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Cultural competence in correctional mental health

Reena Kapoor, Charles Dike, Craig Burns, Vinneth Carvalho & Ezra E.H. Griffith.

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Available online 10 May 2013



Cultural competence is an essential aspect of competence as a mental health professional. In this article, the framework of cultural competence developed in general psychiatry—acquiring knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand the interaction between culture and the individual—is applied to the prison setting. Race and ethnicity, extremes of age, gender, and religion are highlighted and examined as elements of the overall culture of prisons. The model of the cultural formulation from the DSM-IV is then adapted for use by clinicians in the correctional setting, with particular emphasis on the interaction between the inmate's culture of origin and the unique culture of the prison environment.



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