(3) Record of the prisoner's comments.
(4) Action taken or required as a result of this contact (referrals, if made).
(5) Results of action required by this contact.
(6) Name of the counselor.
(7) Any information that will complete the record for future reference.
Note: Preparation of these records should not be reserved for the formal counseling sessions. Anytime the
counselor has a contact with his counselee, a note should be made and placed in the prisoner's file. This
file will be valuable if a change of counselor is necessary.
As stated earlier, many people believe that counseling is nothing more than telling another individual what his
problem is and how he should solve it. True counseling is much more. Counseling has been defined as a series
of direct contacts with an individual who offers assistance in understanding one's self and in changing one's
attitudes and behavior. This is a valid definition, but you should consider each of its parts before you try to
apply the entire definition.
Counseling, if it is to be effective, is an ongoing process. More than one meeting with the counselee is
necessary. Very few problems can be recognized and solved in just a few minutes or in one session. Thus,
counseling calls for a series of repeated contacts.
To be effective, counseling is a face-to-face, or direct, meeting. No truly effective work can be done with a
person unless you speak with him. Such things as facial expressions, gestures, and even periods of silence can
tell you as much, or more, than words.
There are no average prisoners in our facilities--only individual prisoners who have problems unique to their
own situation. Therefore, we should refrain from categorizing and generalizing about prisoners.
Counseling can only be offered or made available to a prisoner. If he does not want help, there is little that can
be done. You cannot order a prisoner to be counseled. The prisoner can be forced to hear what the counselor
has to say, but he cannot be forced to listen. Therefore, the job of a counselor is to offer, not to force.
The job of a counselor is to help, not to do. Look at yourself. You have problems, both large and small, but
they are your problems and the best person in the world to solve your problems is you. Others may help, but in
the final solution, you must face the problem and do the necessary work. The same is true for prisoners. The
counselor may help them, but they must solve their own problems.
Although many times the counselor recognizes and understands problem areas quickly, no valid help can be
given until the prisoner with the problem understands the problem, realizes he is the major factor, and wants to
do something about it. The prisoner who blames others for his problems, "My sergeant doesn't like me," has
not yet accepted the fact that, in most cases, the prisoner himself is the cause of his confinement.
Change is the goal of counseling. A problem in attitude and behavior caused the prisoner to be delinquent and
to be confined. Unless there is a change in his attitude and behavior, he will leave confinement with the same