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Caterina Spinaris Tudor is the Executive Director of Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO,  and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Colorado.

Until her involvement in corrections, Caterina had a thriving private psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado, specializing in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, and the “burnout” of mental health professionals.

In the year 2000 Caterina moved her private practice to Fremont County, Colorado, which houses 12 prisons and one jail, with one more prison on the way.

As her client load began to include correctional employees and their families, Caterina started learning about the unique demands of the correctional workplace and their toll on staff and families. The more she became aware of the complexities and stressors of corrections work, the more she sought resources for that population. Not finding many, she and her husband Ted Tudor  felt strongly called to set up DWCO, a 501(c)(3) Colorado nonprofit in 2003.

The mission of DWCO is to increase the occupational, personal, and family well-being of staff of all disciplines within the corrections profession.

In her role as DWCO’s Executive Director, Caterina originated the Corrections Ventline™ (, a national 24/7 anonymous and confidential phone and email crisis intervention hotline for corrections staff and their families.

She also offers a broad spectrum of corrections-specific workshops on stress management, Emotional Intelligence, and leadership skills for correctional employees serving in county, state and federal institutions.

In addition, Caterina provides mental health services to corrections individual and couples. Her areas of specialty involve recovery from depression and PTSD, and the application of Positive Psychology  and spiritual principles to improve well-being.

Caterina edits the Correctional Oasis, DWCO’s monthly educational newsletter for staff, family members and the general public. She recently authored the booklet Staying Well: Strategies for Corrections Staff, which was published in 2009 by the Billy Graham Center.

Caterina holds a B.Sc. degree in Psychology from the University of London, England, a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Calgary, Canada, and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University.

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  1. Neal
    August 6th, 2009 at 10:46 | #1

    Just found your columns, and am enjoying the posts. I recently retired after 25 years in corrections, and now do consulting and training in the area of evidence-based implementation efforts. Your stuff is right in line with the message I am attempting to get across in the classroom. After three decades of unrelenting correctional growth, I am finding as a whole, front-line correctional staff are just worn out. I hear the words “tired, fatigued, burned-out, stressed, overwhelmed, under-appreciated, resigned” in virtually every training I do. Psychologically speaking, the profession is in trouble. Many are getting out. New staff struggle with a learning curve and a workload that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. I view corrections, in its current form, as an unsustainable “bubble” similar to the housing and stock market bubble. When the whole thing implodes, it will be ugly. In many states, it is already happening. More vacancies than applicants, even in this economy! And quality applicants? Not many. The time has come to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about corrections and chart a different course, using research as our guide. There are best practices out there that have been largely ignored for over a decade, other than using a few buzz words to imply that programming is evidence-based, when in fact, much of our current correctional practice still looks much the same as it did 25 years ago when I started. If we were doctors, we would have been sued and disbarred by now!

    Anyway, thanks for fighting the good fight and being a voice for those who are too afraid to speak up to their own leadership.

  2. August 6th, 2009 at 15:14 | #2

    Neal, you made my day. You expressed extremely eloquently what we see everyday at Desert Waters, and also what our work is about. We have a vision for a healthier system acroos the baord. Sanity goes very much with having a voice and being able to present one’s relaity and experience. Being truly heard is an additional bonus. The sustainability issue you raise is very valid and the analogy to the housing and stock market bubbles is both intriguing and sobering/scary. I think we are starting to see some major changes already.
    I’d love to learn more about what you do as a consultant and trainer.

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