After your initial meeting, add any notes of referrals, partnerships with other agencies, counselors or probation officers you may need to assist this client. The client may be working with many therapists, depending on the situation, and you will need to provide information accordingly, and receive pertinent client behavioral assessment from these departments as well.
Before arriving at a correctional facility, many people have interviewed, researched, and assessed the client/prisoner in order to determine counseling needs, safety precautions, and personnel management once inside.
Each facility determines their own assessment and what information they need for each person; however, most use similar categories for their intake. The categories are crime/offense; security risk; physical and mental health issues including suicide watch, if applicable; and substance abuse or addiction. If substance abuse or addiction is part of the client's intake, they bypass normal integration into general correctional facility population and placed near medical personnel to go through detoxification. Once the withdrawal process completes, counseling is assigned and sessions with substance abuser/support groups.
One thing that surprised me about the intake process was the educational information taken - each prisoner assessed for level of comprehension, reading ability, and learning skills. Learning abilities affects how the guards and counseling speak to them, how they explain activities, procedures, and standards. If the client/prisoner is at a low reading and comprehension level, they will not be able to understand larger words and may get confused easily.
It is imperative to get the social circle and support people of each prisoner, such as family, friends, and intimate relationship partners. The client may have visits from certain people who affect them specific ways, and it is needed to know who they are in order to determine an action plan in counseling.
DSM-IV Mental Disorder Definition
The Diagnostic Statistic Manual IV (DSM-IV) defines mental disorder as a "significantly behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress, such as pain, or disability of one or more areas of functioning, or with a significantly increased risk or suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom4". In addition, this syndrome or pattern must not merely be an expectable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event like the death of a loved one.
Whatever the symptom's original cause, the persistent and intensity of the manifestation of a behavioral, psychological or biological dysfunction is required in order to classify it as a mental disorder.
In addition, while mental disorders explained in the DSM-IV, diagnoses are generalized and categorized based on symptoms. There is a misconception of using the DSM-IV to