Annotated Bibliography Stressors for Corrections Staff “Corrections work of all disciplines, whether in institutional or in community-based settings, has been recognized as being exceptionally stressful. Traditionally, this has been regarded as a consequence of staff’s exposure to multiple organizational stressors and also operational stressors. Examples of organizational stressors are role problems, demanding interactions with other staff or justice-involved individuals, and low organizational support. Examples of operational stressors are shift work, high workloads, and mandatory overtime. The effects of these types of stressors have also been thought to result in “burnout.” Recently, a more insidious source of occupational stress has been recognized in the corrections profession—that of exposure to potentially traumatic events and material. Such exposure can be direct (first hand), such as while responding in person to incidents of violence, injury or death, or being assaulted on the job. Traumatic exposure can also be indirect (second hand), such as while hearing about or viewing videos of critical incidents or reading presentencing investigation reports. “This annotated bibliography was developed in an effort to provide current and useful information to corrections professionals regarding possible effects of traumatic and other high-stress exposure on staff health and wellness.
Putting Staff First: Wellness as a Strategic Priority
The National Institute of Corrections provides a virtual conference on staff wellness. Oregon Department of Corrections Director Colette S. Peters kicks off the conference with her keynote address. Corrections staff are tasked with protecting the public and helping change the lives of those in custody, oftentimes at the expense of their own health and wellbeing. Despite the severity of this issue, it has received little national attention. Ms. Peters will discuss the research that has begun in Oregon and the strategic plan to both raise awareness in Oregon and stretch the efforts nation-wide.
Corrections Staff Fellowship
We as corrections professionals play a vital role in the criminal justice system. We help protect our communities through the supervision of probationers and parolees, and in the incarceration of offenders. We face an awesome task in corrections; one that requires a tremendous amount of skill, endurance and wisdom. Our profession demands integrity. As a former Associate Pastor of a Christian Church, and in more than forty years in the criminal justice profession as a deputy sheriff, probation officer and parole agent, it has been Mike Raneses’ experience that our vital mission of community protection in Corrections can best be accomplished by staff who are well-grounded in their faith and values, and who can integrate their faith and values in their chosen career.
It is this experience that has brought about the vision for Corrections Staff Fellowship. Through CSF, staff are encouraged to do more than take their faith to work – they are encouraged to put their faith to work. In the Bible we read, “… it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all– it is dead and useless.” (James 2:17). Staff are asked to consider “What would Jesus do” if He had their job assignment? How would Jesus walk the tier at San Quentin State Prison, relate to his probationer, or conduct a parole search? To be effective, our faith must make a practical difference in the way we do business as corrections professionals.
Organizational-Level Response and Planning for Staff Compassion Fatigue/Vicarious Trauma
Summary: It takes courage to help child and adult victims of sexual abuse, assist survivors of acts of terrorism and mass violence, fight fires that may have taken people’s lives, or respond to shootings and other crime scenes. It also takes commitment to do this work in spite of the personal, physical, emotional, and mental impact it can have. This session will focus on how OVC’s Vicarious Trauma Toolkit (VTT) can help you to—
Conduct an assessment of your agency’s current capacity as a vicarious trauma-informed organization.
Bring leadership and staff together to review your existing capacity, identify gaps, and prioritize needs. Locate resources and tools in the VTT and Compendium of Resources to help meet your identified needs. Develop a comprehensive plan to become a vicarious trauma-informed organization that addresses exposure to single incidents of crime or violence and acts of mass violence and terrorism.