Correctional Facility Therapist Job Description [Updated for 2024]

correctional facility therapist job description

In an ever-evolving society, the role of a Correctional Facility Therapist is increasingly crucial.

As our understanding of mental health deepens and the need for rehabilitation within the correctional system is recognized, the demand for compassionate, skilled professionals who can assess and address these needs escalitates.

But what does a Correctional Facility Therapist truly do?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker looking to understand the core of this position,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or merely interested in the intricacies of correctional facility therapy,

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, we present a customizable Correctional Facility Therapist job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Correctional Facility Therapist Duties and Responsibilities

Correctional Facility Therapists provide mental health services to inmates within a correctional facility.

Their aim is to help improve the mental health and overall well-being of inmates, and they often work as part of a larger healthcare team within the facility.

Their duties and responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating the mental health status of inmates through interviews and assessments
  • Developing, implementing, and adjusting treatment plans based on assessments and observed inmate behavior
  • Providing individual and group therapy sessions to address various mental health issues
  • Working closely with other healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers, to provide comprehensive care to inmates
  • Documenting and maintaining accurate records of inmate assessments, progress, and treatment plans
  • Assisting in crisis intervention and suicide prevention
  • Providing education and support to inmates regarding mental health, substance abuse, and coping strategies
  • Adhering to all confidentiality and ethical guidelines as outlined by professional standards and regulations
  • Communicating with facility staff and legal personnel regarding inmates’ progress and behavior


Correctional Facility Therapist Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are searching for a dedicated and compassionate correctional facility therapist to provide psychological therapy and support to inmates.

The correctional facility therapist will be responsible for conducting assessments, diagnosing mental health issues, devising treatment plans, and providing individual and group therapy.

The ideal candidate is familiar with the unique challenges faced by those in the criminal justice system and is committed to helping them improve their mental health and overall well-being.



  • Conduct psychological assessments and diagnose mental health conditions
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans
  • Provide individual and group psychotherapy
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care
  • Maintain detailed notes and records
  • Monitor and track patient progress
  • Provide crisis intervention as needed
  • Educate and counsel family members when appropriate
  • Adhere to all ethical and professional standards of conduct



  • Master’s degree in Psychology, Social Work, Counseling or a related field
  • Current state license to practice as a therapist or counselor
  • Experience working in a correctional facility or with criminal justice populations preferred
  • Proficiency in common diagnostic and therapeutic techniques
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Commitment to maintaining patient confidentiality and respecting patients’ rights
  • Ability to manage stress and remain calm in challenging situations



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Correctional Facility Therapist
  • Work Environment: A secure correctional facility. The therapist will have regular direct contact with inmates.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Director of Mental Health Services.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $45,000 minimum to $85,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Correctional Facility Therapist Do?

Correctional Facility Therapists, also known as Correctional Counselors or Psychologists, primarily work in prisons, jails, juvenile detention centers, or other correctional facilities.

Their main role is to assess, diagnose, and provide treatment for inmates who may be struggling with various mental health issues, behavioral problems or substance abuse disorders.

They conduct individual or group therapy sessions, develop and implement treatment plans, and monitor the progress of inmates.

They often use cognitive-behavioral therapy and other therapeutic approaches to help inmates manage their feelings, overcome substance abuse, or cope with stress.

In some cases, Correctional Facility Therapists may also be involved in crisis intervention, helping to de-escalate situations and providing immediate psychological support to inmates in distress.

Furthermore, they often collaborate with other professionals such as correctional officers, social workers, and healthcare providers to ensure the overall wellbeing of the inmates.

They may also provide training to correctional staff on mental health issues and contribute to parole and release planning, evaluating the readiness of an inmate for reintegration into society.

Overall, their work is crucial in contributing to a safer, more therapeutic correctional environment and better outcomes for inmates post-release.


Correctional Facility Therapist Qualifications and Skills

A Correctional Facility Therapist should possess a unique set of skills and qualifications to effectively deal with inmates and their mental health needs, including:

  • A Masters or Doctoral degree in psychology, social work, counseling or a related field, and appropriate licensure to practice in the respective field.
  • Experience working with individuals with diverse backgrounds and a range of psychological issues, such as substance abuse, trauma, and mood disorders.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to build trust and rapport with incarcerated individuals and help them feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues.
  • Strong communication skills to effectively convey the importance of mental health, various treatment options, and strategies to inmates, correctional staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Proficiency in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning to develop individualized therapy plans for each inmate.
  • Ability to work within an interdisciplinary team and collaborate with other mental health professionals, medical staff, and correctional officers.
  • Understanding and knowledge of the legal and ethical considerations related to mental health care within correctional facilities.
  • Strong stress management and resilience skills to handle the emotional demands of working in a correctional environment.
  • Problem-solving skills to address complex issues, crisis situations, and conflicts that may arise in a correctional setting.


