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Corrections Officers Cite 'Deadly Wellness Crisis' Behind Bars

A group representing corrections officers called One Voice United contends that a "deadly wellness crisis is sweeping through our correctional system" that is harming the mental health of staff members of prisons and jails. A report issued by the group last week calls for a campaign "to transform our system of incarceration from a broken one that harms everyone it touches to a system that is rooted in human dignity." The organization published a summary of a program it held this spring. Moderator Simon Greer said that on average, three corrections officers each week take their own lives.


Greer added that corrections officers suffer with a 34 percent post-traumatic stress disorder rate, which is higher than any other profession. Corrections officers have a life expectancy of about 59 years as compared to about 75 years for the average American, "which means you sacrifice about 15 years of life expectancy just because you go to work in corrections," Greer said, adding that, "Corrections officers will tell you ... we know what we signed up for, it's tough job, we get that’. But no one said you have to give up 15 years of your life for making this your career ... it’s a crisis." The group issued a series of recommendations, including a drive to address "the nationwide staffing shortage that is wreaking havoc on everyone behind the walls."

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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