DWCO was founded in 2003 by a handful of caring citizens in Florence, CO, a city whose county housed 12 prisons – four federal and eight state, and a county jail. These citizens became aware of how psychologically and spiritually toxic the correctional work environment could be when Caterina Spinaris, Ph.D., LPC, began to offer professional counseling to corrections staff and their families in 2000. It became evident that staff health and functioning could be harmed due to: repeated exposure to work-related incidents of violence, injury and death; mistrust of and conflict with other employees; a culture of “toughness;” understaffing; and a negative public image. It also appeared that, on the whole, neither staff nor their adult family members received coping-skills and other wellness training to handle the impact of traumatic and other high-stress work conditions on their professional and personal lives. DWCO staff felt called to respond to this glaring need, and began to develop and offer trauma-specific wellness trainings and other resources for staff and families, and to conduct research in correctional agency wellness. Thankfully, these efforts continue to expand today both nationally and internationally.

Our Executive Board

Joan Shoemaker


Stephen B. Walker


Ted Tudor


T.C. Brown


Brian Koehn


Mallory Fairless


Our Team

Caterina Spinaris, Ph.D., LPC

Caterina Spinaris, Ph.D., LPC

Founding Director

Caterina G. Spinaris, PhD, LPC, is DWCO’s founding director and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Colorado. Her professional experience with correctional staff and their family members involves training thousands of staff across the United States; setting up and overseeing a 24/7 hotline for corrections staff and their families for eight years; offering professional counseling services to this population for 14 years; and conducting anonymous online surveys with correctional staff. Caterina writes curriculum that addresses correctional staff wellness issues, based on research conducted by Desert Waters and others, and also based on her clinical experience with this population. She originated the umbrella term Corrections Fatigue to describe the combined and interactive effects of correctional occupational stressors; developed the Corrections Fatigue Process Model, a data-driven theoretical model that aims to explains the cumulative impact of occupational stressors on correctional staff; and designed the Corrections Fatigue Assessment™. Caterina authored the course From Corrections Fatigue to Fulfillment™ (CF2F), and seven other correctional staff wellness courses, six of which are also offered as Instructor trainings with certification. In 2016, the CF2F course received the Commercial Product Award of Excellence by the International Association of Corrections Training Personnel. Caterina has authored and co-authored four books on correctional staff wellness issues, and numerous articles. Recently, Caterina has been involved in Desert Waters’ development of Safety Net Wholistic Correctional Staff Wellness Accreditation Program. Based on her observations, Caterina is convinced that there can be no true prison reform without staff wellness, and that there can be no staff wellness without prison reform. That is why she is an ardent believer in the importance of pursuing both with equal fervor and determination.

Leadership Team

Steven Mayotte, B.Des., LEED AP

Chief Operating Officer

Daria Mayotte, M.A.

Deputy Director
Master Instructor

Stephanie Rawlings, M.Sc.

Chief Innovation Officer
Master Instructor

Brent Parker, B.A.

Master Instructor
Senior Advisor

Team Members

Angel Allen-Martin, MSW, LMSW

Master Instructor

Chris Stanley

Master Instructor

Corrin Hogan

Administrative Assistant / Bookkeeper

Gregory R. Morton, M.S.

Master Instructor

Jeffrey Rude

Master Instructor

Judy Myers

Executive Assistant

Nicole Brocato, Ph.D.

Research Psychologist

Steve (Howie) Howerter

Master Instructor

Justin Stevens

Justin Stevens

Master Instructor

Our Annual Report

DWCO 2022 Annual Report

Facts & Info

Desert Waters Correctional Outreach