|Suicide – Correctional Officers Cause & Effect of Workplace Stress|
|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
Not much attention has been brought to the mental and emotional health or wellness of correctional officers. Today there are reports and surveys that are very disturbing and reveal the cause and effects of workplace stress. One can’t help but notice this impact of stress on correctional officers and how it contributes to the high rate of suicides among this workgroup.
One such person who noticed the changes was Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian who said “he started seeing the signs of stress among correctional officers as soon as he started the job. Within a year of working the job, one of his correctional officers committed suicide. We spend a lot of time focusing on the mental health of our inmates, but not enough time focusing on the mental health of the people who are caring for them,” Koutoujian said.
There appears to be little or limited research regarding this matter of correctional officer stress and associated actions. It has been revealed by the New Jersey Police Suicide Task Force in 2009 that “correctional officers commit suicide at more than double the rate of police officers and the national average.”
The survey adds that correctional officers’ life expectancy is 58 years old and that the suicide rate is 39 per cent higher than any other occupation. In addition, the report shows higher than average divorce and substance abuse according to Dr. Donald Steele, Ph.D.
In 2011, research conducted by Desert Waters Correctional Outreach surveying 3,599 corrections professionals revealed that 44 percent of those surveyed experienced some signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – 27 percent “met the criteria for full PTSD on the post-traumatic
Corrections officers deal with regular personal, family and financial issues. That’s on top of a stressful job of protecting detainees who are violent, mentally ill, untrustworthy and willing to escape or kill law-enforcement officers.
Sheriff Koutoujian convenes panel on officer stress - Cambridge, Massachusetts - Cambridge Chronicle & Tab http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/x1890066213/Sheriff-Koutoujian-convenes-panel-on-officer-stress#ixzz2Ac3C73SU
Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Car’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
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