Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO) is a Colorado-based 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with the mission to promote the occupational, personal and family well-being of the public safety workforce through the provision of support, resources and customized data-driven solutions. While serving all branches of public safety, Desert Waters specializes in the wellness of corrections agencies and corrections staff of all disciplines.



Research shows that public safety personnel are negatively affected by their routine exposure to occupational stressors. The toll of such repeated exposure includes impaired job performance, high sick leave use, professional misconduct, high turnover, physical illnesses, mental health conditions, and suicide. These negative consequences inevitably translate into multi-faceted high costs to individuals, families, and organizations. Data-driven strategies to counter the toll of occupational stressors and to promote staff resilience are both a moral imperative and a means to reduce individual and agency costs and liability. (Click the Estimate costs…tab above for additional info)



The following are expected beneficial outcomes of implementing Desert Waters’ research-driven materials:

  • INCREASED psychological preparedness; inoculation against traumatic stress and other high-stress events; professionalism; wellness-promoting activities; resilience; and overall health of the workforce culture.
  • REDUCED risk of developing enduring signs of Corrections Fatigue¹ or mental health conditions; absenteeism; staff turnover; risk of suicide; and agency litigation potential.



Desert Waters’ materials, often implemented systemically as a package, include:

1. Desert Waters’ signature course, “From Corrections Fatigue to Fulfillment™” , offered as four-day Instructor Training with Certification, and also as a one-day course, in customized versions, to staff of adult institutions, probation and parole, juvenile facilities, juvenile community services, those working with sex offenders in any capacity, and new hires.

2. Assessment instruments, scientifically designed, corrections-specific, valid and reliable — the Corrections Fatigue Status Assessment™-version 5, the Corrections Staff Resilience Inventory™, the Depression Danger Scale™, and the Violence Injury and Death Exposure Scale™-version 2.

3. Book “Staying Well : Strategies for Corrections Staff”, 2nd Edition, by Dr. Spinaris. Foundational principles of corrections staff wellness at work and at home.

4. Book “Passing It Along : Wisdom from Corrections Staff.” Articles on wellness and professionalism written by veteran corrections employees, compiled and edited by Dr. Spinaris.

5. Workbook “Processing Corrections Work” by Dr. Spinaris and Mr. Morton. Ideal for inoculating new recruits against Corrections Fatigue by reinforcing, through repetition, professional fulfillment and self-care habits. Also invaluable tool for veteran employees. Soon to be available in electronic format.

6. Inspirational posters of Corrections Fulfillment principles for individual and organizational health.

7. E-learning module Critical Incident First Aid This is a scientifically developed web-based educational experience for promoting the resilience and well-being of public safety personnel prior to or following exposure to work-related critical incidents.


Additional research-driven services and products are also featured on this site.

For more information, contact us at 719-784-4727 or by clicking HERE.


¹ The term Corrections Fatigue, coined by DWCO’s founder, Caterina Spinaris, PhD, denotes the combined and cumulative toll of three types of occupational stressors inherent to corrections work—operational, organizational, and traumatic stressors.


NEW! Desert Waters will be offering to corrections agencies a Holiday Staff Support Webpage with coping strategies, uplifting quotes, and other resources for staff and their families. The webpage will be available from mid-November, 2016 to mid-February, 2017. Contact us for more information.  

NEW! We gratefully and humbly report that the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel selected Desert Waters’ program “From Correctional Fatigue to Fulfillment,” authored by Caterina Spinaris, to receive the 2016 Commercial Program award of excellence.

NEW! Dr. Spinaris was a panelist at the American Psychological Association’s 124th Annual Convention, Division 41, on Corrections Officer Suicide in Denver, CO, on August 5, 2016.

NEW! Dr. Spinaris presented the workshop “Corrections Officer Suicide: Risk Factors and Protective Factors” at the American Correctional Association’s 146th Congress of Correction in Boston, MA, on August 8, 2016.

NEW! Dr. Spinaris participated in the National Institute of Corrections’ Broadcast “Corrections Stress: Peaks and Valleys.” Click HERE to access.

Passing It Along: Wisdom from Corrections Staff (Volume 1) now available. Compiled and edited by Dr. Caterina Spinaris. Click HERE for more information.

Revised and Expanded Second Edition of the book “Staying Well” by Dr. Caterina Spinaris, is now available. Click HERE for more information.

3-Part Article by Dr. Spinaris—Hazmat Suit for the Soul. Click HERE to access. 


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Estimate the Cost of Corrections Fatigue for your Organization

Corrections Fatigue Costs Estimator

The financial costs of Corrections Fatigue within an organization are significant. Empirical data shows that approximately 20% of staff members in a given corrections organization experience a “high” level of Corrections Fatigue as measured by the Corrections Fatigue Status Assessment™ (CFSA-v5). Individuals who constitute this 20% also account for a disproportionately larger number of sick days compared to the rest of the workforce. Absences due to staff calling in sick require replacement workers who are often paid time and a half to fill in. Based upon this information, the monetary cost of sick days due to Corrections Fatigue can be estimated. In the fields below, enter a typical or average rate of pay for staff in your organization and the approximate total number of employees. A figure will be generated that reflects the annual cost to your organization of unaddressed Corrections Fatigue. Note: This figure only accounts for the additional sick days taken by those scoring in the high Corrections Fatigue range compared to the rest of the employees. It does not include the cost of other manifestations of Corrections Fatigue, such as lower job performance or high turnover. And it does not include the number of additional sick days taken by those experiencing moderate Corrections Fatigue levels. Thus, it reflects only a significant but small portion of Corrections Fatigue’s costs. 

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431 East Main StreetFax:719-784-2214
P.O. Box 355
Florence, CO 81226
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