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Fundamentals of Correctional Psychology

Time limit: 168 days

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Full program description

Courses in the Certificate

Course One: Developing a Correctional Professional Identity

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of correctional psychology, and of the unique relational factors that contribute to and/or hinder realization of professional identify within correctional settings. Students will learn about the unique culture of correctional institutions, and the health professional’s role as a member of an inter-professional team. Students will explore the factors associated with successful and intentional development of a solid professional identity, including addressing difficult situations within corrections, common lapses in judgment and missteps that occur in correctional institutions, conditions that lead to burn out, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, strategies for self-care, and best practices for conflict resolution in an adversarial environment. Special emphasis will be placed on ethical decision-making in the correctional setting.

Course Two: Developmental Bases of Criminal Behavior

This course will explore the major distinctions between normative and criminal human development, including the major theories of personality development as related to criminal behavior. The impact of various factors on criminal behavior, including macro-level factors (culture, media, political context), neuroscientific factors, and major theories of cognitive development, related to criminal behavior.

Course Three: Evidence-based Practices in Corrections

This course reviews the particular impact of common and co-morbid physical, psychological, and environmental conditions on clinical intervention in correctional settings. The impact of institutional resources and priorities on treatment planning is explored. Common treatment interventions utilized in the correctional environment, including motivational interviewing and various cognitive-behavioral and psychoeducational interventions, are reviewed and practiced. The course will also review basic psychopharmacology commonly used in correctional settings. Additional best practices specific to correctional settings, including establishing a therapeutic alliance, including the strategies for working with resistant patients; counter-transference issues that arise when working within correctional settings; and special considerations, such as screening for and treating suicality and homicidality.

Course Four: Evidence-based Practices in Corrections: Assessment in Correctional Settings [OPTIONAL]

This course supports students to discern the purposes and differences between clinical and forensic assessments in correctional settings. Additionally, the legal standards inform choice of assessment tools, and the commonly employed assessments and the specific considerations for interpretation when working with correctional populations will be examined.

Certificates will be accepted for transfer credit toward select 3-unit courses in CSFS’s Master’s of Science Forensic Behavior Science or Master of Science Forensic Administration and Leadership. Up to two certificates can be transferred.

The California Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Behavioral Science, Public Safety, and Justice at the California School of Forensic Studies (CSFS) at Alliant International University is dedicated to providing law enforcement, security professionals, other first responders, and mental and allied health professionals with practical forensic education and training.

Advanced Practice Certificates are eligible for Continuing Education credit through the American Psychological Association (APA). CSFS is also an official corporate sponsor of the International Law Enforcement Education and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

Full course description

Fundamentals of Correctional Psychology is dsigned to support mental health professionals who seek to work within correctional systems to attain the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that support efficacy and safety within the correctional environment. It is also designed to support those already within the system to enhance their knowledge and skillset.

Use code CE2019 to waive your application fee!