10. Counselors are selected by the commander from among the mature enlisted personnel of the activity. In
selecting personnel to be trained and used as prisoner counselors, the following qualifications should be
a. Corrections Supervisory or NCO Experience. Although experience in Military Occupational Specialty
(MOS) 31E is desirable, it is not mandatory. However, such experience will give the counselor knowledge of
problems encountered in the custodial and treatment phase of confinement and of the problems that resulted in
b. Counseling Experience. Experience in counseling is not mandatory. An individual's age, rank, and
prior duty positions must be given due credit, since valuable knowledge and experience in counseling are often
gained through everyday management and guidance of subordinates.
c. Educational Background. Having an educational background in social science is highly desirable but is
not required. The counselor must, however, possess the necessary formal education to be able to express
himself properly, in speaking and in writing.
d. Motivation. A counselor must possess the sincere desire to help others and exhibit the enthusiasm
necessary to accomplish this end. Counseling requires long and irregular hours of work and sometimes appears
unrewarding. Counselors must possess the temperament necessary to face and accept these problems.
e. Personality Traits and Attributes. Counselors should have the following characteristics:
(1) Possess an understanding of human nature. Indications of this are maturity and good judgment.
(2) Be a good listener and have tact.
(3) Be able to determine where his capabilities end and the specialists' (lawyers, chaplain, and
(4) Be firm, fair, objective, and not susceptible to soft talk.
(5) Be able to handle authority and not abuse it.
(6) Not be easily discouraged by setbacks. He must, in the face of failure, believe that prisoners can
succeed in developing a better attitude and behavior pattern.
(7) Be mentally and emotionally stable.
(8) Be trustworthy.
(9) Have a thorough knowledge of regulations and policies governing prisoners.
11. Counseling Steps. Correctional treatment depends to a great extent upon the success achieved in the
interviewing and counseling of prisoners. A favorable relationship between the counselor and the prisoner is
essential. This allows information and ideas to be freely expressed, communicated, and understood. The
prisoner should be approached in a sincere and friendly, but firm, manner. A concerned and impartial approach
is even more important. Realizing this, the prisoner soon recognizes he can trust and depend on his counselor.
As a result, he more readily expresses himself and accepts advice or guidance offered. Every prisoner needs to
be identified as a worthwhile human being but can do so only if those around him respect his potential worth.