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Post-traumatic stress disorder

Community supervision officers work with individuals under supervision for a sustained period of time, placing officers in a situation where they are exposed to considerable stress and secondary trauma. While a great deal of research has been conducted on risk/need factors and supervision outcomes of individuals served by these agencies, less is known about community supervision officers themselves and how they manage the stress associated with their position. This White Paper examines the stress experienced by community supervision officers.

Please see related publications: Community Supervision Staff Trauma and Organizational Stress Needs Assessment (033336) and Community Supervision Staff Trauma and Organizational Stress: Summary of Findings (033337)

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“The purpose of this study was to estimate prevalence rates for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and comorbid PTSD/depression in corrections professionals, and to explore the relationship between particular disorder conditions and a variety of variables including job type and numerous indices of health, well-being, and life functioning (e.g., number of doctor visits, number of absences from work, extent of substance use, satisfaction with life, job functioning, and other variables)” (p. 4). The total number of assessment items was 152 spread over four assessment tools: Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21); Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C); Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS); and the Impact on Functioning Scale (IOFS). Overall, 25.7% of the respondents were depressed with 67% of them having PSTD. Security/custody personnel had the highest rates with mental health care providers being second. Those individuals with comorbid PTSD/depression experienced the worst health-related outcomes.

Depression, PTSD, and Comorbidity in United States Corrections Professionals: Prevalence and Impact on Health and Functioning Cover

The purpose of this study was to estimate current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence rates among United States’ corrections professionals, and explore indices of psychological., physical., and occupational status and functioning in relation to PTSD. Using a secure online application, a nationwide sample of corrections professionals (N=3599) completed the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C), the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), the Impact on Functioning Scale (IOFS), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Participants responded to questions indicating the degree to which they witnessed or experienced incidents of workplace violence, injury and death (VID) and related emotions. Participants also responded to questions about health-related behaviors and conditions, and functioning. Results indicated an overall PTSD prevalence rate of 27% for symptoms experienced over the past 30 days. Analysis of subgroups indicated that males and security/custody personnel had significantly higher PTSD rates than females and nonsecurity staff, respectively. In reference to the entire sample, PTSD-positive participants reported significantly 1) more exposure to workplace VID and negative VID-related emotions, 2) higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, 3) more absenteeism, health services utilization, health conditions, and substance use, and 4) lower levels of pro-health behaviors, life functioning, and life satisfaction. Implications and future areas of research are discussed

Do you want to develop a better understanding of the veteran-specific resources available to both criminal justice agencies and to veterans? Would you like to improve your knowledge of the support available to criminal justice agencies to help build veterans’ programming? Veterans transitioning from the military to the civilian world may have unique underlying conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other veteran-specific mental health concerns.  If veterans with these conditions get involved with the criminal justice system, it can result in complex and challenging situations. Fortunately, there are veteran-specific resources available for use throughout the justice system continuum.  Agencies that recognize the distinctive qualities associated with military service and the abundant resources available to those who have served can significantly foster future success for these veterans as they navigate the criminal justice system and return to being productive members of society. Veteran-specific resources are being used by the field and are helping agencies with their programmatic efforts to help reduce recidivism for justice-involved veterans, improve public safety, and improve outcomes for veterans. 

Learning Objectives:

  • During this 90-minute interactive webinar, participants will:
  • Develop an understanding of resources available to veterans and criminal justice agencies;
  • Learn about outreach, assessment, referral, and links to services and how to partner with federal agencies to build programs for veterans.
  • Get tips on how to request technical assistance and access resources from the National Institute of Corrections.

Original broadcast: November 9, 2021 10am PT / 11am MT / 12pm CT / 1pm ET for 90 minutes.


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