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Quantum Units Education

Using Trauma-Informed Practices to Enhance Safety and Security in Women's Correctional Facilities


1. Experts recommend that professionals working in all systems adopt “universal precautions” when working with individuals, meaning that they assume a trauma history is present with all individuals they interact with.

A. True

B. False

What Do We Know About the Experience of Trauma Among Women Inmates?

2. Trauma survivors are constantly, and often unconsciously, scanning their environment for a threat or interpreting all events and interactions as potentially unsafe and threatening.

A. True

B. False

What Does This Mean for Women’s Institutions?

3. In a trauma-informed culture:

A. Staff understand trauma’s pervasive effects on the brain and body.

B. Innovative programs are introduced to educate women on the effects of trauma and help them cope with its effects.

C. Operational practices are specifically structured to help women manage difficult symptoms so they can safely engage in institutional programs and services.

D. All of the above.

What Are The Benefits of Creating a More Trauma-Informed Institutional Culture?

4. Facilities that have begun to take steps toward creating a more trauma-informed culture report all of the following, except:

A. Improvements in inmates’ ability to fall and stay asleep at night.

B. Decreased visits to the health center.

C. Improved attendance and participation in programs and services.

D. Decreases in disciplinary infractions.

Creating A Trauma-informed Culture in Women’s Correctional Institutions

5. Each of the following institutional values provide the type of stability trauma survivors need in order to learn new information and skills that promote trauma recovery, except for:

A. Rewarding good behavior with additional visitation rights.

B. Running a highly structured and safe environment.

C. Offering consistent limits, incentives, and boundaries.

D. Administering fair, swift, and certain consequences for behaviors.

Opportunities for Implementing Trauma-Informed Practice in Women’s Facilities

6. As a trauma-informed practice, discharge planning should not begin until near the discharge date so that release does not seem too far in the future and unattainable.

A. True

B. False

Action Step #1: Make a Commitment to Trauma-Informed Practice

7. Which of the following is a way to engage staff and inmates in the development of the Position Statement?

A. Conduct focus groups with staff and inmates to gain their input.

B. Administer surveys to staff and inmates to gain their input.

C. Assign a small work group to draft a Position Statement based on the feedback received.

D. All of the above.

Action Step #2: Support and Train Staff in their Efforts to be More Trauma-Informed

8. When staff are repeatedly exposed to horrific stories of trauma and/or the behaviors that inmates display as a result, they may feel the effects of trauma as well.

A. True

B. False

Action Step #3: Adopt Trauma-Informed Language / Communication and Terms

9. One of the simplest changes corrections professionals can make to create a more trauma-informed culture is to:

A. Make adjustments to the words and phrases they use, particularly those used to describe and carry out operational practices.

B. Install privacy walls in sensitive areas such as showers.

C. Attend to basic comforts such as adequate lighting and appropriate heating and cooling.

D. Post visual materials that reinforce desired values, skills, and expectations.

Action Step #5: Make Existing Institutional Procedures More Trauma-Informed

10. Each of the following procedures are ones likely to be significant trauma triggers for women inmates and are essential to review and enhance, except for:

A. Detox

B. Searches and pat downs

C. Mealtime among other inmates

D. Nighttime routines

11. It is essential that trauma-informed policies and procedures exist to address:

A. Confidentiality

B. Same versus single-sex supervision

C. Self-harm

D. All of the above

Action Step #6: Implement New Trauma-Informed Operational Practices

12. Staff should not check-in with inmates outside of a problem or crisis situation as this oversteps the inmate’s privacy.

A. True

B. False

13. The first ____ hours after admission are extremely important in terms of establishing basic safety and comfort.

A. 6

B. 12

C. 24

D. 36

Action Step #7: Introduce Strategies to Help Inmates Manage Difficult Trauma Symptoms

14. When a survivor is becoming agitated, they should be told to calm down and take a deep breath.

A. True

B. False

Action Step #8: Build a Safe, Trauma-Informed Community with Inmates

15. Each of the following are ways that leadership and staff can proactively create a community that promotes inmate stability and, in turn, institutional safety and security, except for:

A. Offer inmates opportunities to impact their environment by establishing an inmate council and soliciting their input and ideas.

B. Use cues to create safety and stability at the nervous system level such as calming lighting, colors, and sounds.

C. Increase down time so the inmates don’t feel overwhelmed with activities.

D. Create standards for staff-inmate interactions that are specifically designed to create stability such as Motivational Interviewing, collaborative problem solving, relational language, and trauma-informed and nonviolent communication.

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