"What County Jail Staff Needs to Know about the Psychiatric Care System."

Course Goals

  1. To provide educationally appropriate medical information about psychiatric conditions to jail staff to improve general medical knowledge.
  2. To create a more confident jail staff member when required to deal with an inmate with a psychiatric problems.
  3. To promote better sense of joint purpose between jail staff and medical staff.
  4. To supply educationally appropriate level of information regarding psychiatric patients to jail staff so that communication between the two teams is at the highest level.

  5. Therefore, when finishing this educational program, the student should be able:

  6. To define the mission and principles of practice guiding the medical program for jails.
  7. To list the most frequent symptoms and signs of common psychiatric illnesses and conditions of inmate/patients seen in the jail system.
  8. To identify at least four facts the medical staff may wish to know when regarding the specific illnesses: major depressive disorder, mood disorder, schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, suicide, borderline personality disorder and malingering.

Besides didactic information, each unit contains multiple audio-video components that allows visual learners to see examples of the medical conditions and discussions of pertinent treatment. These experiences allow reinforcement in the learning process that is integral in long time recall of information.

An example of the audio-video presentation accompanying this course in included for your inspection.  You must have a speaker system to hear the audio from the movies!  Move your mouse over the video screen to activate the controls.  Clicking on the start button play the video.

Prisoner Transport

  1. Some jail programs require that medical staff come to prisoners. Others require that the patient be brought to the Medical or Psychiatric Clinic. You must know the rules governing your specific institution and those rules do take precedence over any recommendations in this general information communication related to the “transportation of individual prisoners.”

More FYI

  1. As jail staff, if you have access to nurses, they can take vital signs. If you do not have access to nurses, your own opinion and observations of the health of a patient can be invaluable to assessing a health care situation. The information provided is an attempt to provide some information about common psychiatric illnesses and conditions. I hope it helps you.

Most Important

  1. Though previously stated, your own jail’s description of your functions supersedes any information this educational tool offers. Knowledge of the diseases an inmate might have can only make you more confident in your observations. The more informed you are, the better your decision-making process will be.
  2. Each educational section of the program should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. Learn as much as you possibly can! Tests ask specific information, but all the information in the program will help you.
  3. We encourage you to take notes that you can keep even after finishing this educational opportunity.


  1. HIPAA is a law that protects patient privacy. It is a benefit for every patient, whether in jail or in the free world.
  2. Your individual jail’s interpretation and policies governing HIPAA take precedence over any specific mention of patient information or policies concerning patient information mentioned in this educational document. Follow them!
  3. There are severe penalties for violations of the HIPAA law. Don’t gossip about inmate medical information.

Test Explanation

There is a pre-test before each section of information.
The pre-tests are not scored, but instead they are guides to what information is considered valuable.
The post-tests are scored and a score sheet will be provided to you/your jail after all the tests are finished.
  1. Your tests will be scored at the end of each section. 70% or more correctly answered is Pass.
  2. Read the information carefully, but this is an open-book program, and so you will be allowed to use the educational information while taking the test. You can have access to your test results only when you finish the entire program. You will not be allowed to return to the educational information once you finish the 10th test (question #100).
  3. “Show me the rules under which a society lives, and I will show you the type of man it produces.”

Table of Contents

1. Introduction7.  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
2. General Information 8.   Borderline Personality Disorder
3. More General Information9.   Panic Disorder
4. Major Depressive Disorder10. Suicides
5. Mood Disorder (Bipolarity) 11. Malingering / Playing the Game
6. Schizophrenia