FCI Bennettsville Mental Health of Prisoners

Aug, 22 11 Post by: admin | No Comments


Intake Screening


All inmates must complete a Psychology Services Intake Questionnaire (PSIQ) in R&D. Cadre inmates will have a subsequent intake interview with a psychologist. The purpose of the intake interview is to gather information and to assess the inmate’s current psychological functioning. After the interview, the psychologist prepares a brief written report. A copy of the report is kept in the inmate’s psychology file and a copy is sent to the unit team.

Crisis Intervention


Psychologists are available to see inmates who are experiencing acute signs of distress.

Individual Counseling


Individual counseling services are available for any inmate experiencing family, interpersonal, adjustment or other personal concerns.

Group Counseling


The Psychology Department provides educational and therapeutic groups that address special concerns faced by inmates. These groups are:

  1. Anger and Stress Management
  2. Family Reunification
  3. Communication Skills 

Self Referrals


For an inmate to self-refer to the Psychology Department, they must fill out an Inmate Request to Staff form (cop¬out), addressed to the Psychology Department, or psychology staff, and place it in the drop box on the unit. In emergency situations, inmates should notify any staff member that they require immediate attention so that staff can contact Psychology Services.

Referrals by Staff


When a staff member believes that an inmate will benefit from psychological counseling, the staff member may refer that inmate to the Psychology Department. Counseling is usually on a voluntary basis; however, in situations where the inmate poses a risk to himself, others or to the safety and security of the institution, psychology staff will take steps to ensure the safety of the inmate and others.

Other referrals


Inmates also may observe unusual behavior in other inmates that signal the need for a psychological intervention.

In these cases, inmates are encouraged to inform staff so that the identified individual may receive the required assistance.


Psychology Treatment Programs


Some BOP institutions offer Psychology Treatment Programs which are similar to the Residential Drug Abuse Program but focus on different topics or issues. Examples are the CODE Program, the Values Program, and the Brave Program, which focus on topics such as adjustment to incarceration and ethical development. None of the these programs are available at FCI Bennettsville. However, you may be eligible to transfer to another facility if you would qualify for one of these programs. If you would like more information about any of these programs, please submit a “Request to Staff.”

Suicide Prevention


It is common for people to experience depression and hopelessness while in jail or prison, particularly if they are newly incarcerated, are serving a long sentence, are experiencing family problems or problems getting along with other inmates, or receive bad news. Sometimes, inmates consider committing suicide due to all of the pressure they are under. Staff are trained to monitor inmates for signs of suicide tendencies, and are trained to refer all concerns to the Psychology Department. However, staff does not always see what inmates see. If you are personally experiencing any of the problems noted above, or you or another inmate is showing signs of depression (sadness, tearfulness, lack of enjoyment in usual activities), withdrawal (staying away from others, reducing phone calls and/or visits), or hopelessness (giving away possessions, stating “there is nothing to live for”), PLEASE alert a staff member right away. Your input can save a life.

Suicide Watch Companions


The Psychology Department is developing a unique opportunity for a small number of qualified inmates to act as suicide watch companions. These inmates will be trained by the psychology staff in appropriate suicide watch procedures, in addition to special training in interpersonal communication skills and information related to suicide prevention. Psychology Services will post announcements when suicide watch companion positions become available.

Sexual Abuse/Assault Prevention and Intervention Program


Your Right to be Safe from Sexually Abusive Behavior:

While you are incarcerated, no one has the right to pressure you to engage in sexual acts. You do not have to tolerate sexually abusive behavior or pressure to engage in unwanted sexual behavior regardless of your age, size, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

If you are afraid or feel you are being threatened or pressured to engage in sexual behaviors, you should discuss your concerns with staff. Because this can be a difficult topic to discuss, some staff, like psychologists, are specially trained to help you deal with problems in this area.

If you feel immediately threatened, approach any staff member and ask for assistance. It is part of his/her job to ensure your safety.

If you become a victim of a sexually abusive behavior, you should report it immediately to staff who will offer you protection from the assailant and refer you for a medical examination and clinical assessment. You do not have to name the inmate(s) or staff assailant in order to receive assistance, but specific information may make it easier for staff to know how best to respond. You will continue to receive protection from the assailant, whether or not you have identified him or her (or agree to testify against him/her).

Even though you many want to clean up after the assault it is important to see medical staff BEFORE you shower, wash, drink, eat, change clothing, or use the bathroom. Medical staff will examine you for injuries which may or may not be readily apparent to you. They can also check you for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, if appropriate, and gather any physical evidence of assault. The individuals who sexually abuse or assault inmates can only be disciplined and/or prosecuted if the abuse is reported.

It is important that you tell a staff member if you have been sexually assaulted. It is equally important to inform staff if you have witnessed sexually abusive behavior . You can tell your case manager, Chaplain, Psychologist, SIS, the Warden or any other staff member you trust. BOP staff members are instructed to keep reported information confidential and only discuss it with the appropriate officials on a need to know basis concerning the inmate-victim’s welfare and for law enforcement or investigative purposes.

There are other means to confidentiality report sexually abusive behavior if you are not comfortable talking with staff.

  • Write directly to the Warden, Regional Director or Director. You can send the Warden an Inmate Request to Staff Member (Cop-out) or a letter reporting the sexually abusive behavior. You may also send a letter to the Regional Director or Director of the Bureau of Prisons.  To ensure confidentiality, use special mail procedures.
  • File an Administrative Remedy. You can file a Request for Administrative Remedy (BP-9). If you determine your complaint is too sensitive to file with the Warden, you have the opportunity to file your administrative remedy directly with the Regional Director (BP-10). You can get the forms from your counselor or other unit staff.
  • Write the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) which investigates allegations of staff misconduct. OIG is a component of the Department of Justice and is not a part of the Bureau of Prisons. The address is:

Office of the Inspector General
P.O. Box 27606
Washington, D.C. 20530


Counseling Programs for Victims of Sexually Abusive Behavior


Most people need help to recover from the emotional effects of sexually abusive behavior. If you are the victim of sexually abusive behavior, whether recent or in the past, you may seek counseling and/or advice from a psychologist or chaplain. Crisis counseling, coping skills, suicide prevention, mental health counseling, and spiritual counseling are all available to you.

Management Program for Assailants


Those who sexually abuse/assault others while in the custody of the
BOP will be disciplined and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you are an inmate assailant, you will be referred to Correctional Services for monitoring. You will be referred to Psychology Services for an assessment of risk and treatment and management needs. Treatment compliance or refusal will be documented and decisions regarding your conditions of confinement and release may be effected. If you feel that you need help to keep from engaging in sexually abusive behaviors, psychological services are available.

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