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What is Correctional About Clinical Practice in Corrections?

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2007 Pages: 7-21
Philip R. Magaletta; Marc W. Patry; Erik F. Dietz; Robert K. Ax
Date Published
January 2007
15 pages
A survey of psychologists practicing in Federal prisons solicited their opinions about the clinical and correctional knowledge that had been most relevant to their practice, with the aim of using this information to shape the continuing education/training for correctional mental health professionals.
The survey found that 9 of the 41 job functions were identified by respondents as core bodies of knowledge. The two core bodies of knowledge rated as most important were psychopathology and suicide prevention. Other areas of knowledge considered important in the safe and orderly operation of the institution were confrontation avoidance and how to promote the safety of inmates and staff through the institution's procedures and environment. Knowledge and training related to interdepartmental communications/relationships were also considered important by respondents. Over the course of the educational continuum from graduate school to continuing education at the postdoctoral level, most of the respondents had some exposure to each of the core bodies of knowledge mentioned. Regardless of the core knowledge content, on-the-job training was the most frequently endorsed training mode. Seventy-five percent of the respondents favored graduate school exposure in the areas of psychopathology, suicide prevention, ethical issues, medical/psychopharmacology, and clinical psychopathy. An expert consensus method was used to develop survey items for the Federal Bureau of Prisons Training Analysis of Psychology Services and Staff Positions Survey (July 2002). Forty-one job functions were included; and two measurement structures, training and descriptive, were developed for each job function. Respondents were asked to provide information on these structures as they related to their current positions. A total of 595 surveys were distributed in packets to the chief psychologists of 99 Federal correctional institutions. A total of 177 completes surveys were received. 4 tables and 29 references