CORRECTIONAL SPECIALIST I
DEFINITION OF CLASS:
This is entry level rehabilitative correctional work providing counseling services to a segment of an inmate or offender population. Contacts regularly include inmates or offenders to obtain and provide information, counseling, placement and other services to speed recovery, prevent relapse and facilitate rehabilitation; representatives of local, State and Federal criminal justice agencies to carry out court-ordered actions; public and private human service agencies to provide, facilitate or monitor offender treatment; community members (employers, family members, etc.) to coordinate community integration; and others inside and outside the County government to perform a range of correction and rehabilitation services. For the majority of employees, this class of work involves provision of counseling services to inmates and offenders for a four to six month period.
An employee in this class works in an understudy capacity to a higher level Correctional Specialist responsible for providing daily, direct counseling services to offenders while working in Pre-Trial Services, Detention Services or Pre Release Services. Work in Pre-Trial Services revolves around bond review hearings, or community supervision of offenders who represent varying degrees of risk to public safety (this includes meeting with offenders to help resolve such major issues as substance abuse, financial problems, employment, housing, etc.). Work in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility consists of gathering information from interviews with inmates to be used to classify inmates and assign them to programs. It also involves providing direct assistance to inmates, e.g., verifying housing and employment, placing calls to attorneys, Public Defender's Office, etc. Work in Pre Release Services involves meeting with inmates on a scheduled and as-needed basis, to discuss and help resolve such major issues as substance abuse, family/peer group matters, financial problems, employment, housing, etc. Counseling sessions are intended to help inmates identify sources of their problems and a means to resolve/control them (e.g., a behavioral change) in order to prepare inmates for entry back into the community. Employees of this class work with inmates of various socioeconomic backgrounds, including pre trial and post trial offenders, and provide services which are tailored to the individual needs of the inmate. The complexity of this work centers on working with offenders who are often resistant to treatment and/or unpredictable. Work goals and objectives are clearly identified and prioritized by a correctional supervisor; the employee is expected to carry out their normal recurring assignments under close direction and supervision, resolving all work conflicts and problems in accordance with established procedures. A variety of guidelines are available in the form of laws, regulations, professional association standards, and established procedures. Situations and incidents not covered by instructions or precedent are always referred to the supervisor or the higher level Correctional Specialist understudied for discussion and resolution. Work is evaluated based on an employee's ability to learn about and begin to provide timely and appropriate services, and work effectively with other employees and representatives of other public and private sector agencies. The impact of this work is realized by a portion of the offender population through the provision of services to them, by family members and employers who are directly impacted by the attitudes and behavior of offenders, and by the community at large in terms of the offender's legal or illegal actions. The work of this class is primarily sedentary, with some discomforts, unpleasantness and potential to provoke hostility or aggression toward the worker from the defendants/offenders (including violent felons) encountered.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: (Illustrative Only)
Obtains file information for defendants scheduled for bond review hearings
to include the charging document, statement of charges, initial appearance
and commitment papers.
Interviews defendants for their current and prior addresses, current and prior employment, education, family structure, community ties, criminal records and medical, mental health and substance abuse information.
Informs each defendant about the bond review process and options to facilitate their release, including an overview of the Pre-Trial Supervision Program.
Completes computerized criminal record checks for defendants scheduled for bond review hearings by accessing the FBI, Maryland, National Criminal Information Center, warrants, Motor Vehicle administration, parole and probation and Montgomery County databases.
Generates a bond synopsis report for the State's Attorney's Office, the Office of the Public Defender and the presiding judge.
Participates in the defendant's bond review hearing by testifying to the information submitted in the bond synopsis report and providing recommendations on participation in the Pre-Trial Supervision program and any appropriate conditions, rationales and pertinent information obtained during the interview process.
Performs daily administrative tasks to assemble and close out files, record daily program statistics, etc.
Conducts screening interviews to determine eligibility for program participation.
Conducts assessments to determine offenses, substance abuse and mental health needs, appropriate program track, employment issues, transportation needs, appropriate community service placements and legal status and/or preparedness for court.
Provides crisis intervention, individual and milieu counseling on various topics including substance abuse, employment, education and work-life skills.
