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Stress Among Probation and Parole Officers and What Can Be Done About It

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2005
13 pages
This booklet summarizes the findings of a study of the causes of stress among probation and parole officers, the ways they cope with the stress, and promising stress-reduction programs for these community corrections officers.
The major sources of stress for community corrections officers are high caseloads, excessive paperwork, and deadline pressures. These factors combine to limit the time officers have to devote to individual clients. Officers cope with this stress by taking "mental health" days off from work, requesting transfers, or retiring early. Physical exercise is the most immediate positive choice of officers for coping with stress. A program that helps prevent and relieve officer stress can save money, improve staff performance, and enhance the safety of officers and the public. It may also relieve stress on support staff, supervisors, and officers' family members. Agency administrators can tailor such programs to their agency's needs. Programs may be conducted in-house, or contractors can be hired. Some existing programs emphasize prevention, and others focus on the management of critical incidents. Some use peer supporters, and others use licensed mental health professionals. Additional program features include counseling and training in stress-management techniques, such as regular physical exercise. 8 notes, suggestions for additional reading, and appended brief descriptions of the nine stress reduction programs studied

Date Published: June 1, 2005