Postdoctoral Residency Program in Clinical Psychology
Overview of the Florida Department of Corrections
The Florida Department of Corrections is now the third largest state corrections system in the country and is considered a national leader in corrections due to its innovations and emphasis on quality. Health Services is an integral and constitutionally required element in the Florida Department of Corrections’ services, and is responsible for the physical and mental care of all offenders in its care, custody, and control. To meet the mental health needs of all offenders we have several levels of care, including outpatient, and four levels of inpatient care: infirmary care, transitional care, crisis stabilization, and the Mental Health Treatment Facility (court ordered inpatient treatment).
Residents will have the opportunity to treat patients from across the full breadth of our inmate population. Our patients include minimum, medium and close custody as well as close management offenders. Residents may work with inmates with a variety of physical ailments and impairments, including chronic, progressive disorders, and visual, hearing, and ambulation limitations. The residents will also care for incarcerated patients who suffer from a wide array of mental disorders, ranging from serious, chronic mental illness and progressive disorders, to transient crisis based disturbances. The full spectrum of mental disorders may be seen. However, the most commonly treated disorders will include the following: depressive, anxiety, psychotic, organic, cyclic mood, substance abuse and borderline, schizoid, schizotypal, antisocial and narcissistic personality. Neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability are also seen, and special efforts are undertaken to identify and care for these vulnerable offenders.
The patient population served is racially, culturally, and socially diverse. They self-identify as 50% Black, 46% white, 3% Hispanic, and 1% other. Our residents work primarily with adult males but will also work with some male youthful offenders. Some patients have been physicians and lawyers, while others have little education and have been homeless. Sixty three percent of our inmates have not achieved General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation literacy skills. Some are from other countries and speak other languages, with a significant proportion speaking Spanish. About 5% of inmates are non-U.S. citizens, with the largest number coming from Cuba, Mexico, and various Central and South American nations.
Multidisciplinary Team work is essential to successful work within the Florida Department of Corrections. A typical multidisciplinary team is employed for mental health service delivery that involves the integration of the patient with psychological, medical, and nursing staff. However, coordination and cooperation between mental health and security staff is another component to the interdisciplinary teamwork required to work within the Corrections System. As one might expect in a mental health service, our masters level staff, interns and psychology residents are clinically supervised by psychologists. However, the Warden is the ultimate authority at the institution and is responsible to see that required mental health services are provided and that the safety and security of the staff and inmates is maintained. Therefore, the Warden’s responsibility for our services is paramount. This interdependence of security and mental health is necessary and logical given that institutional security, public safety and proper care of our inmates are all key to the Florida Department of Corrections’ functioning.
The Florida Department of Corrections’ vision, mission, values and goals are:
Inspiring success by transforming one life at a time.
Provide a continuum of services to meet the needs of those entrusted to our care, creating a safe and professional environment with the outcome of reduced victimization, safer communities and an emphasis on the premium of life.
Safety remains a priority, in everything we do, for our staff, inmates, offenders and the public. Looking forward, technology will allow us to take an innovative approach toward creating safer environments.
We must be accountable to those under our supervision, our fellow members and most importantly, the people of Florida through fiscally sound policy and strategic goals that complement our mission and vision.
Fairness and Integrity
We must always be fair and act with integrity. Our officers face difficult situations every day. We expect them to rise above these testing circumstances and be professional at all times.
Finally, we must be innovative in our approach to building a modern Department of Corrections. I expect Florida to serve as a national leader in correctional policy and embrace a best in class approach to creating policies that promote success for our supervised population.
Talent Development: We will invest in our members for their professional development, growth and success.
Inmate/Offender Programs: We will implement rehabilitative programs that support a continuum of services for inmates and offenders, resulting in a successful transition into the community.
Communications: We intend to promote a collaborative and transparent communications framework that engages all members and stakeholders.
Environment: We intend to provide healthy, sustainable and compassionate environments that are the foundation of our values.
These are consistent with the mission of the Florida Department of Corrections postdoctoral residency program which is to provide advanced training and educational experiences that prepare our residents to successfully work as licensed psychologists in general and/or correctional clinical settings. Together they ensure that residents are trained to provide quality mental health care to our patients in an ethical, proactive and secure environment.
The Department of Corrections is invested in the residency program as a hallmark of excellence and as a “Train and Retain” program. The Department is involved in the training of a number of professionals including psychiatry residents and medical students. For this reason, rotations and other training opportunities are designed to enhance the students’ training and skills rather than for the convenience of other staff. The residency provides short-term and long-term benefits for the Florida Department of Corrections. An excellent training environment ensures high quality, in-depth patient assessment and care, and is considered professionally and intellectually stimulating for our staff. Additionally, a rewarding residency experience may lead the residents to seek employment within the Florida Department of Corrections after graduation. Both factors provide impetus to create and maintain a high-caliber training program.
We have met our goal of obtaining membership in the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. We are working toward our goal of attaining accreditation by the American Psychological Association. We have designed our residency program accordingly. For further information about accreditation please see the Commission on Accreditation website at http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/accreditation-roadmap.aspx or contact them at APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation 750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 Phone: 202-336-5979.
The Florida Department of Corrections is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Certain veterans and spouses of veterans receive preference in employment
by the state as provided by Chapter 295, Florida Statutes, and are encouraged to apply.