A significant number of those incarcerated are affected by trauma. Since part of correctional facilities’ goals is to affect behavior change and rehabilitation, ensuring that re-traumatization does not take place within its halls must be paramount.
To discuss the concept of trauma in the correctional setting are Falcon’s David Stephens and Harmony Goorley. Dr. David Stephens is a nationally-recognized expert with 20 years’ experience in correctional mental health focusing on industry thought leadership. Meanwhile, Harmony is the technical expert for Falcon, Inc. working in the field of correctional behavioral health as a licensed clinical professional counselor, sex offender treatment provider and correctional health professional.
Together, they will unpack the nitty-gritty involved in operating a trauma-resilient jail by looking at the neuroscience involved, symptoms, and action items to implement a trauma-informed approach. Specifics they delved into include:
- An overview of trauma – what it is, who are affected by trauma in the correctional facilities, and how trauma impacts human behavior.
- Complacency as the unexpected effect when trauma exposure is chronic and prolonged, and its stages.
- How complacency manifests as lack of sense of urgency, absent-mindedness, and tendency to take shortcuts or disregard protocols and policies.
- Trauma-informed approach that reduces the likelihood of triggering trauma through trauma-informed staff and resources, services, and facilities.
- Actionable blueprint to enforce in correctional facilities through best practice trainings, communication, assertiveness and mindfulness skills, culture of self-care, and wellness programs.
- Adopting the trauma mindset where trauma is an expectation instead of an exception in the correctional setting.
- A brief discussion on the neuroscience of trauma that looks into humans’ fight-flight-freeze response and the chemical changes that occur in the brain during trauma.
- Striking a balance between order and recovery through the security-safety continuum that ensures the facility is secure while encouraging recovery by maintaining the safety and wellness of inmates and staff.
- Recommendations on how corrections can determine the balance on the security-safety continuum that works best for their facility.
- The three types of trauma and their common characteristics.
- Psychological trauma brought about by abuse.
- Cognitive or brain trauma due to brain injuries and/or concussions.
- Military trauma that exhibits both qualities of psychological and cognitive trauma for individuals who participated in combat.
- The common effects of trauma observed in inmates
- Internalized and automated feelings of unworthiness and failure.
- Overreacting to orders from correctional staff.
- Sensitivity to stimuli such as light and sound.
- Hypervigilance for violations of body, space, person, and property.
- Attention problems due to inadequate brain fuel.
- Anger without triggers or provocation.
- Where trauma may be triggered or manifested within the system.
- Best practices to minimize exposure to traumatic events through:
- Awareness and education on stress, trauma and the purpose of incarceration.
- Architecture and design considerations in the correctional facilities and its environment.
- Laying the foundation for trauma-informed services through practices and policies.
- Questions raised during the Q&A segment related to:
- Modifying existing facilities to accommodate trauma-informed-approach when it comes to interiors and furniture arrangement.
- Learning to respond and interpret behavior in a more trauma-informed manner by reframing.
- Managing time offs, breaks, and overtimes in a lean team.
- Proactive screening for military veterans.
Falcon Inc. brings together the most distinguished, credentialed leaders in the field. With dozens of specialized correctional mental health experts and hundreds of years of collective experience, Falcon Inc. exists to ensure your programs are successful and effectively address the unique challenges of your mental health populations. Grounded on proven methodology and driven by some of the best and brightest minds in the industry, we provide expertise to government and community leaders for the advancement of stronger, safer, and more innovative programs that produce real, sustainable results.
- “I appreciate the recognition of trauma within the correctional personnel as well as the offender population. It is often lost that the facility conditions that we work in and house offenders can escalate trauma induced behaviors or a sensory overload for both.” — Julie
- “I loved [the idea of] separating the staff out from the inmates. If the staff isn’t doing well, the inmates won’t be doing well either.” — Michelle
- “The high percentages of those affected by trauma are astounding. It’s not something that we can avoid.” — Michael
- “Very informative lesson, well done.” — Ronald
Resources Mentioned During Webinar