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Desert Waters’ PTSD Costs Estimator™

December 15th, 2012

Desert Waters’ PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) Costs EstimatorTM currently provides an estimate of costs to a corrections facility due to PTSD-related absenteeism, based on quantitative findings from the nationwide study of PTSD and health-related factors conducted by Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO).

Estimation of PTSD-related costs is currently based upon the following components:

·         PTSD rate of 27%. (This was found to be a stable figure, varying only minimally by geographic location, from 24.3 to 28.9%.)

·         Increased average number of sick days for PTSD-positive corrections professionals (7 more days of sick leave annually for PTSD-positive individuals compared to PTSD-negative employees).

·         Average hourly wage per employee at a facility.

·         Pay rate for fill-in staff to accommodate employee absences (e.g., time and half).

For example, for a facility with 1000 corrections staff, where the average hourly wage is $22.00, and where staff are paid “time and a half” for overtime, PTSD-related absences are estimated to cost the facility $831,600.00 per year.  Even if the posts of staff that call off sick (“bang in”) are not filled, the estimated cost to the facility is $332,640.00.

This estimation only involves one consequence of PTSD: increased absenteeism. There are numerous additional sources of costs to facilities associated with PTSD within the corrections workforce, such as increased staff turnover, disability claims, reduced productivity, high health services utilization, lawsuits, grievances, and a negative organizational culture.

As the mathematical information becomes available, the PTSD Costs EstimatorTM will incorporate additional factors to calculate PTSD-related costs to corrections agencies, such as corrections professionals’ PTSD-related turnover rates.

To customize components of the PTSD Costs Estimator™ to match your facility, please go to the PTSD Costs Estimator™ at the home page of or go to

The results of these calculations add to the sense of urgency to address PTSD-related issues among corrections professionals. Doing so is not only essential on ethical and humanitarian grounds, it is also fiscally prudent.

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