Supervising Offenders: Verbal Communication Skills

Supervising Offenders: Verbal Communication Skills 

Verbal communication skills are some of the most valuable tools a correctional officer can possess to effectively manage inmates/detainees. This course will provide officers working in adult correctional facilities with information on using effective verbal communication skills in a variety of correctional situations. 

Facilities vary in the type of verbal communication skills they endorse or train their officers to use. Some facilities use verbal judo tactics while others promote skills that align with motivational interviewing. This course is not advocating one skill type over another, but rather provides general information that pulls from a variety of different communication styles.


Hours: 1.50


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

California Board of State and Community Corrections


This activity is approved for 1.50 STC credit hours.

American Jail Association Certification


This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-SOVC-V2
Hours: 1.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 4/30/2024
Learning Objectives:
Identify 6 reasons why effective verbal communication skills are important in a correctional setting.
List 5 strategies for giving directives to inmates/detainees.
Explain 4 steps for obtaining information from inmates/detainees.
Discuss 8 strategies for mediating and resolving conflict among inmates/detainees.
Explain 4 questions to consider when handling requests from inmates/detainees.


Section 1: Introduction

A.    About This Course

B.    Learning Objectives

Section 2: Verbal Communication Skills with Inmates/detainees

A.    Reasons Why Verbal Communication Skills Are Important in Correctional Setting

B.    Giving Directives

C.    Obtaining Information

D.    Mediating and Resolving Conflict

E.    Encourage and Motivate

F.    Review

G.    Summary

Section 3: Handling Requests

A.    Requests

B.    Officer Colton

C.    Officer Requests to Inmates/Detainees

D.    Knowledge Check

E.    Responding to Requests from Inmates/Detainees

F.    Questions to Consider When Handling Inmate/Detainee Requests

G.    3 Ways to Respond to Inmate/Detainee Requests

H.    Review

I.    Summary

Section 4: Conclusion

A.    Course Contributors

B.    Resources

C.    References

D.    Congratulations!

E.    Exam

F.    Brain Sparks

Instructor: Diane Geiman
Ms. Geiman is ACA’s Online Training Administrator. She also serves as the Academy’s instructional curriculum developer. Ms. Geiman has more than 20 years of experience in developing training programs for criminal justice professionals, including lesson plans, multimedia training programs, and print and online courses. She has received numerous awards for both print curricula and comprehensive video programs on topics such as criminal and juvenile justice, medical and mental health, supervision, management, and law. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. Disclosure: Diane Geiman has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Jon Galley
Mr. Galley began his career with the Maryland Division of Correction (MDOC) in 1967 as a Correctional Teacher at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC). In 1972, he became the Assistant Warden, and in 1979, he was promoted as Warden of MCTC. In 1981, he became Commissioner of the Maryland Division of Correction. In 1984, he returned to the field as Warden of Roxbury Correctional Institution until 1993 when he resigned to become Warden at the Montgomery County Detention Center. He later served as Chief of Security at the Frederick County Detention Center. In 1999, Mr. Galley returned to the Maryland Division of Correction to accept the position as Warden of Western Correctional Institution. Under his leadership, the Western Correctional Institution became the first Maryland institution to achieve accreditation by the American Correctional Association. He became the Assistant Commissioner of the former West Region in 2007 and the Regional Executive Director of the North Region of the newly reorganized Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in 2011. He is responsible for the oversight of six (6) major institutions and Community Supervision offices in eight (8) counties. Mr. Galley serves as an auditor for the accreditation program of the American Correctional Association and has done consulting work for the U.S. State Department. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University and graduate degrees from Shippensburg State University and Southern Illinois University. Disclosure: Jon Galley has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Joe Martin
Joe Martin is a career employee for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Joe started his career as an officer in 1998. Joe was promoted to Sergeant in 2002 and to Lieutenant in 2005. Joe worked and supervised most security positions within a male and female facility while in security that include: Internal Affairs supervisor, Special Management Unit Supervisor, Shift Supervisor, Visitation Supervisor, Adjustment Committee, and Grievance Chairman. In 2012 Joe was again promoted to the Accreditation Manager. In 2013 Joe was promoted to Central Office and started in the PREA Executive department. In 2014 Joe gained his DOJ PREA auditor certification where he served as chair for many PREA Audits in Missouri and Kansas while the KY DOC was part of a consortium with several other states. During his career, he has also served as the Hostage Negotiation Team Leader and active member of the team. Joe’s accomplishments include Commissioner’s and Achievement awards for the department. Disclosure: Joe Martin has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Kimberly Cobb, MS
Mrs. Cobb is a Lead SME Writer/Trainer at Relias. Her primary writing responsibilities are in the Health and Human Services vertical, in the content areas of public safety and behavioral health. Mrs. Cobb is also the onboarding trainer for new Relias staff joining the Content Department. Mrs. Cobb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. She has over 24 years of experience working in criminal and juvenile justice. Her work includes direct service, research, and training and technical assistance. She was the statewide evaluator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky for adult, juvenile, and family drug courts; a Research Associate for the American Probation & Parole Association providing training and technical assistance to Native American Nations/Alaska Native Villages on systemic criminal and juvenile justice initiatives; and a Research Administrator for the University of Kentucky. Disclosure: Kimberly Cobb, MS 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.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
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.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.