Working in a correctional facility can severely impact health and well-being. This probably isn’t news to you.
Being on high alert for long periods causes your body to prepare for a physical response to a threat that may or may not happen. Repeat this over a long period, and your nervous system adapts. You’re stuck on high alert.
In this state, your body suppresses long-term processes that maintain health and wellness. You suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally.
To avoid the damaging consequences of being on high alert, you have to manage stress in the moment and discharge the prepared response.
Yoga is one of the most effective ways to
manage stress. We invite you to give it a try.
Impacts of stress on COs:
- 31% of COs will be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- The average lifespan of a CO is just 58 years, and a CO lives, on average, only 18 months after retirement.
- Compared to the general population, COs have higher divorce and substance-use rates, and a CO’s risk of suicide is 39% higher than all other professions combined.
How yoga can help:
- Research has shown that 10 weeks of trauma-informed yoga can reduce symptoms of PTSD.
- Yoga provides a way to reduce the effects of trauma without having to talk about the trauma.
- Research suggests that yoga can improve sleep quality, reduce stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
(Sources: www.traumacenter.org and https://www.nccih.nih.gov)
A 2019 study found that after participation in training that included a trauma-sensitive yoga class, 76% of COs surveyed said they believed yoga and meditation could “absolutely” help them with their job.
These handouts are developed for general distribution. They contain short practices that can be done in a cell and without a yoga mat or other equipment designed for specific purposes. They are done in B&W with line art drawings for easy, inexpensive printing double-sided on a single sheet of paper.
- Yoga for Anxiety and Emotional Regulation
- Yoga for Depression and Increasing Energy
- Chair Yoga for a Healthy Immune System
- Chair Yoga for a Healthy Immune System (Youth)
- Yoga for Improved Sleep (English & Spanish Versions)
The files are PDFs contained in a ZIP archive.
Healing Harm: Creating a Holistic Support Network in Dorchester County, MD Jails
Join us as Director Joseph Hughes and Sue Radcliffe share their experience creating a holistic support program for people in Dorchester County Jails; both people incarcerated there and the officers and staff who support them.
Director Joseph Hughes and Sue Radcliffe share their experience creating a holistic support program for people in Dorchester County Jails; both people incarcerated there and the officers and staff who support them.
Since being appointed the position of Director in 2017, Joseph Hughes has implemented practices in the jail such as a family-friendly visitation area, extended visitation for children, an accredited GED program, and the position of a re-entry coordinator. He implemented Medical Assistance Treatment for people currently incarcerated in the county’s detention centers and those being released.
Susan Radcliffe (LCSW-C, RYT 200) earned her Master’s of Social Work from Yeshiva University. She is a trauma-trained mental health therapist with the Dorchester County Health Department and Connecting For Success (CFS) program located in Cambridge, Maryland. This program provides services for children and families impacted by incarceration via mental health treatment and programming in the detention center.
Yoga for Youth and Correctional Staff in 2022
I can understand how easy it might be to feel discouraged or even outraged right now with our society so divided. I have a reason to hope, though. Since I began offering yoga in the youth detention center in Little Rock, Arkansas, I’ve witnessed our participants and staff come together in our practices with shared…
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Digital Interview Series with Director of Corrections and a Mental Health Therapist
Healing Harm is our new Transformative Justice interview series and we are honored to host our first guests. Joseph Hughes, a Director of Corrections and Sue Radcliffe, a Mental Health Therapist to join us in discussion of how they are creating a Holistic Support Network in Dorchester County, MD Jails. They are offering yoga to…
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Empathy training for parole officers reduces recidivism by 13%
Heavy caseloads, job stress and biases can strain relations between parole and probation officers and their clients, upping offenders’ likelihood of landing back behind bars.On a more hopeful note, a new UC Berkeley study suggests that nonjudgmental empathy training helps court-appointed supervision officers feel more emotionally connected to their clients and, arguably, better able to…
Continue Reading Empathy training for parole officers reduces recidivism by 13%
Law Enforcement Officers and Trauma, a Public Health Crisis
I recently spoke with Sue Radcliffe, LCSW-C, a mental health therapist with the Dorchester County Health Department that also provides yoga to incarcerated people and correctional staff. She shared a recent article she wrote and published, that highlights the mental, emotional and physical health challenges that impact too many correctional officers. While the statistics are…
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