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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148925 Find in a Library
Title: Inevitability of Mental Health Professionals Being Sued by Inmates: A Clinical and Legal Survival Guide, Part I (From Locked Up: Body, Mind and Soul: American Correctional Health Services Association 1994 Multidisciplinary Training Conference, P 117-124, 1994 -- See NCJ-148921)
Author(s): J F DeGroot
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Health Services Assoc
Dayton, OH 45401
Sale Source: American Correctional Health Services Assoc
11 W Monument Avenue
P.O. Box 2307
Suite 510
Dayton, OH 45401
United States of America
Type: Report (Technical Assistance)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes the factors that make inmate litigation against mental health professionals likely and offers guidelines to help clinicians reduce the probability of litigation and increase the probability of winning lawsuits.
Abstract: Clinicians should assume that most inmates meet the criteria for a personality disorder or some similar disorder and therefore have primitive cognitive structures that differ from those of most adults. Most inmates feel victimized by society and are thus hypersensitive to minor slights, which they perceive as major violations of their rights. As a result, inmates, who make up less than 0.5 percent of the population, initiate one-third of all civil litigation. Factors affecting the chance of litigation include the need for treatment, the inmate's views about treatment, and whether or not treatment is provided. To reduce the chance of litigation, mental health professionals should know their facility's standard operating procedures and policies, as well as their professional organization's code of ethics and the State law; know inmates' rights; implement the treatment plan; tell the truth but avoid volunteering information during a deposition; and consult with the entire mental health team before making decisions. They should also avoid making legal rather than clinical interventions and perceiving clients as enemies rather than patients.
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Inmate lawsuits; Legal liability; Offender mental health services; Professional conduct and ethics
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