The suicide rate among correctional officers is significantly higher than other occupations and twice as high as police officers. Yet, the topic of suicide and the stressors contributing to suicide are rarely discussed. AMU professor Michael Pittaro recently presented to correctional representatives from 14 southern states about suicide awareness and the need for a change in leadership style.
Throughout my 20-year career in corrections, I learned about the various causes of and responses to prisoner suicides, but very little (if any) attention was paid to the issue of correctional officer suicides. However, research finds that corrections officers have a suicide rate that is twice as high as the rate of police officers and the general population. Agencies must equip their EAPs to better address mental health and trauma as well as educate officers (and their families!) about indicators of suicide in officers.