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Handbook for Correctional Psychologists: Guidance for the Prison Practitioner

NCJ Number
Kevin M. Correia Ph.D.
Date Published
189 pages
This text provides an overview of empirical findings and practices of correctional psychology.
With the growth in the correctional population have come increases in the population of psychologists dedicated to this specialty area, resulting in a 45 percent increase in the space of 3 years. The basic principles of correctional psychology for the psychologist-practitioner working within a correctional setting are maintaining institutional security and safety for those within, and true rehabilitation of prison inmates. The psychologist’s role within the correctional institutional setting is to provide for the mental health needs of the institution. This can include management consultation, suicide and sexual assault prevention, ensuring the humane treatment of inmates, crisis interventions, and drug treatment. The differences in working with inmates and correctional staff from populations more commonly encountered by those working in the field of psychology are the need to develop healthy skepticism, dealing with inmate manipulativeness, serving a diverse population, and relating to physically threatening inmates. Assessing the effectiveness of treatment programs provided to prison inmates is made difficult by the great variability in quality of these efforts. Studies of correctional treatment and their effects on inmate recidivism found that correctional treatment efforts were most effective when matched according to the risk level and treatment needs of the offender. Topics covered include trends in correctional psychology, unique aspects of the correctional work environment, the many roles and opportunities of the correctional psychologist, establishing successful relationships with correctional staff and inmates, and assessing malingering through the use of interviewing or psychometric evaluation. References