The role of correctional officers in multidisciplinary mental health care in prisons

Psychiatr Serv. 2001 Oct;52(10):1343-7. doi: 10.1176/


Prisons have become the homes of thousands of inmates who have mental disorders. The stress of incarceration can cause morbidity among these individuals, resulting in more severe symptoms and more disruptive behavior. Effective treatment for such inmates often involves services provided by a multidisciplinary treatment team that includes correctional officers. Correctional officers can assist in observations and interventions, and they play a unique role on specialized housing units. Successful collaboration between correctional officers and treatment teams requires a foundation of mutual respect, shared training, and ongoing communication and cooperation. With these elements in place, correctional officers can assist the treatment team and make important and constructive contributions to the assessment and management of offenders who have mental disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Case Management
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Police*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Adjustment