This program, originally called the Correctional Officer Maintenance Program but later changed to FOCUS (Families, Officers, and Corrections Understanding Stress) was designed to increase awareness of personal and work stress experienced by correctional personnel in Connecticut and to examine ways of managing and reducing the impact of stress.
The program involved a series of 1-hour workshops at correctional facilities. Proposed topics for the workshops included active parenting skills, stress management, effective communication skills, and high risk lifestyles. In-depth sessions were to follow the introductory workshops, and the program planned to look at the life cycle of correctional personnel and prepare educational brochures describing significant events during their careers. Focus groups were established to assess issues related to correctional officer stress, and group participants identified such concerns as favoritism, sexism, racism, and a lack of respect for correctional officers. Training sessions were then designed to address the needs of correctional officers, and information and handouts were devised for correctional officers that dealt with such topics as domestic violence, children and violence, talking to children about violence, stress, communication, finances, drugs and alcohol, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anger management. Steps involved in developing the FOCUS program are detailed.
Date Published: January 1, 2001