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Correctional Services Counselor

Status: Full-Time Position

Salary range: $42,432.80 - $49,247.00 annually

Position title: Correctional Services Counselor / Mental Health Specialist

Department: Washtenaw County Sheriff�s Office

Division: Correctional Services

Grade: 21

FLSA status: Non-Exempt

Union affiliation: POAM

Job summary

Under the supervision of a higher classified employee, the employee assesses the inmate population to determine current and future needs. The employee provides evaluations for suicidality/homicidality, individual and group counseling, support services, crisis intervention and develops individualized plans as appropriate. The employee coordinates services for the inmate population and implements diversion plans in cooperation with the Courts, Criminal Justice System and the County Health Services Group. The employee will be required to work weekends and afternoon shift.

Essential duties

  • Interviews inmates to gather various information, including criminal status, substance abuse history, family history, medical history, interests, vocational and educational needs, mental health needs, or any information deemed pertinent to effective planning and diversion activities.
  • Assesses the inmate�s motivation and ability to take part in and benefit from available programming. Refers to both in-house and community-based programs and agencies and provides advocacy services as appropriate.
  • Screens for suicidal and homicidal potential, determining the need for necessary precautionary measures and interventions and the time at which specific measures can be discontinued.
  •  Provides individual and group counseling to the inmate population utilizing various modalities of treatment for both crisis intervention and short-term treatment. Facilitates group programs toward specific areas of need, i.e., dual diagnosis, survivor issues, anger management, and others.
  • Assists in the coordination of in-house programs and may recommend the inclusion of new programming, screens potential participants for eligibility,

Essential duties

  • Maintains statistics relative to participation and success, on-going contact with providers and volunteers and assists in the orientation of same.
  • Assists in mental health and substance abuse diversions and other diversions as appropriate in cooperation with the Courts, criminal justice system and mental health system throughout the adjudication process. Generates and receives letters of approval from the Courts facilitating those diversions.
  • Prepares various correspondences, including a variety of letters, verbal and written reports and activity sheets. Maintains statistics on bed days saved, successful placements and recidivism rates.
  • Works closely with student interns and volunteers and assists in their supervision.
  • Represents the Department to the community in a manner consistent with departmental goals and the mission statement. May be requested to speak to interested community groups about the Department and Correctional Services specifically.
  • Maintains a practical familiarity with the local criminal justice system, including operations, processes and personnel.

Important duties:

  • Remains current on community resources and maintains an information file on the services available.
  • Maintains good working relationships with Sheriff Department staff, contracted staff, service providers and Court personnel.
  • Participates in in-service training as both an attendee and facilitator and attends a variety of workshops and seminars as requested and appropriate. May be asked to serve on special committees.
  • Promotes interagency cooperation.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Supervisor.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all job duties performed by personnel so classified.

Essential skills and experience

  • Time management; the ability to organize and manage multiple priorities
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Strong team player

Knowledge of:

  • Concepts and functions of criminal justice system and the adjudication process.
  • Applicable federal, state and local laws.
  • Research, data analysis and report preparation techniques
  • Computer applications related to the work.
  • Correct oral and written English usage.
  • Business correspondence.
  • Standard office practices, including the operation of standard office equipment.

Skill in:

  • Effectively working with diverse populations.
  • Oral and written communication.
  • Performing a variety of analytical and operations support work without close supervision.
  • Collecting, analyzing and evaluating varied information and data.
  • Interpreting, applying and explaining complex laws, policies and regulations.
  • Using sound independent judgment within established procedural guidelines.
  • Preparing clear, concise and effective written materials.
  • Maintaining accurate records and files.
  • Establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of the work.
  • Handling crisis situations in a calm and focused manner
  • Determining the mental status of individual inmates.
  • Setting priorities, coordinating multiple projects and meeting crucial deadlines.

License / Certification

Social Work: State registration or certification.
Psychology: Limited license.
Possession of a valid Michigan Vehicle Operator�s License is also required.

The qualifications listed above are guidelines. Other combinations of education and experience that could provide the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and credentials necessary to perform the job will be considered.

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the incumbent is required to walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; balance; stoop; talk or hear. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus.

Duties require sufficient mobility to work in a normal office setting and use standard office equipment including a computer and fax machine. Duties require vision to read printed materials and a VDT screen and hearing and speech sufficient to communicate in person or over the telephone or via e-mail. Duties may require an employee to exert up to twenty-five (25) pounds of force occasionally, or up to ten (10) pounds frequently, or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects.

These requirements may be accommodated for otherwise qualified individuals requiring and requesting such accommodations.

Work Environment

The Sheriff's Office is a seven (7) day per week, twenty-four (24) hour per day operation. Work schedules will include nights, weekends, holidays and unanticipated overtime.  Correctional Service Counselors are required to work a flexible work schedule.


Possession of a Master�s degree in Social Work, Clinical Psychology, or the equivalent.


Two (2) years of experience in direct clinical work, preferably within a criminal justice or corrections agency.

This class description intends to identify the major duties and requirements of the job and should not be interpreted as all-inclusive. Incumbents may be requested to perform job-related duties other than those outlined above and may be required to specific job-related knowledge for successful job performance.

Residency Requirement

Employees are not required to live in Washtenaw County but must reside within fifty (50) miles of Station One - 2201 Hogback Road, Ann Arbor. 

Selection and Employment Standards for the position of Correctional Services Counselor / Mental Health Specialist

Category: Good Moral Character
Standard: Possess good moral character as determined by a favorable comprehensive background investigation covering school and employment records, home environment, and personal traits and integrity.  Consideration will be given to all law violations, including traffic and law conviction, as indicating a lack of good moral character.  This includes arrest and expunged convictions.

Category: Driving History
Standard: Possess favorable comprehensive driving history. 
Disqualifiers: A total of 7 or more points on driving record within two years; Conviction of OUIL or impaired vehicle operation within five years; Two or more convictions of reckless/careless driving within two years; Loss of driving privilege through suspension or revocation of license due to an unsatisfactory driving record as defined by the Michigan Secretary of State operator's license point system within the last five years.

Category: Mental / Emotional Health
Standard: Be free from mental or emotional instabilities which may tend to impair the efficient performance of a correctional services counselor's duties or which might endanger the lives of others or corrections staff.
Additional: Each case shall be investigated to determine its extent and effect on job performance.

Category: Vision
Standard: Possess 20/20 corrected vision in each eye.  And, possess normal visual functions in each eye, including peripheral vision, depth perception, etc.
Additional: Each case shall be investigated to determine its extent and effect on job performance.

Category: Hearing
Standard: Pure tone air conduction sensitivity thresholds for each ear, as shown on the pure tone audiogram, shall not exceed a hearing level of 20 decibels at any of the following frequencies: 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Hertz.  Testing shall be performed by an audiologist at a hearing clinic accredited by the Professional Services Board of the American Speech-Language-Heraing Association or by an audiologist who has a Certificate of Clinical Competence. 
Additional: Each case shall be investigated to determine its extent and effect on job performance.

Category: Fingerprinting
Standard: Applicant will be fingerprinted with a search of state and federal fingerprint files to disclose criminal record.
Additional: This includes expunged convictions.

Category: Medical examination
Standard: Medical examination is conducted by a licensed physician to determine that the applicant meets medical standards.  The medical examination is completed following the issue of the conditional offer of employment.

Category: Drug Testing
Standard: Applicant will be tested for the illicit use of controlled substances. 

What is the next step if I want to apply?

Applicants must complete the Washtenaw County Sheriff�s Office employment application and submit the application to the Human Resources Office at the address list below.

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