The suicide rate at the Department of Correction, Massachusetts is at an alarmingly high rate with the victims being the correction officers themselves. The problem has grown to the extent where it has drawn the attention of lawmakers and even forced the government to form a commission to study the phenomenon that occurs in these prisons.
It has come to the attention of Natasha Frost who has started the first-ever observational study based on suicide among correctional officers. She is a criminology and criminal justice professor at Northeastern University and is partnered by Carlos Monteiro, a Northeastern University alumnus. She has stated that prison workers are themselves mentally affected by working in prisons. The stress resulting from working in such a place has been highlighted as the major factor.
As a part of their study, the researchers have visited the state’s 16 prisons daily to get insights from officers. They’ve stated that the idea is no to find out the reasons why so many have previously taken their own lives but to trace the thought process of such victims. They want to understand the suicidal thoughts that one thinks of before ending it all. They’ve found out that several of the officers are stressed by other troubles in life besides work as well. However, the team is careful enough to not draw any conclusions as of now when the study was in its nascence.
They have received the ‘Public Safety Partnership Award” in recognition of their work from the Department of Correction. This has greatly motivated the duo as they plan to take their study beyond the state boundaries. Her first objective as a part of this study was to find out whether confinement in a prison prevents or contributes to crime. As per her research, prisons are “problematic” to society, the cost of running them is high, and effectiveness is largely relative.