Unlicensed Interns to Perform Psych Tests on Utah Prisoners
by Scott Grammer
According to October 2018 news reports, Utah’s Department of Corrections wants to pay unlicensed interns to “train” at the Draper prison by administering psychological and IQ tests to prisoners in mental health and sex offender programs. Victor Kersey, Director of Institutional Programming for the Utah DOC, said “[i]t’s a great training, recruiting, and hiring pipeline. It’s a unique setting, it’s a setting that’s extremely diversified.”
But mental health professionals see things differently.
“I don’t think undergrads should be performing psychological tests,” remarked Keith McGoldrick, a licensed psychologist, adding, “they don’t have the knowledge to administer that.”
Kersey, who oversees the mental health and sex offender treatment programs where the interns will be employed, said there is a training process and licensed supervisors meet with interns to review their work.
“If there is a mistake made on behalf of an intern whether it’s a clinical mistake or a mistake made through an assessment then that liability falls on their licensed supervisor,” he said.
However, McGoldrick noted that inaccurate data collection or an uncorrected mistake “could mean that someone could get improper treatment or may not receive treatment if something is missed.”
A request for proposal issued by the state indicated graduate students would be paid $19 per hour for working with prisoners while undergrads will receive $10 per hour. In Utah, licensed psychologists make $78,970 per year on average, or about $37.97 per hour.
Sources: kutv.com, psychologydegree411.com
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