This Job Doesn’t Have to Kill You
Nationally, the average life expectancy for a Correction Officer and Supervisor is 58 years. In Connecticut, the average age for death of Correctional Officers and Supervisors is 66 years. While Connecticut Correctional employees are living on average 8 years longer than the national norm, their life span is 15 years shorter than other Connecticut residents.
CSEA’s Correctional Supervisors Council (CSC) has partnered with the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace and staff at the UConn Health Center to study and develop interventions to target our members’ health and wellness. The goal is simple, it is to live longer. Dr. Alicia Dugan, a professor at the UConn Health Center and Julius Preston, President of CSC, are leading our efforts on this project.
The first task was to develop an employee survey. The survey was designed to gather our members’ view of health and wellness at the Department of Correction. The survey provided an overall assessment of members’ attitudes related to health and wellness, as well as our members’ perceptions of their health behaviors. Click here to view the survey results
The results of the survey were a mix of good news and bad news. The bad news was most of our correctional supervisors (89%) recognized that they have a shorter life expectancy and two-thirds think they will die younger than workers in other jobs. Additional bad news were the high level of stress at work (82%); the lack of sleep (with most members getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night); and proper nutrition. Also of note, the average amount of overtime is 12.8 hours per week, which means a supervisor is in one of the most stressful work environments works more than 50 hours per week.
The good news is that our members want to change and work on activities that reducing stress (79.7%), improving quality and quantity of sleep(71.5%), having better eating habits (66.5%), increasing working out/physical activity (62%), and participating in weight loss (58.9%).
The next steps are to share the survey results with the membership and to develop participatory interventions to improve our members’ health and wellness. Click here to view the survey results
On final note is that State’s Health Enhancement Program, which is now finishing its fourth year, is viewed favorably by the majority of our CSC members. Nearly all our members are compliant with the requirements of the program, and almost all now have primary care doctors to manage their health care needs.
Participants for CSC are Preston, Danette Keel, Zandra Sheppard, Chuck Lemelin, Vinny Steele, and Paul DeFelice and for UConn Health Center, Dr. Dugan and graduate student Sara Namazi.