The changing correctional mental health workers’ demographics and duties [2019]

Using a recent sample, we examined the changes in correctional clinicians’ characteristics and job duties since Boothby and Clements’s survey in 2000. This update was warranted as there have been many legal developments and changes in practice affecting the correctional mental health field since that publication. The recent sample had higher proportions of female and master’s-level clinicians (rather than doctoral), and was more racially diverse. As the clinicians from 2000 had hoped, by 2015, there was a small but significant increase in their time spent doing therapy. This change was accompanied by a decrease in the time spent doing research. Despite suggestions from the 2000 sample to increase preemployment training opportunities, there was no meaningful difference in the 2015 sample’s preemployment training. The demographic changes appear to mirror changes in the psychotherapist profession in general. Many of the changes in duties between the two time periods are likely due to increased emphasis on mental health treatment in corrections, thus leading to the hiring of more practice-oriented professionals, with less interest in research. Implications are discussed for benefits to educational institutions and corrections agencies that aim to train and employ psychotherapists.

Ricks, E. P., Ferreira, M., & Eno Louden, J.
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 50(1), 2019