Contracts with and instructs offenders in program requirements and procedures, and refers them to appropriate community resources.
Develops and teaches structured curriculum on alcohol and drug abuse, and conducts criminal justice system overview and drug/alcohol seminars.
Uses databases to enter and retrieve information about defendants/offenders.
Monitors offender enrollment in and screening through the Passpoint Substance Abuse Screening System.
Conducts Alcosensor and Drug Identification and Detection Screening tests.
Prepares correspondence to the courts, State and defense attorneys and others about program participants.
Collects program fees.
Conducts regular and new inmate risk assessments for purposes of evaluation,
diagnosis, and housing placement.
Recommends inmate classification/housing assignments based upon review of information from risk assessments.
Periodically reviews progress of inmates after sentencing to determine problems, concerns and adaptation of inmates to incarceration.
Explains institutional rules and regulations to inmates, and answers their questions.
Provides brief counseling services to portion of inmate population to assist inmates in the resolution of personal, financial, legal and other problems.
Provides informational/instructional tours of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility to visiting groups.
Prepares statistical reports.
Evaluates inmates to determine eligibility and suitability for voluntary work programs.
Investigates inmate housing unit problems of moderate proportion.
Uses databases to enter and retrieve information about defendants/inmates.
Performs related duties as required.
Pre Release Services
Obtains skill in, and provides limited group and primary counseling
services to, inmates including problem solving, interpersonal skills,
values clarification, stress and anger management, assertiveness training,
alcohol and drug education, health/hygiene/nutrition education, financial
management, and other basic living skills education.
Attends weekly staff meetings to participate in the development of inmate needs assessments and treatment plans, and evaluate each offender's performance.
Under supervision, negotiates and develops preliminary behavioral contracts with inmates prior to transfer to Pre Release Center or the Community, Accountability, Reintegration and Treatment (CART) Program.
Conducts on site sponsor interviews with offender's family members and friends in the community to assess suitability of potential sponsor, acquire additional information about the inmates, explain program to sponsor, and set expectations for home visitation with sponsors.
Maintains contacts with sponsors and other family members to provide therapeutic intervention in family situations on an as-needed basis.
Teaches classes on work-life skills, relapse prevention and recovery.
Prepares offender counseling reports and performance evaluations.
Provides crisis intervention services and contact counseling to offenders.
Verifies employment, community service and satisfactory progress in work-release requirements.
Periodically reviews cases with consulting psychologist.
Maintains statistics on services provided to assigned inmates.
Attends adjustment hearings to participate in the deliberations, and recommends actions regarding inmates' violation of rules and regulations.
Uses databases to enter and retrieve information about inmates.
Performs related duties as required.
Experience: One (1) year of full time satisfactory experience in community
based corrections or in other human services work emphasizing treatment/counseling.
Education: Possession of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
Equivalency: Excess education may be substituted for required experience, but excess experience may not be substituted for the Bachelor's Degree, as the educational requirement is stipulated by the Maryland State Training Commission.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Knowledge of human behavior and the principles of case work, interviewing and counseling.
Skill in problem solving to identify and analyze issues and make effective recommendations for, or decisions on, individualized treatment programs.
Skill in oral communication to express information verbally (including facts, concepts and principles) so that others will understand, and to understand verbal information of others. This includes skill in encouraging oral communication by others.
Skill in written communication to express information in writing (including facts, concepts and principles) so that others will understand, and to read and comprehend the written information of others.
Skill in human relations to effectively work with persons of demonstrated antisocial behavior, including persons charged with or convicted of serious crimes.
Interpersonal skills to interact effectively with personal contacts.
Skill in using a computer, modern office suites and program-specific computer systems to enter, use and exchange information.
Ability to attend meetings or perform other assignments at locations outside the office.
Individuals appointed or promoted to this class will be required to serve a probationary period of twelve months, during which time performance will be carefully evaluated. Continuation in this class will be contingent upon successful completion of the probationary period.
CITIZENSHIP AND AGE:
Individuals appointed to this position must be at least 21 years of age on the date of appointment, and be either a citizen of the United States or resident alien.
MEDICAL PROTOCOL: Core Exam and Drug/Alcohol Screen
Class Established: July, 1979
Revised: July, 1983
September, 2003 (M)