Correctional officers (COs) play a pivotal role within the wider prison system as they are tasked with numerous responsibilities designed to ensure that their respective facilities are operating efficiently. As the front-line bureaucrats of the prison institution (Lipsky, 2010), COs are charged with supervising the activities of inmates, enforcing rules and regulations, affording offenders access to social services, and perhaps most importantly, maintaining order (Crawley, 2004; Kauffmann, 1989). They are also tasked with responding to administrative demands; searching cells for drugs, weapons, and other contraband; and intervening to resolve potentially violent disputes among inmates (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013).
Background: Correctional Officers show signs of adverse health early in their careers. We evaluated the impact of a one-year peer health mentoring program for new officers based on
a Total Worker Health® approach; Conclusions: A continuous peer health mentoring program seemed protective to new officers in reducing burnout and also declines in BMI and hypertension. Short-term physical health markers in younger officers may not be an index of psycho-social effects. A participatory design approach is recommended for a long-term health mentoring program to be both effective and sustainable.
This webinar will present the findings from a two-year cooperative agreement with NIC and national correctional stakeholders. Presenters will share current and best practices and propose innovative solutions to reduce correctional staff trauma and organizational stress in U.S. jail and prison settings based on the findings from a scoping review and national survey.
Whether working in an institutional or community corrections environment, corrections professionals are faced with a myriad of challenges daily, from the populations we work with, responsibility to peers and leaders, queries from the media and public, and demands from friends and family. While the work can be immensely rewarding, individuals entering this profession should be aware of both the tremendous opportunities that exist as well as the risks.