BOSTON (WWLP) – Even though Massachusetts measures above average in suicide prevention, 16 correctional officers died by suicide between 2010 and 2015.
Now, state lawmakers want to make sure that neither inmates nor their supervisors lack proper mental health resources.
A special commission, which was formed under the 2018 criminal justice reform bill, brought together law enforcement, legislators, and academics to discuss how correctional facilities currently support officers and what more could be done to prevent suicides.
They found that many corrections workers cope with lasting negative effects due to their exposure to violence and other challenging work conditions.
About 10 percent of the 8,000 surveyed said they had experienced suicidal thoughts, including one in seven retired correctional officers.
The commission, which submitted its findings to the legislature this month, said training, counseling, and a change in overtime practices could curb the suicide rate across the state.
In order for correctional officers to assist inmates with mental health problems, lawmakers believe that they also need the tools to address their own.