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Introduction to Trauma and Trauma-Informed Approaches for RSAT Staff

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2021

This trainer’s manual for instructing correctional staff in the features and implementation of the federal Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) Initiative focuses on the principles and practices of trauma-informed approaches in correctional settings.


The training is intended for RSAT program staff who work with participants in the RSAT jail, prison, and aftercare programs. The rationale for this training is the link between trauma histories and behavioral health diagnoses, including substance-use disorders (SUDs). Research also documents the extent of trauma histories among people who are or have been incarcerated. The curriculum has three goals: 1) Increase knowledge about trauma, its impact, and its prevalence among persons with SUDs and those incarcerated; 2) Increase knowledge about trauma-informed approaches and how they can benefit RSAT participants, increase institutional security, and decrease the need for costly interventions; and 3) Provide tools for implementing trauma-informed approaches within the constraints of correctional settings. 20 references and trainer instructions for presenting 69 training slides

Date Published: May 18, 2021