Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Philip AuClaire

Abstract

Many correctional officers have voiced not receiving adequate training in mental health and how to best work with inmates who may be experiencing mental health symptoms. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training has improved officers’ responses to working with individuals during a mental health crisis The purpose of this project was to examine correctional officers’ perceptions of working with inmates with mental illnesses and how prepared they feel working with inmates who are in crisis. Seventy correctional officers were surveyed in two county jails in Minnesota. The sample of participants included officers who have been certified in CIT. Results were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. While findings indicated there were no differences in perceptions of inmates with mental illnesses between correctional officers certified in CIT and correctional officers who were not, correctional officers who were certified in CIT self-reported they felt more prepared to work with inmates experiencing mental health symptoms and inmates who were in crisis. A third finding demonstrated correctional officers who indicated they were prepared to work with these inmates also had more positive perceptions of them. The participants surveyed were unrepresentative across gender and race. Conducting further research will help gain a better understanding on the views correctional officers have towards mental illnesses and responding to inmates who have mental illnesses, or who are in crisis.

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