Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement, Part 1

With increased awareness of the effects of stress, adversity, and trauma on people’s lives, criminal justice professionals are considering what this means in their correctional settings. There is growing evidence of the effects of child neglect and abuse (as well as other forms of traumatic stress) on the health, mental health, and behavior of men and women residing in jails and prisons. While research and clinical experience indicate that there is a high incidence of trauma and co-occurring problems among these groups, corrections professionals struggle to provide them with effective management and services. It is particularly challenging when many institutions have staff who are affected by trauma in their personal and work lives.

Organizational stress and trauma create additional challenges in the environment and culture of the workplace. Moving from trauma informed to trauma responsive to implement trauma-informed care can be challenging. The webinar speakers have extensive experience in delivering trauma informed education and services to the men and women in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as other state and local agencies nationally. This webinar series guides administrators and correctional staff through the process and will provide updated information and research.

Webinar Objectives:
The primary goals of this three-part webinar series are to:

  • Provide criminal justice, mental health, and substance use treatment professionals with up-to-date information regarding trauma-informed care within the criminal justice system.
  • Provide information on the lifelong effects of trauma, recovery needs, and implementation of trauma-focused treatment interventions (including research findings).
  • Provide an outline for the process of becoming a trauma-informed organization.

Each of the sessions includes discussion of content, polling and video clips, a question and answer period as well as a list of resources referenced during the presentations.

Part 1: This session provides a series of definitions, a brief research overview, the implications of adverse childhood exposures (ACEs) and the potential for lifelong impact. It further addresses the relationship between trauma and substance use disorders (SUD), the relationship between trauma and violence, and the complex needs of recovery.


  • Maureen Buell, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
  • Stephanie Covington, Ph.D., LCSW, Co-Director, Center for Gender and Justice
  • Nena Messina, Ph.D., Research Criminologist at UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and President of Envisioning Justice Solutions, Inc.

The Association between ACEs and Criminal Justice Involvement [Webinar]