By: Damon Markiewicz
Springfield College Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director Michael Accordino and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling Lindsey Fullmer have teamed up to publish a book that focuses on bringing more awareness to incarcerated individuals, who are diagnosed with a disability, and are in need of increased assistance.
The book is titled, Corrections and Disabilities, and Accordino and Fullmer have made it a priority to publish this book for one reason, and the mission is direct, there is a need to build up the awareness and support for individuals diagnosed with disabilities while serving their time incarcerated.
“We are very proud of the collaboration that has taken place with this book,” said Accordino. “We have been able to work with multiple faculty members from colleges and universities throughout the country, including our criminal justice faculty at Springfield College. There are emerging issues with how incarcerated individuals with disabilities are receiving assistance, and we hope this book can be a good resource to assist with trends and training awareness to assist these individuals.”
It is estimated that 38% of individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails have at least one disability, that can include one of the following: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, independent living, or learning disabilities. In addition, mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, are also recognized at high levels as well.
“This book is really about helping others, and obviously that falls right into our Humanics mission at the College,” said Fullmer. “It was an honor to work with so many talented professionals during the research for this book, and it means a lot to see so many people committed to helping any individuals who need assistance.”
The Springfield College Department of Counseling has a long-standing reputation of educating and training critically reflective and exceptional counselors, advocates, and leaders. Faculty members and counselors who graduate from the program have a strong professional identity, a broad knowledge base, and possess the skills and expertise necessary to serve people in their chosen field.
Accordino is both a professor and Graduate Program Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, and he has worked in the field of mental health counseling (outpatient therapy, community residential rehabilitation and partial hospitalization programs) for 11 years. Accordino has published articles pertaining to treatment outcomes of mental health facilities, vocational rehabilitation of people with mental illness and has conducted communication skills training in community mental health and prison settings. He also has presented nationally and internationally on the same topics.
“I've been teaching at Springfield College since 1998 and have 25 years of teaching experience,” explained Accordino. “I like to write, do research, and give presentations around the world. It’s all about helping others.”
Fullmer's experience includes nine years in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation where she worked at a community residential rehabilitation program. She also has three years of experience supervising a counselor training clinic where she provided individual counseling services to college students and direct supervision to counselors in training. Her primary research interest examines re-entry readiness among individuals with mental illness experiencing incarceration. Fullmer also has research interests in college student mental health and counselor development.
“After more than two years of research for this book, it’s a good feeling to know it’s published and is a resource to help anyone who is working with individuals who need help,” said Fullmer. “I am proud to have worked with so many great professionals, and it will be an honor to continue to work with so many great colleagues who all have the same vision, and that’s to assist anyone who needs help and support.”