Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. (2023). 0(0). DOI: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000484 SIEC No: 20230878
Introduction: People with mental illness are overrepresented in correctional facilities. Correctional officers (COs) lack education to respond to inmates with mental illness. A review was conducted of mental health education programs for COs to identify factors related to effectiveness. Methods: Medical and criminal justice databases were searched for articles describing mental health education for COs. Studies including measurable outcomes were analyzed using an inductive analytic approach. The review adhered to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines for scoping reviews. Data were synthesized using Moore seven levels of outcomes for continuing professional development education. Findings were grouped by curriculum content and described according to levels of outcome. Results: Of 1492 articles, 11 were included in the analysis. Six described mental health programs, two described skill-specific programs, and three described suicide prevention programs. Programs reviewed content about mental illness, practical skills, included didactic and experiential teaching. The programs achieved level 5 on Moore taxonomy. Programs led to improvements in knowledge, skills, and attitudes among officers; however, improvements declined post-training. Officers were receptive to facilitators with correctional or lived mental health experience. Experiential teaching was preferred. Common themes related to programs' effectiveness included applicability to COs, information retention, program facilitators, and teaching methods. Discussion: There is limited, but positive literature suggesting that education programs are beneficial. The decline in improvements suggests need to ensure sustainability of improvements. This review can guide the planning of future education programs for COs based on continuing professional development best practices.