Supervising Inmates: Nonverbal Communication Skills

Supervising Inmates: Nonverbal Communication Skills 

Human beings communicate just as much non-verbally as we do verbally. In a correctional setting, non-verbal communication can provide vital information to officers from detainees/inmates and vice versa. Correctional officers must be able to recognize non-verbal cues from detainees/inmates that may indicate fear, deceit, or a warning. They must also be able to use non-verbal communication skills to assert authority and guard against physical attack.

This course will provide corrections officers working in adult correctional facilities with information on identifying and responding to non-verbal communication and using their own non-verbal communication skills to promote facility and individual safety.


Hours: 1.25


Certificates provided by accrediting body (2 Match)

American Jail Association Certification

1.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours.

California Board of State and Community Corrections

1.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.25 STC credit hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PS-0-SONV-V2
Hours: 1.25
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 4/30/2024
Learning Objectives:
Define non-verbal communication.
List up to 8 non-verbal communication cues.
Discuss the observing technique and identify the 4 parts of observing.
Explain the posturing technique and identify the 3 parts of posturing.
Explain the positioning technique and identify 3 parts of positioning.


Section 1: Introduction

A. About This Course

B. Learning Objectives

Section 2: Non-Verbal Communication and Cues

A. Non-Verbal Communication

B. Facial Expressions

C. Body Movements and Posture

D. Gestures

E. Eye Contact

F. Touch

G. Space and Association

H. Voice

I. Mood

J. Tips for Reading Non-Verbal Cues

K. Review

L. Summary

Section 3: Observing Non-Verbal Cues from Inmates

A. Observation Technique

B. The 4 Parts of Observing

C. Case Study: Officer Braxton

D. Review

E. Summary

Section 3: Posturing and Positioning

A. The Messages You Send

B. Proactive Plan v. Reactive Response

C. Posturing Technique

D. 3 Parts to Posturing

E. Case Study: Officer Smith

F. Case Study: Officer Luke

G. Positioning Technique

H. 3 Parts of Positioning

I. Review

J. Summary

Section 5: Conclusion

A. Summary

B. Course Contributors

C. Resources

D. References

E. Congratulations!

F. Exam

E. BrainSparks

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.