Supervising People with Mental Illness in Correctional Facilities

Supervising People with Mental Illness in Correctional Facilities 

Correctional professionals are responsible for working directly with offenders, some of whom have mental health issues. Although working with all offenders can be difficult at times, working with inmates/detainees who have been diagnosed with or suspected to have a mental illness can bring additional challenges. These inmates have special needs, and their behavior can disrupt normal operations and require intervention from both correctional officers and treatment staff. Being able to effectively respond to situations that involve offenders with mental health issues will better enable correctional professionals to maintain the safety and security of the facility or unit in which they are working. This course is designed for correctional staff who work in jails and prisons, particularly correctional officers. It will also be beneficial to staff working in community confinement settings. You will learn about some of the environmental factors in prisons, jails, and other confinement settings that can have an impact on persons with mental illness. You also will review some of the common signs of mental illness. Finally, you will learn some strategies you can use when supervising persons with mental illness to help them access the treatment and resources they need and enhance their safety, as well as your and the facility’s safety. Throughout this course, you will read some brief reviews of literature, review various scenarios that are based on true stories and events, and complete interactive exercises.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (3 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 2.00 hours. CJA Lesson Plan #6121

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 2.00 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-SPMICF
Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 9/30/2023
Learning Objectives:
Define mental illness.
Identify the 11 common signs of mental illness.
List 6 sources of information correctional staff can use when identifying signs of potential mental illness.
List 9 factors in the correctional environment that can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of mental illness.
Name 3 general guidelines for interacting with individuals you suspect have or who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
Distinguish when a referral for mental health services may be appropriate.

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives Section 2: Overview of Mental Illness A. What Is Mental Illness? B. Mental Illness in Corrections C. Meet Detainee Kiley D. Summary Section 3: Overview of Common Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness A. Be Aware of the Signs and Symptoms B. Hallucinations C. Delusions D. Mania E. Depression/Depressed Mood F. Disorganized Thinking G. Paranoia H. Motor Disturbances I. Negative Symptoms J. Sleep Disruption K. Communication about Self-Harm/Suicide L. Symptoms of Mental Illness Vary M. Review N. Sources of Information O. Additional Techniques for Gathering Information P. Summary Section 4: Supervising and Managing Inmates with Mental Illness A. Is it Manipulation? B. Let the Appropriate Authorities Decide C. Jeffrey’s Story D. Response and Referral E. Inmate Ron F. Documentation G. Exercise: Should They Be Referred? H. Influence of the Correctional Environment on Inmates with Mental Disorders I. Factors that Can Trigger or Exacerbate Symptoms of Mental Illness J. Guidelines for Interacting with an Offender Who has a Mental Illness K. Build Rapport L. Be Professional M. Maintain Open Communication N. Responding to Behaviors: Rule Violations O. Responding to Behaviors: Serious Incidents P. Exercise: Supervision and Inmates with Mental Illness Q. Review R. Summary Section 5: Conclusion A. Summary B. Course Contributor C. Resource D. References E. Exam F. BrainSparks

Instructor: Malinda Lamb
Malinda Lamb received her PhD in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2005, with the emphasis in mental health. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), a Certified Criminal Justice Professional (CCJP), an International Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (IAADC) and a Sex Offender Treatment Professional (SOTPI). She has worked in a variety of settings in the Midwest including a forensic psychiatric hospital, county jail and community based corrections judicial district. She has provided direct clinical care and treatment to individuals with mental health, substance use and/or sexually based offenses, however she is now in more of an administrative/oversight capacity. Disclosure: Malinda Lamb 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: Correctional Officers; in the following settings: Adult Corrections.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
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All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
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