California Corrections Officers Take Part in Study to Assess Their Mental Health Needs
Date:  06-16-2017

One in nine respondents reported thinking about or attempting suicide
From The Marshall Project:

The relentless pressures of prison life on inmates’ mental health — gang violence, solitary confinement and arbitrary discipline, among them — have long been subjects for psychological and academic research. But the cumulative impact on corrections officers, including an apparent high rate of suicide, has rarely been studied in depth.

That is about to change. In California, one of the nation’s largest prison systems — housing about 130,000 people on a given day— the union of active and retired corrections officers is participating in an extensive study over the next few years to assess the need for permanent mental health services for the state’s roughly 26,000 officers.

“We do a decent job with saying that ‘this system messes with the incarcerated, this system impacts their lives’, but what we don’t do, what we don’t say is, ‘what’s the impact that this job is having on the correctional officers?’ ” said Stephen B. Walker, the director of governmental affairs for the union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. According to association data, the suicide rate for its members, in 2013, was 19.4 deaths per 100,000, compared with 12.6 deaths in the general U.S. population. “We are finally saying, there is something wrong and we need to fix this,” Walker said. Continue reading >>>