Job Overview


Why is it Great to Work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons?

Do your career justice and consider a career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). In addition to being regarded as a family and career-oriented agency, the BOP offers a broad range of exciting career opportunities in a work environment that promotes integrity, diversity, and professional development. With over 38,000 highly motivated individuals, the Federal Bureau of Prisons is one of the most unique agencies in the United States Department of Justice where each employee's day-to-day performance makes a difference.

Will the Federal Bureau of Prisons Pay for me to Move?

Reimbursement IS NOT authorized for travel and transportation for this position.

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 3307, a maximum entry age of 36 has been established for initial appointment to a position in a Bureau of Prisons institution.  In special situations, a waiver may be requested up to age 39 at locations where there is a shortage of applicants under 37.

Qualified Preference Eligible Veterans may be exempt from meeting the maximum age of 37.  Please refer to the Required Documents Section for the appropriate documentation to submit to validate veteran eligibility.


The incumbent is a member of the Psychology Services Department at a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) federal correctional facility. The Psychology department provides a full spectrum of programs and services for inmates with a variety of psychological disorders. The incumbent functions as a Specialty Program Coordinator for a general residential mental health program approved by Central Office or any one of the following Psychology Services Department Specialty Programs: Steps Toward Awareness, Growth, and Emotional Strength Program, Bureau Responsibility and Values Enhancement Program, Challenge Program, Skills Program, Stepdown Program, or Resolve Program.
The incumbent performs duties consistent with the coordination of a specialty program for the identified target population. The target population(s) for each of the specialty programs are noted below: Steps Toward Awareness, Growth, and Emotional Strength Program (STAGES): personality-disordered inmates, especially inmates diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and inmates who engage in self-injurious behaviors. Bureau Responsibility and Values Enhancement (BRAVE) Program: young inmates serving lengthy sentences, especially offenders with antisocial attitudes and behaviors, substance abuse, and/or mental illness. Challenge Program: high security inmates with antisocial attitudes and behaviors, substance abuse, and/or mental illness. Skills Program: inmates with cognitive limitations and/or mental illnesses which negatively impact their ability to acquire life skills. Resolve Program: inmates with trauma-related mental illnesses including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and personality disorders. Stepdown Unit Program: inmates suffering from serious mental illnesses which adversely impact their ability to function in a general population setting.
A. Administration and Program Management.  The incumbent is responsible for developing, implementing, coordinating, and evaluating the specialty treatment program and for coordinating and evaluating all activities within the specialty treatment program. This program is primarily directed toward the treatment of inmates with the above identified problems. The incumbent is responsible for initiating a treatment program and for implementing and monitoring the treatment program in compliance with BOP policy. The Specialty Program Coordinator is responsible for coordinating and scheduling the treatment program activities.
B. Psychological Assessment and Evaluation The incumbent is responsible for the administration, scoring, and interpretation of a wide variety of psychological testing instruments and procedures, including objective and projective instruments of personality assessment; intelligence tests; and tests and inventories of interests, aptitude, criminality, and achievement. The incumbent is particularly responsible for administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological instruments and procedures which address the problems targeted by the specialty treatment program.  Based on data from testing, interviewing, and records containing social, educational, personal, and institutional adjustment data, the incumbent is responsible for preparation of psychological reports for various uses. These include: • Assisting in interdisciplinary classification of inmates by identifying behavioral, emotional, organic, and personality deficiencies, or drug/alcohol habituation. Subsequently develops suitable program and treatment contracts for individual inmates, has full professional responsibility and oversight for their psychological treatment plans. • Advising the Parole Commission of personality strengths and liabilities of inmates at the time they appear for parole consideration. Responsible for making recommendations for aftercare should the inmate be paroled. • Answering special requests for evaluation by institution staff following observed bizarre behavior or thoughts, insomnia, somnambulism, psychosomatic complaints, suicidal preoccupations, depression, situational crises, long-term disciplinary and segregation cases, dangerousness, or use of illicit drugs. Formulates appropriate treatment programs, refers medical/psychiatric problems to medical services, and assists in deciding when individuals are to be referred to more appropriate or specialized facilities. • Court-ordered study and observation cases. Evaluations may be requested by the Court to assist in determination of competency, assessment of possible organicity, assessment of addiction to drugs, or assessment of other personality, emotional, or intellectual deficiencies.  These evaluations aid the Court in making sentencing decisions. • Periodic appraisal of changes in the attitudes, personality, dynamics, and overall level of adjustment of inmates resulting from participation in institution and unit programs and/or from the implementation of new and innovative projects. Specifically, the incumbent assesses individual performance, participation, and completion of the programs in each phase of the specialized treatment unit. He/she is also required to develop new instruments, if needed, to assess this particular population as part of on-going program evaluation. • Evaluation of each inmate in the introductory programming phase of program participation with input to the unit team, and the inmate concerned, regarding inmate needs in therapeutic intervention for the treatment of psychological problems. Refers inmates with medical problems to the Medical Officer, and plans the course of therapy for psychological problems.
C. Psychotherapy The incumbent plans and performs both individual and group psychotherapy on a regularly scheduled basis. Also conducts a wide variety of interviews and crisis intervention sessions on an as-needed, unscheduled basis. Participates as a member of an interdisciplinary unit team in developing, implementing, and assessing program needs and goals. Within the treatment program is directly responsible for development, evaluation and coordination of residential and nonresidential treatment programs and for designing individual treatment plans. Treatment modalities and techniques used include (but are not limited to) behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, insight-oriented psychotherapy, behavioral group psychotherapy, bio-feedback, crisis intervention, assertiveness training, social skills therapy, substance abuse education, individual psychotherapy, and pre-release planning.
D. Consultation/Resources Serves as a source of expert advice and opinion, and demonstrates knowledge of research techniques and findings (particularly in the specialty program’s area(s) of emphasis) as a consultant to colleagues and all other institution staff. He/she develops, implements, and evaluates mental health programs. Provides expert advice and opinion to judges, attorneys, probation officers, and parole examiners regarding the mission and operation of the specialty program. Is responsible for providing assessment and referral services for staff referred to Psychology Services by their supervisors or for staff personally requesting assistance with problems of alcohol use, drug use, or emotional problems which are affecting job performance. Responsible for the maintenance of confidential records and annual reporting of data regarding the program to the EAP Coordinator for compilation and transmittal to the Central Office Psychology Services, EAP Coordinator.
E. Training and Supervision Is required to provide clinical supervision to treatment specialists. In addition, he/she may supervise the work of graduate-level psychology trainees, practicum students, paraprofessional counselors, and consultant psychologists. Within the specialty program, gives training specific to dealing with inmates with the targeted psychological problems. The incumbent is also required to provide in-service training to all departments and all levels of institution staff through regular employee training, correctional counselor training, and employee orientation.
F. Research/Program Evaluation Routinely collects and enters comprehensive data in Sentry and the psychology data system (PDS) contributing to program evaluation. The incumbent is responsible for reporting data to other professionals, with emphasis on their area of specialty programming.
G. Ethics and Professional Considerations Is responsible for supporting and conforming to the ethical standards set forth by the American Psychological Association and by Federal regulations.
 Along with all other correctional institution employees, incumbent is charged with responsibility for maintaining security of the institution. The staff correctional responsibilities precede all others required by this position and are performed on a regular and recurring basis.