Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO)
Founded in 2003 in Florence, Colorado, Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO) is a 501(c)(3) community-based tax-exempt corporation.
To increase the occupational, personal and family well-being of staff of all disciplines within the corrections profession.
WHY DWCO EXISTS
DWCO came into being to specifically address the well-being of corrections workers at the individual, family, and organizational levels.
Corrections staff are exposed to chronic negativity, violence and other potentially traumatic or emotionally toxic events. Over time such hardships take their toll on the body, soul and spirit of corrections employees. They adversely impact their families also in a multitude of ways.
DWCO reaches out to corrections professionals and their significant others to offer healing, wellness tools, and strategies for success in their personal and professional lives.
Since the focus of DWCO is on corrections staff and families, it does not provide services to offenders or their families.
Desert Waters Correctional Outreach is a recipient of Pikes Peak CFC Funds Agency #82466 & Colorado Combined Campaign Agency #3908
Caterina G. Spinaris, Ph.D., LPC, Executive Director
Serving as the Executive Director of Desert Waters Correctional Outreach (DWCO), Caterina G. Spinaris is a licensed professional counselor in the State of Colorado, with over 27 years of clinical experience. She holds her B.Sc. in Psychology, University College London, England, a Ph.D., in Psychology from the University of Calgary, Canada, and a Master’s in Counseling from Lesley College, off-campus learning site, Denver, Colorado. She has been training and treating corrections staff and their family members since the year 2000. Caterina is the author of the book Staying Well: Strategies for Corrections Staff which was published in 2009 by EMIS.
Some of Caterina’s responsibilities as Executive Director of DWCO, include:
- Trainings: Caterina develops and offers a broad spectrum of corrections-specific skill-building trainings in the areas of Corrections Fatigue prevention and intervention, effective interpersonal skills, and leadership skills for correctional employees.
- Research and Development: Caterina conducts research studies on occupational health in corrections, and develops assessment and intervention tools and programs.
- Counseling: She offers counseling for individuals working in corrections and their significant others. Her area of specialty is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Michael D. Denhof, Ph.D., Director of Research
Michael D. Denhof, Ph.D., is a clinical research psychologist who has been working in correctional and mental health settings for over 12 years. He has extensive experience in inmate mental health and risk assessment, general clinical-behavioral health and outcomes research, and the development of analytical software applications that automate and streamline sharing of assessment information and facilitate data-driven and evidence-based decision-making. Mike has played a lead role in the development of clinical-behavioral assessment models for the State of Colorado, for multiple large behavioral health organizations (BHOs), and for numerous mental health centers, jails, and different types of correctional organizations.
In addition to research projects, Mike’s major role with Desert Waters is to help capture, expand, and disseminate, on a much wider scale, Desert Waters’ unique expertise through affordable web-based products and services, including web-accessible assessment and analytical tools, and workplace health/functioning intervention programs.
Mike is the author of a multi-scaled offender assessment instrument, the SONAR-I® for Corrections, designed to facilitate optimal handling of inmate risks and needs and reduce environmental volatility. Mike is also developing a variety of web-based assessment and analytical reporting tools, jointly with Dr. Spinaris, to facilitate: (1) identification of Corrections Fatigue, (2) identification of key conditions of corrections workplace functioning, (3) reduction and prevention of Corrections Fatigue, and (4) promotion of optimally functional corrections workplace environments/climates/cultures.
Greg Morton, Training Manager
Greg Morton has worked for Oregon State Corrections nearly his entire adult life—a total of 34+ years—after graduating from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He started his career as a corrections professional at the Oregon State Penitentiary, working as an academic counselor in 1975. His focus in Staff Training/Employee Development began shortly thereafter. Greg served as the department’s Leadership Program manager and as Staff Training Administrator until 2006. He was the DOC’s Labor Relations Administrator until he retired in 2009.
Greg’s concern for the professional and life skills of the corrections workforce has been his motivation throughout his career. He has instructed at the university and community college levels. In addition to his current role with DWCO, Greg is a part-time inmate Parenting class facilitator, working in the same Penitentiary building as he did in 1975 when his career began. Greg is grateful to his wife, also a corrections professional, for understanding and supporting his continued activity and need for connection and meaning.