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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

How Do You Train for This?

January 9th, 2010

The C.O. looked tough—what I lightheartedly like to call “the testosterone overload type”—and very professional. I knew he was a veteran who had seen it all during his 13-year corrections career—inmate murders, drug overdoses, beatings, stabbings, and staff assaults. What came out of his mouth though, and the tears that periodically welled up in his eyes, told a story that is rarely voiced.

As I sat listening to this warrior-like officer, I tried putting myself in his place. I ended up flooded with sorrow for the human condition, anger at evil, and a sense of urgency to be of assistance to this individual. Read more…

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In Harm’s Way

July 28th, 2009

A while back I got a call from a dear friend, a CO. I picked up the phone casually, expecting a run-of-the-mill conversation. What I heard on the other end left me speechless, my heart aching for my friend and his wife, who is also a CO. (I’ll call them Vic and Christine. Even though what I am about to describe is public record, I still feel more comfortable not using people’s real names.)

Vic got to the point right away. “A few days ago I was viciously stabbed—totally unprovoked—by an inmate on my shift. It’s only by the grace of God that I survived.”

Read more…

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Behind the Mask

May 31st, 2009

Desert Waters Correctional Outreach exists because our experiences with corrections employees have led us to believe that, especially for staff with considerable offender contact, psycho-spiritual struggles are not a rarity.

Corrections staff operate in an environment of chronic stress, continual alertness, and the ever-present possibility of violence. Staff is exposed to violence in a multitude of ways, the impact of which adds up over time. They read about crimes in offender files, they view videos of assaults or riots for training purposes, they hear or read about assaults on the news, they witness such assaults firsthand, or they themselves become victims of violence. Gradually, this exposure, coupled with the high stress and need for continual watchfulness, breeds symptoms of psychological disturbance such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and secondary traumatic stress. As one of you said to me, “What I come across at work wounds my soul.” Read more…

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