Mitigation Training for Social Workers

PDS will be hosting a virtual Mitigation Training for Social Workers on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 ​from 12:30 - 4:30 pm.

The West Virginia Board of Social Work Continuing Education Committee has approved this training for 4 hours of continuing education.

Registration fee is only $65. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Bachelor and Master level social workers have a unique opportunity to become trained as mitigation specialists, able to work on a contracted basis, as needed, and then for criminal defense attorneys across the State of West Virginia. 

To mitigate means to “make less severe” and defense attorneys have a responsibility to present mitigation on behalf of their criminal defendants. In many states, defense attorneys use social workers to develop mitigation because social workers inherently have the skills and training needed to investigate a person’s life history and unmet needs, and to make recommendations for that person’s treatment. These social workers function as mitigation specialists for attorneys.  

Training as a mitigation specialist takes a social worker’s unique skills in approaching a client’s background and life history and combines those skills with work for defense attorneys, writing reports for defense counsel as they prepare for their clients’ sentencing, and by suggesting sentencing alternatives for their clients. 

Through this training social workers will learn the history of mitigation and forensic social work; how to perform a criminal defendant assessment; and how to write a mitigation report. A free follow-up Zoom call will also be scheduled for participants post-training to answer questions and have further discussion. Note: Training is not a guarantee for contracted work. A list of trained persons interested in mitigation work will be collected and sent to criminal defense attorneys in West Virginia.

Detailed Workshop Agenda

Agenda Summary:

12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Log in/Tech Check

12:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Introduction to Topic/Purpose of Mitigation in Criminal Defense Work by Social Workers

12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. One Size Does Not Fit All: What is Mitigation in Criminal Sentencing; What are the Many Forms It Takes; and How Do Social Workers Fit into This Work

2:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. Break

2:10 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. How to Do a Criminal Defendant Assessment with Mitigation in Mind

3:15 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Break

3:25 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Report Writing and Story Telling: Bringing a Client’s Story to Life

4:30 p.m. End of seminar

For questions, please call Stephanne at 304-352-0169.