ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Approximately 22% of individuals who underwent a psychological assessment to determine their fitness for the state’s Correctional Officer (CO) Trainee program were disqualified over eight years. It’s approximately 684 individuals each year between 2010-2018.
All potential CO’s in New York have an extensive psychological evaluation to determine their viability to serve in a public safety capacity, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Potential trainees are evaluated over a period of two days. On day one of evaluation, individuals are given four tests the California Psychological Inventory; Personality Assessment Inventory; State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory and a personal history questionnaire.
Each test is geared towards helping psychologists determine an individual’s susceptibility toward mental health issues like depression, neuroticism, anger and anxiety, according to Psychology Today.
On the second day of evaluation, potential CO trainees are interviewed by a licensed psychologist. Individuals are rated on social competence, teamwork, adaptability/flexibility, conscientiousness/dependability, impulse control/attention to safety, integrity/ethics, emotional regulation/stress tolerance, decision-making and judgment, assertiveness/persuasiveness, avoiding substance abuse/risk-taking behavior, problem-solving/learning and communication skills.
The psychologist combines collected data to determine if potential trainees are suitable or unsuitable for employment as a CO. They use a six category scale, with one being the most suited and trainees put into either category five or six considered unsuitable or not recommended for employment.
Once scored, potential CO’s are notified by mail of their suitability and are able to make an appeal. There were approximately 28 overturned appeals each year from 2010-2018. They make up less than 1% of the total amount of evaluated trainees.
Employment rating scale
- Well-suited- psychological traits are expected to be above standard performance in job functions
- Suitable- psychological traits are not expected to interfere with job functions
- Suitable- mild concerns psychological traits could interfere with job functions
- Marginally suitable- moderate concerns psychological traits could interfere with job functions
- Poorly suited- psychological traits present that are expected to significantly interfere with job functions
- Not psychologically suited- for public safety employment
As part of the psychological evaluation, the Department of Corrections and Supervision tracks new CO trainees for a year after they are hired. In 2017, out of 1,746 CO trainees, 63 were fired in the first year. It gives the program a retention rate of 96.4% for the first year of employment.