Stress management strategies for correctional officers

It’s no surprise that working as a corrections officer is stressful


By Michael Pittaro, assistant professor, Criminal Justice at American Military University

Learning how to manage stress is critical for corrections officers who work in highly volatile and dangerous environments. High levels of stress can adversely impact an officer’s professional performance and personal life. As discussed in an earlier article, research studies have found very high suicide rates in the corrections field, although very little attention is paid to the topic. It’s important for officers to learn what is causing their stress and healthy strategies to properly manage stress levels.

Causes of Stress
One of the primary causes of stress for correctional officers comes from Stressworking in overcrowded and understaffed prisons. Such conditions often require officers to work mandatory overtime and inconsistent rotating shifts. Moreover, perceived and actual threats of physical violence are a daily occurrence for officers. To compound matters, ongoing and ever-changing administrative demands result in tension with coworkers and/or supervisors that contribute a surprising amount of stress.

Does it surprise you that the primary source of stress, dissatisfaction, and discontent among corrections officers is with prison administrators, not the inmate population?

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