Desert Waters Correctional Outreach, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which exists to advance the well-being of correctional staff and their families, and the health of correctional agencies through data-driven, skill-based training.
Desert Waters provides correctional agencies with customized evidence-informed products and strategies for addressing the challenge of Corrections Fatigue on the group-level in a system-wide, comprehensive manner.
Desert Waters’ interactive course “From Corrections Fatigue to Fulfillment™” (CF2F) educates corrections professionals on the nature of Corrections Fatigue, and presents foundational strategies for boosting staff well-being and professional growth, resulting in Corrections Fulfillment.
Testimonial about the CF2F course: “This program is the one I’ve been missing for 18 years. I wonder how different my life would be if I had seen this 18 years ago!” K.T. Cpl
The term Corrections Fatigue describes the cumulative and combined negative effects of correctional work stressors.
Correctional work stressors include operational stressors (technical aspects of the job), organizational stressors (“people” aspects of the job), and traumatic stressors (staff’s exposure to violence, injury or death, whether directly or indirectly).
Corrections Fatigue negatively impacts correctional staff’s personality, health and functioning, core beliefs and behaviors, and the entire workforce culture.
Severe manifestations of Corrections Fatigue can include dangerous levels of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, elevated suicidal thinking or attempts, and/or Substance Use Disorder.
While all corrections staff are vulnerable to Corrections Fatigue, Custody/Security staff experience it to the largest extent, on average.
Correctional officers meet criteria for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, suicidal thinking, and Substance Use Disorder at levels multiple times higher than the general population, and even higher than other first responders.
Testimonial about the CF2F course: “Course material is so relevant to corrections. Many in the class experience the same signs but it is not something we would discuss with one another in other settings. Glad there is material for family members because it is not comprehensible how to explain to them what happens to us in this field as we change.” T.H., Associate Deputy Warden
The book “Staying Well: Strategies for Corrections Staff,” 3rd Edition, by Caterina G. Spinaris, PhD, provides information to help staff transition from Corrections Fatigue to Fulfillment.
The book “More on Staying Well: More Strategies for Corrections Staff,” by Caterina G. Spinaris, PhD, describes more advanced strategies geared to increase the well-being and professional fulfillment of correctional professionals.
Desert Waters offers research-based and customized recommendations to correctional agencies regarding areas which constitute the most beneficial correctional staff wellness supports.
DWCO’s interactive course “True Grit: Building Resilience in Corrections Professionals™” presents evidence-informed, practical, and actionable tools for fostering resilience in corrections professionals.
Testimonial about the True Grit course: “Besides CF2F this is one of the most needed classes. It teaches us how to counteract the negative effects that our career brings. It can improve our home life and extend our life expectancy.” J.M., Lt.
In 2016, the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel awarded its Commercial Program award of excellence to Caterina Spinaris for authoring Desert Waters’ signature course “From Corrections Fatigue to Fulfillment™.”
See the DWCO Research page for downloadable publications highly relevant to corrections staff health and functioning.
Testimonial about the True Grit course: “The information included in this course is extremely important to the livelihood of all staff. These topics are exactly things we need to improve our lives at work and more importantly at home.” E.S., Lt.
The Corrections Fatigue Assessment (CFA) is designed to be administered to groups of correctional employees in order to examine the degree and areas of Corrections Fatigue in the workforce of a correctional agency.
Desert Waters now offers its certification instructor trainings virtually as well as in person.
Desert Waters’ interactive course “Towards Corrections Fulfillment: For New Staff™” gives today’s newest correctional professionals the best opportunity to prepare themselves to counter Corrections Fatigue and pursue professional fulfillment through evidence-informed prevention techniques and healthy, career-long coping skills.
The suicide rate for individuals who work as correctional officers far exceeds the rate for individuals in the general population.
Desert Waters’ highly interactive course “The Supportive Correctional Supervisor™” (TSCS) equips supervisors with research-based skills and knowledge to manage subordinates constructively, in particular subordinates who struggle with mental health issues, thus helping individual staff members and benefitting the entire agency.
Desert Waters’ Certification Course “Treating Correctional Employees and their Families™” (TCEF) educates Behavioral Health Providers on the nature of correctional work and its effects on staff’s health and wellness, thus increasing the effectiveness of mental health treatment and its use by correctional staff and their families. This certification enables Employee Assistance Programs to offer corrections-informed and corrections-sensitive services to correctional employees and their families.
Changing workplace cultures and reducing Corrections Fatigue among staff requires multi-level and multi-faceted intervention efforts, including administrative policies regarding staff wellness, leadership support, staff wellness training, trained peer support teams, and ongoing evaluations of staff wellness program effectiveness.
Testimonial about the True Grit course: “This course is a long time coming. We can now start healing for the staff.” A.H., Lt.
Subscribe to the ”Correctional Oasis,” Desert Waters’ monthly ezine for educational and research information on wellness issues of corrections staff—some shared by staff.
Testimonial about the CF2F course: “Seriously the most important training of my career.”” J.W., Sgt.
When you read the book “When Home Becomes a Housing Unit” by William Young you may laugh and you may cry, and you may see yourself in it.
Research suggests that the quality of supervisor-staff relationship and the quality of coworker-coworker relationship influence staff work health (morale, physical and emotional energy levels, and job satisfaction), which in turn strongly affects staff’s mental health, family health and physical health.
Desert Waters’ interactive course “Correctional Family Wellness™” provides information to family members about the impact of the job on their correctional employee loved one and on the rest of their family, and offers practical suggestions to addressing related commonly occurring challenges.
Desert Waters helps correctional agencies counter Corrections Fatigue in their staff by cultivating a healthier workplace climate and a more engaged workforce through targeted skill-based training and research.