West Virginia Prison Guards To Train In Crisis Intervention

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia corrections officials have announced intensive training for an initial class of guards on ways to safely defuse incidents involving mentally ill inmates.

Using a federal grant, the Division of Corrections says the 40-hour class for crisis intervention teams is adapted from the Memphis Model.

Training includes signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, treatment, co-occurring disorders, legal issues and techniques to de-escalate confrontations.

It was created after a mentally ill man was fatally shot by a Memphis policeman in 1987.

Deputy Corrections Commissioner Mike Coleman says the goal “is to provide a safer way to resolve these incidents for everyone involved.”

According to the division, mental health first aid training developed by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill will be provided for all correctional officers and facility staff.