Many correctional officers struggle with a series of challenges in their personal lives, and recent studies shed light on the extent of the problem. Compared to the average of all other occupations, correctional officers spend 40 percent more days away from work due to injury or illness. They have a 30 percent higher divorce rate and a suicide rate twice that of the general population. The life expectancy of a correctional officer is 12-16 years shorter than individuals in other occupations.

Despite these grim statistics, health and wellness has not been a popular topic in the correctional field. But if this year’s theme at the Pennsylvania Association of Probation, Parole and Corrections (PAPPC)/Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association (MASCA) conference is any indicator, correctional officers and administrators are starting to take health and wellness more seriously. This year, all the presentations of this three-day conference focused on Correctional Employee Wellness – Mind, Body, and Spirit.

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Leischen Stelter, In Public Safety, June 9, 2017

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