to continue expanding its computer-based training capability.