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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200812 Find in a Library
Title: Role of Mental Health in the Inmate Disciplinary Process: A National Survey
Journal: Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:2002  Pages:488-496
Author(s): Michael S. Krelstein M.D.
Editor(s): Ezra E. H. Griffith M.D.
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 9
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study presents findings from a national survey on the role of mental health personnel among States in the inmate disciplinary process.
Abstract: As a result of recent class action lawsuits challenging the quality of mental health care in the Nation’s prisons, prison mental health care professionals have been called upon to play an increasing role in the inmate disciplinary process. Due to this, prison mental health professionals must become familiar with sometimes intricate clinical, legal, and ethical issues. This article examines the role for mental health professionals in the inmate disciplinary process and is divided into three sections: (1) a review of the core legal and constitutional concepts; (2) the results of a nationwide survey of prison policy; and (3) survey results. A nationwide survey was conducted to compare different disciplinary procedures across the country. The survey included all 50 States and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP), with 28 States and the FBOP responding. Survey findings demonstrate that considerable diversity exists among the States in prison policy regarding the role of mental health personnel in the inmate disciplinary process. Most States have policies requiring assessment of competency and mechanisms to involve mental health in disciplinary decisionmaking. However, the study identified no clear consensus on the question of whether prison mental health professionals should provide ultimate opinions on disciplinary responsibility. The greatest potential controversy is on the question of the role of mental health professionals in the determination of disciplinary responsibility. Although many States and the FBOP have determined that mental health professionals should have a role in evaluating disciplinary responsibility, there is a larger consensus among States that prison mental health officials should not provide explicit disciplinary conclusions. References
Main Term(s): Psychologists role in corrections
Index Term(s): Correctional personnel; Corrections management; Criminal justice system personnel; Inmate discipline; Mental health; Mental health services; Offender mental health services; Performance requirements; Professional conduct and ethics; Surveys
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