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Mental health diagnosis

This a new brief from the Stepping Up partners designed to help counties identify the number of people booked into jails who have serious mental illnesses (SMI) and to better connect these individuals to treatment. Determining the number of people who have SMI in jails allows counties to develop or refine strategic plans that will have the greatest impact on addressing this population’s needs.

This three-hour interactive videoconference addresses both adult and juvenile psychopaths who are incarcerated or under community supervision. It covers the following topics: identification, diagnosis, and classification of psychopathic offenders and detainees; assessing their risk for violence (prediction studies); special considerations with psychopathic sex offenders; costs associated with managing these offenders and detainees; the implications for treatment, management, and release; Hendricks v. Kansas, a landmark case concerning commitment beyond completion of sentence; and strategies to address institutional and community safety.

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Are you interested in learning about some of the reasons that people repeatedly and purposely injure themselves? Do you want to learn ways to manage serial self-injurious behavior? We know that self-injurious behavior is a significant problem in correctional settings. Compounding the problem is confusion about what constitutes self-injurious behavior, how to define it, and what are the potential motivational and etiological factors involved. A number of researchers have attempted to address these issues, but efforts to construct a paradigm have proven problematic. In response to this growing problem, this interactive one-hour webinar will introduce an innovative profiling system designed to develop profiles of inmates who engage in serial self-injuries. The Self-Injury Profile System (SIPS) identifies diagnostic and personality characteristics, behavioral patterns, and associated risk factors that create a SIPS profile which is used to analyze individual and group trends. Implementing a SIPS will help you and your agency develop a classification system for defining self-injurious behaviors and a paradigm for understanding the motivational and etiological factors involved. SIPS allows for the implementation of evidence-based management interventions, improvement in clinical outcomes, and reduction in health care costs associated with serial self-injurious behaviors across a facility, agency, or an entire correctional system.

During this one-hour interactive webinar, you will learn to 1) recognize the problems and obstacles to effective assessment and treatment of non-suicidal self-injury, 2) understand the differences and unique characteristics associated with serial self-injurious behaviors and how to document the risk assessment, and 3) identify how a profiling system may be useful in developing a classification system and a paradigm for better management of serial self-injurious behaviors.

Speaker : Dean Aufderheide Ph.D.
Dr. Aufderheide is a board-certified correctional psychologist and licensed clinical and forensic psychologist. A former president of the International Association of Correctional and Forensic Psychology, he is the Chief of Mental Health Services for the Florida Department of Corrections and serves as the American Correctional Association’s National Mental Health Advisor.

Putting the Science into Self-Injury Risk Assessment and Prevention

Do you want to develop a better understanding of the self-injurious behavior found among adults under your care and custody in a correctional setting? Would you like to improve your knowledge of the causes of their behavior and the most appropriate responses? 

Self-injury continues to significantly affect correctional systems around the world, leading to adverse outcomes for the incarcerated people who participate in this behavior and the staff charged with their supervision and care.  To address this issue, correctional staff need a better understanding of self-injurious behaviors and the potential toll that witnessing these actions can take on correctional officers and other key staff.

This interactive one-hour webinar delivers a practical, professional framework that can help staff protect themselves while also providing superior institutional responses to the self-injurious behavior found among the men and women in their custody. We will emphasize the nuances of self-injury in the correctional setting and the need for partnerships between multi-disciplinary teams to maximize outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

  • During this one-hour interactive webinar, participants will:
  • Develop an understanding of the underlying motivations, prevalence, and manifestation of self-injurious behavior among incarcerated adults,
  • Identify the potential risks associated with witnessing self-injurious behavior and how that could affect correctional staff wellness and resiliency, and
  • Gain knowledge about the most appropriate institutional responses to self-injury among the incarcerated population.


Dr. Hayden Smith is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina.  His principal focus of study is the intersection of the criminal justice and public health systems. Dr. Smith is a national and international expert on self-injurious and suicidal behaviors occurring in incarcerated populations. Other areas of study include officer wellness and resiliency, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), reentry initiatives, and best practices in evaluating corrections-based programs. Dr. Smith has published extensively on self-harm among the incarcerated population and has numerous experiences working with diverse correctional agencies.

Originally broadcast on May 27, 2021

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