Co-Occurring Disorders: An Overview for Corrections Professionals


Co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders are prevalent in correctional populations in the United States. The co-occurrence of these disorders presents special challenges to treatment providers who must consider both disorders in motivating consumers for treatment, providing effective treatment, and planning appropriately for relapse prevention. Failing to address both types of disorders can lead to a number of negative outcomes for consumers and may contribute to the risk of recidivism and re-incarceration. The information provided in this course can help you avoid these negative outcomes by increasing your ability to motivate consumers with co-occurring disorders for treatment. You will also learn about the most effective methods for treating co-occurring disorders. Finally, you will learn how to engage in effective relapse prevention planning that addresses both disorders. This course, which includes interactive exercises and detailed case studies to enhance your learning, is appropriate for treatment professionals working in correctional facilities. The information presented in this course should increase your ability to address the challenge of co-occurring disorders among criminal justice consumers.


Hours: 1.50 - 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 2.00 contact hours.

South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy


This course has been approved by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy for 1.50 hours. CJA Lesson Plan #5707

Course Details

Course Code: EL-COD-CORR-0
Hours: 1.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 8/31/2018
Learning Objectives:
Explain the use of motivational interviewing techniques with consumers with co-occurring disorders.
Describe effective treatment approaches for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.
Identify strategies for successful relapse prevention planning for both types of co-occurring disorders.

Section 1: Introduction A. Course Contributor B. About this Course C. Learning Objectives Section 2: Overview of Co-Occurring Disorders A. Meet James B. Co-Occurring Disorders (COD) C. Severe Mental Illness D. Substance Related Disorders E. Prevalence of COD among Offenders F. Problems Caused by COD in a Correctional Environment G. What These Percentages Mean to Your Facility H. Which Disorder Precedes the Other? I. Interactive Effects of COD J. Risks for Offenders with COD K. Section Summary Section 3: Motivation for Treatment A. General Barriers to Treatment B. Criminal Justice Barriers to Treatment C. Motivational Interviewing D. Principles of Motivational Interviewing E. Meet Beth F. Section Summary Section 4: Treatment A. Unique Treatment Needs B. Treatment Methods C. Integrated Treatment D. Meet Juan E. Section Summary Section 5: Relapse Prevention A. Relapse Prevention Planning B. Obstacles to Effective Relapse Prevention Section 6: Conclusion A. Summary B. References

Instructor: Kathryn Lawson, Ph.D.
Kathryn Lawson, Ph.D. has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Lawson currently runs a treatment program for inmates with severe mental illness at an adult prison, and has over eleven years of experience in correctional mental health care. As an adjunct faculty member, she taught undergraduate psychology to a diverse group of nontraditional students. She was active in developing in-person trainings for a variety of audiences before she expanded her training experiences to the e-learning environment. Disclosure: Kathryn Lawson, Ph.D. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry level General Staff; in the following settings: Adult Corrections, Juvenile Corrections.
Relias Learning will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
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Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous Distance Learning with interactivity which includes quizzes with questions/answers, and posttests.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Learning Customer Support by calling (800) 381-2321 or emailing