Correctional Facility Therapist Experience Requirements

Entry-level correctional facility therapists typically require a minimum of 2 years of experience working in a clinical setting.

This experience can be gained through internships, practicums, or part-time roles in mental health facilities, hospitals, or community centers.

Candidates with a specialization in forensic or criminal psychology, addiction therapy, or social work may have a competitive edge.

Experience with diverse populations, crisis intervention, and trauma-informed care is also highly desirable.

Those with 3 to 5 years of experience often have developed a strong foundation in therapeutic techniques and have extensive experience working with inmates or individuals with a criminal background.

They may be responsible for developing and implementing treatment plans, conducting group therapy sessions, and working closely with correctional facility staff.

Therapists with more than 5 years of experience may have leadership experience and could be prepared for roles such as Lead Therapist or Therapy Supervisor within a correctional facility.

These roles may involve overseeing a team of therapists, coordinating facility-wide therapy programs, and liaising with other departments or external agencies.

Additionally, it’s important to note that all correctional facility therapists must meet state licensing requirements, which often include a Master’s degree in Psychology, Social Work, Counseling, or a related field, and passing a state-issued exam.

Continuing education is also necessary to stay updated with current therapy techniques and ethical guidelines.


Correctional Facility Therapist Education and Training Requirements

Correctional Facility Therapists typically require a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or a related field.

This advanced degree should be from a program that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or a similar accrediting body.

In addition to formal education, they must undergo supervised clinical experience, often completed during the master’s program.

This experience gives them practical exposure to the field and assists in honing their therapeutic skills.

Every state mandates licensure for correctional facility therapists.

The specifics of licensure criteria can differ, but generally require completion of an accredited master’s program, supervised clinical experience, and passing a state-recognized exam.

Continuing education is important in this field to stay updated with the latest therapy techniques and research.

Many therapists choose to pursue additional certifications or specializations such as substance abuse counseling, trauma therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy which can enhance their skills and employability.

In addition to these qualifications, correctional facility therapists should possess strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to handle stress and emotionally charged situations.

They should also have a good understanding of the legal and ethical guidelines within the correctional system.


Correctional Facility Therapist Salary Expectations

A Correctional Facility Therapist earns an average salary of $56,740 (USD) per year.

The earnings can vary widely based on experience, education, the geographical location of the facility, and specific responsibilities within the role.


Correctional Facility Therapist Job Description FAQs

What qualifications does a Correctional Facility Therapist need?

A Correctional Facility Therapist should hold a Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or a related field.

They also need to be licensed to practice therapy in their state.

Some roles may require specific experience working in correctional facilities or with incarcerated populations.


What skills are important for a Correctional Facility Therapist?

A Correctional Facility Therapist should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to establish trust and rapport with their clients.

They should be able to manage stressful situations and possess cultural competency to work with a diverse population.

Expertise in mental health assessment, crisis intervention, and therapeutic techniques is also crucial for this role.


What are the typical duties of a Correctional Facility Therapist?

A Correctional Facility Therapist primarily provides mental health services to incarcerated individuals.

They conduct assessments, develop and implement treatment plans, and provide individual and group therapy.

They also work with the facility staff to manage crisis situations and monitor the progress of their clients.

They may also be involved in preparing inmates for release and connecting them with community resources.


What qualities make a good Correctional Facility Therapist?

A good Correctional Facility Therapist is empathetic, patient, and able to maintain professional boundaries.

They are committed to helping their clients despite the challenging environment, and possess strong ethical and moral judgement.

They are also flexible, able to adapt their therapeutic approach based on the unique needs of each client.


Is it difficult to hire a Correctional Facility Therapist?

It can be challenging to hire Correctional Facility Therapists due to the demanding nature of the role.

The job requires someone with a strong mental fortitude and the ability to work in potentially distressing environments.

Offering competitive salaries, comprehensive training, and a supportive working environment can make the position more appealing to potential applicants.



And there you have it.

Today, we’ve given you an insider’s look at what it truly means to be a Correctional Facility Therapist.

Guess what?

It’s not just about counseling.

It’s about shaping the future, one session at a time.

With our comprehensive Correctional Facility Therapist job description template and practical examples, you’re ready to take the next step.

But why pause now?

Go beyond with our job description generator. It’s your next move for precision-crafted listings or fine-tuning your resume to perfection.


Every session is a piece of the larger puzzle.

Let’s shape that future. Together.

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