Today we met we with a behavior health specialist* (BHS) who works at a maximum-security prison in Indiana. Her role as a BHS involves running group sessions with offenders** to develop coping skills, learn how to express and deal emotions, and prepare going to back to the general population in the prison system. Offenders with mental illness are categorized within stages zero to five, zero marking those who are severally mentally ill and five being those who have worked towards stability. Her particular caseload deals with those who fall under the three to five category.
Here are some main themes from her interview:
· “They have already been judged, it is not up to society to judge anymore.”
· “Be ok with what you do not know and cannot help.”
· The success in her job relies on her ability to morph and adapt to her clients needs and personalities.
· The process of mental health care in the prison system helps to stabilize the offenders and treat their mental health needs.
*For the security of this BHS, we will be referring to this individual as “she.”
** This terminology was how she referred to those who are incarcerated.