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Author Archive

Staff on Staff Bullying in the Workplace?

November 28th, 2011

Several readers lately asked that I address the topic of staff bullying other staff—intimidating, harassing, threatening, coercing colleagues to do something they do not want to do.

Before I tackle such an article I would like to invite you to email me your personal experiences and observations regarding this issue in the corrections workplace.

Here are some questions to get you started. Read more…

Boundaries, professionalism ,

Conclusions from DWCO’s 2010 & 2011 National Surveys

October 21st, 2011

In 2010 DWCO conducted a pilot online survey measuring PTSD rates in the corrections ranks. Results showed that 39% of our sample met criteria for PTSD for symptoms experienced over the past six months. Read more…

PTSD, Research ,

Do You Qualify with Your Emotions?–Part 1

June 17th, 2011

You go to the firing range every year to qualify with your weapon. And that is necessary and good. Do you realize though that you daily carry with you a different kind of weapon that goes neglected and unacknowledged for the most part until you “fire?” That hidden yet powerful weapon is your emotions.
Please consider how many times a year you have to shoot at offenders. Compare that with how many times weekly or even daily you may engage in tense verbal interactions with offenders, fellow staff or family members, and how many times these result in fierce arguments or other types of conflict. Read more…


Do You Qualify with Your Emotions?–Part 2

June 17th, 2011

This article is Part 2 of the series on managing and regulating one’s emotions. In it I present a real-life example of the type of stressors faced routinely by corrections staff, and suggestions as to how to deal with its emotional impact. This example was shared with me by Greg Morton, a retired State Training Manager for the Oregon DOC. Greg is now a part-time facilitator for an inmate Parenting Class.
Let me give you a little background. Greg and I were discussing whether PTSD might be an occupational disease of corrections staff due to their repeated exposure to  violence on the job. We compared the corrections staff’s workplace conditions to coal miners’ Black Lung, and wondered to what degree occupational diseases may be preventable. My opinion was that unless workplace death and violence drop to near zero, at least some degree of psychological traumatization of corrections staff is inevitable, especially for those repeatedly exposed to such incidents.

Read more…


DWCO-ICREW Anonymous Survey

April 29th, 2011

Dear Corrections Employee:
My name is Caterina Spinaris Tudor, Ph.D., and as the Executive Director of Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO) I invite you to participate anonymously in a landmark study that researches health and wellness issues of corrections staff. Read more…


Calling It What It Is

April 13th, 2011

Corrections staff, especially women staff, are at times confronted with the sight of a male offender who exposes himself to them or masturbates in front of them for sexual gratification, or to shock or humiliate them.

Women correctional workers have described such encounters to me as highly disgusting, even to the point of interfering with their sex lives at home until they worked through their emotional impact. Read more…

Women in Corrections

Flavor of the Month

February 25th, 2011

I was doing a training recently when the subject of divorce in corrections
came up. I could almost feel the pain in the room pouring out of people’s
hearts. When later on I received this article, submitted to me by a female corrections officer (who gave me permission to reprint it anonymously), I knew I had to share it with as many people in corrections as I could. Read more…


Hazmat Suit for the Soul

December 23rd, 2010

The other day I heard someone say that as firefighters expect to see charred bodies on the job, correctional workers should expect to encounter violence at work, and consequently, should be prepared to deal with it and not be bothered by it.

The speaker made two points here: (1) that staff should be prepared to deal with workplace violence, and (2) that they should not be bothered by it.

These are two separate issues. Read more…


Preventing PTSD

December 9th, 2010

In the last issue of the Correctional Oasis I wrote that administrators should consider routinely providing options for treatment to staff exposed to violent or life-threatening work-related incidents. Two studies in the field of traumatology support this suggestion. Both studies examined ways to lessen the long-term impact of traumatic exposure. The goal of the studies was to research how to keep people who suffer from Acute Stress Disorder from developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder later on.

Let me first do a little explaining about these terms. Read more…

PTSD , ,

New Desert Waters Website

December 7th, 2010

We now have a new website, almost completely done. Check it out!

Desert Waters’ mission remains the same. To increase the occupational, personal & family well-being of staff of all disciplines within the corrections profession.