Union president: CO suicides in 2019 tied for most in single year
Insufficient staffing, job-related PTSD could be contributing factors
WASHINGTON, DC — Deaths by suicide among corrections officers are on course for an “all-time record,” according to the head of their union.
ABC News reports that so far this year, 13 cases of death by suicide have been reported.
New CPL-33 Correctional Officers Union President Shane Fausey told ABC News union officials have been calling for an increase in staffing for years, which he thinks could be a contributing factor in the suicides.
"Unfortunately, the staffing crisis has led into other issues for employees of the Bureau of Prisons," Fausey said. "There's a human factor to this staffing crisis."
The Bureau of Prisons told ABC News that it has an employee assistance program in place for staff and their immediate families. The bureau also said every facility nationwide conducts suicide-prevention training and that, if a suicide occurs at a facility, more resources or support can be provided.
According to a 2018 University of California, Berkeley, study about 1 in 3 corrections officers are dealing with PTSD. Half the officers surveyed reported they don’t feel safe at work, and one-third have been affected by depression.
The Bureau of Prisons doesn’t currently track data on CO suicides and has no plans to do so, Fausey told ABC News.