Mental Health & Trauma among Incarcerated Persons: Development of a Training Curriculum for Correctional Officers

  • Dana DeHartEmail author
  • Aidyn L. Iachini


Serious mental illness and trauma among persons incarcerated in prisons and jails are issues of growing concern across the nation. This study describes a three-phase process of needs assessment, media development, and pilot testing for a comprehensive curriculum for training correctional officers on the mental health needs of persons who are incarcerated. Following the pilot training, there was a significant increase in correctional officers’ knowledge from pretest to posttest, and their ratings of course content and delivery methods were positive. The open-access, downloadable curriculum includes a PDF facilitator’s manual, participant handouts and activity cards, PowerPoint presentation slides, and brief videos or animations. The curriculum is ideally suited for delivery to correctional officers working at state and federal prisons, and may also be useful for training officers working in jails, community corrections, or other criminal justice roles.


Correctional officers Inmates Prisoners Mental disorders Training Trauma 



We are especially thankful to our advisory board members and partners in corrections who assisted by providing feedback and support throughout the project. This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-DP-BX-0001 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South Carolina, College of Social WorkColumbiaUSA

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