Revised standards for psychology services in jails, prisons, correctional facilities and agencies

July 8, 2010

Revised standards for psychology services in jails, prisons, correctional facilities, and agencies appear in the July special issue of the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior.

The three largest mental health institutions in the U.S. are not hospitals, but penal institutions: New York's Riker's Island, Chicago's Cook County Jail and the Los Angeles County Jail. Seriously mentally ill individuals compose about 15% of the over two-million individuals currently incarcerated in the U.S.. Unfortunately, many correctional systems lack resources to meet the constitutionally mandated needs of mentally ill individuals in their custody.

The standards represent the International Association for Forensic and Correctional Psychology's (IACFP) second revision of psychology services standards in correctional settings, which were first published in 1980. They are the result of more than a year's effort by the IACFP's revision committee, chaired by Richard Althouse, Ph.D., president of the IACFP.

"Offenders, mentally ill or not, entrusted to the custody of correctional facilities and agencies, benefit in a number of ways from the highest quality of rehabilitative and mental health services," writes Althouse in the introduction to the special issue. These benefits include helping to maintain institutional security, an increased likelihood of successful integration back into the community, and reduced likelihood of expensive civil litigation or other legal actions that can result from inadequate correctional mental health services.

IACFP's revised standards provide information for both administrators and clinicians in areas relevant to providing optimal mental health services, including organizational policies and ethical principles, intake screening, staffing rations, mental health services, and intervention, records, research, and references. They can be read free for a limited time at http://cjb.sagepub.com/content/37/7/749.full.pdf+html.

Explore further: Prisoners die of mysterious cause in Texas

Related Stories

Prisoners die of mysterious cause in Texas

August 12, 2007

Officials at a Texas jail are trying to figure out why two inmates died and two others were hospitalized with a mysterious illness within the past month.

Flu pandemic in prison: A model for public health preparedness

May 5, 2009

When pandemics occur, correctional facilities are not immune. With more than 9 million people incarcerated across the globe 2.25 million in U.S. jails and prisons alone it is vital that correctional officials and health professionals ...

The crime of mental illness

May 31, 2010

Canada needs to change its approach to mentally ill prisoners as correctional facilities worldwide contain a higher percentage of people with mental illness than the general population, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian ...

Recommended for you

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

The couple who Facebooks together, stays together

July 27, 2015

Becoming "Facebook official" is a milestone in modern romance, and new research suggests that activities on the popular social networking site are connected to whether those relationships last.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.