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Countering Staff Stress—Why and How
National Jail Exchange

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By Caterina Spinaris, Ph.D., and Mike Denhof, Ph.D., Desert Waters Correctional Outreach, Florence, Colorado

Workplace stress experienced by correctional staff can lead to depression, poor performance, absenteeism, “burnout,” post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even suicide. The costs to agencies, both in fiscal and human terms, can be high.

The authors of this article present information about the causes and pervasiveness of workplace stress experienced by jail staff. The stressors that affect an individual staff member can range from assaults and injuries experienced first-hand, to the hard and exacting work environment within a secure facility, to internal dynamics within the agency’s culture. Workplace stress very commonly affects not only the officers and staff themselves but also their family members.

Any agency can take steps to intervene in workplace stress and support improved wellness among its officers and other staff. This article presents a systematic method for using assessments, training, and other approaches to take action against “Corrections Fatigue” on an individual and agency level.

Also included are references to studies and training materials available from NIC and other sources.

Note — A Health and Wellness section of the NIC website is now available and provides a broad array of material on the subject. NIC also is sponsoring a virtual learning event on June 10, 2015, that will highlight this issue and provide a forum to discuss a range of topics related to the health and wellness of correctional staff.

Posted Wed, Feb 25 2015 7:00 AM by Elizabeth


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This blog is funded by a contract from the National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.