Florida Department of Corrections: First in the nation to achieve APA accreditation of psychology residency.

Author:Aufderheide, Dean

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) has become the first correctional system in the United States to have a psychology post-doctoral residency program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA Commission on Accreditation recently made this decision at its meeting in Washington, D.C. The accreditation was granted for a period of 10 years, the maximum allowed by the APA.

FDC Secretary Mark Inch said, "Accreditation by the American Psychological Association is a hallmark accomplishment and will result in attracting the best and brightest candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in correctional psychology. We are proud of our team who has been involved with the psychology residency program and its success in becoming the first of its kind in the United States."

All beginnings

The German proverb, "Aller anfang ist schwer" means, "All beginnings are difficult." We certainly learned the meaning of that proverb when we began the department's doctoral internship program in 2007, still one of only three APA accredited internships in a state prison system in the U.S. Applying lessons learned from starting the internship, we were determined to dream big, structuring the psychology residency to attract the best and brightest candidates and preparing for the rigorous review process by the APA's Commission on Accreditation. Our goal was to "train and retain" highly competent correctional psychologists. An APA-accredited psychology residency was the next logical step in our vision to create a center of excellence for correctional psychology. All beginnings may be difficult, but when we all moved forward together, we were confident the success of the psychology post-doctoral residency program would take care of itself.

Internship and Psychology Residency Graduation

National recruitment

The strong roster of psychology residents who have come to the department is a result of the selection process used by the program. The program is a registered member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APP1C) and is listed on the site's Universal Postdoctoral Program Directory. This provides national recruiting for our program and ensures that eligible and interested candidates nationwide will have an opportunity to explore the benefits of a psychology residency training program within a correctional setting. Brian Riedl, a regional director for the FDC, said, "The psychology residency program is a 'win-win' for the psychology residents and our agency. The program is also a great recruiting tool for...

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