In the News
The numbers are the problem for Associate Professor of Social Work Carrie Pettus at Florida State University. More than 12,000 people are released from state and federal prisons each week, and 77% of formerly incarcerated individuals return to prison within five years. “If you can imagine going to a doctor and they say here’s this medical intervention that works 23 percent of the time, would we continue to use that intervention? No,” Carrie Pettus, founding executive director of IJRD, said.
Pettus leads is leading a team of 70 researchers and practitioners dedicated to using science to create data-driven solutions to drive down reliance on the criminal justice system. IJRD creates models for correctional systems to assist formerly incarcerated individuals struggling to re-enter society. They train law enforcement officers on identifying and addressing post-traumatic stress disorder among their colleagues. They address trauma among men in prisons. It’s a whole-system approach to the criminal justice system.
FSU has launched a new initiative designed to amplify centers and institutes that are doing high-profile, public-impact research and connect them with donors interested in pursuing big questions. Three centers were chosen for the initial pilot phase of the initiative – IJRD, the Florida Center for Reading Research, and the Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response Center.
“Big Bets requires faculty to look several years, perhaps even a decade, into the future and articulate the major impacts their research can achieve with the infusion of a multimillion-dollar world-changing gift,” Fulkerson said. “We recognize the delta that exists between our excellent research centers and the resources needed to make a colossal impact. This initiative is an attempt to bridge that gap and connect our centers to big thinkers with big ideas about changing the world.”
IJRD and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office partnered together last week to deliver 24 sheriff’s office personnel and 25 others peer-to-peer support training. Law enforcement officers are exposed to violence and suffering every day, which can cause emotional stress and impact the brain and body, resulting in post-traumatic stress. The training, conducted by IJRD, aims to give law enforcement officers a deeper understanding of how the mind and body react to on-the-job stress and learn actionable steps they can take to help support others who are suffering.
“We are grateful to IJRD for developing this one-of-a-kind training that is critically important to our law enforcement personnel who are constantly exposed to violence and suffering, which, in turn, manifests as post-traumatic stress,” said St. Johns County Sheriff Robert A. Hardwick. “This program will ensure they have the skillset necessary to identify this stress and take action to handle it not only in themselves, but with their peers.”
About 50 people received special training as part of a St. Johns County Sheriff and Florida State University Institute for Justice Research and Development program designed to enhance mental health measures.
The training conducted on April 26 and 27 focused on peer support for co-workers during high-stress situations. About half the participants were employees of the sheriff’s office, while the other half were professionals in St. Johns County workplaces.
Ultimately, the training provided steps and measures to take if a co-worker mental health support in an office or workplace setting.
IJRD student researcher Olivia Hitchcock worked with Mercy House Director and IJRD Community Advisory Board member Dale White to conduct a program evaluation to ensure Mercy House's services were making maximum impact. Hitchcock led the review, with other participants including Good News Outreach program and volunteer coordinator Fundra Hart, program participants, experts in reentry to society after prison, faith leaders and other experts.
The Florida State University Institute for Justice Research and Development (FSU IJRD) developed this one-of-a-kind, research-backed training in partnership with the FSA because we recognized that while departments routinely focus on maintaining an officer’s physical health, there is another critical and equally important component — an officer’s mental health, including the effects of exposure to extremely stressful or traumatic events.
In the wake of this year's mass protests over police practices, Florida's Republican leaders are embracing a decidedly pro-law enforcement agenda, including support for a new training program to help officers identify and address post-traumatic stress associated with their jobs.
The program, "Resiliency Behind the Badge," has been developed by the Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida State University's Institute for Justice Research and Development, and this month earned an endorsement from House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor). "Whether it's a traffic stop or whether it's responding to a shots fired call, they can be equally dangerous situations for our police officers, and the stress that that puts on them and puts on their families can be seen when you interact with them and talk with them and learn about their service," Sprowls said during a virtual press conference.
The Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida State University’s Institute for Justice Research and Development, alongside Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr., recently announced a collaborative training program, “Resiliency Behind the Badge.”
The program is aimed at identifying and addressing post-traumatic stress in law enforcement officers across the state.
The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and Florida State University’s Institute for Justice Research and Development (IJRD), alongside Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) and Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr., today announced a collaborative new training program, “Resiliency Behind the Badge,” aimed at identifying and addressing post-traumatic stress in law enforcement officers across the state.
“Every day our law enforcement officers report for duty, they are unsure of what lies ahead. They are prepared to bravely run toward danger, witness painful and traumatic events, and risk their own lives to save others at a moment’s notice,” said Speaker Sprowls. “That unique work environment can take its toll, both physically and mentally. It is important that we take care of our law enforcement officers and provide them the support they need.”
A new training program, “Resiliency Behind the Badge,” aimed at identifying and addressing post-traumatic stress will soon be available to law enforcement officers across the state.
“While departments routinely focus on maintaining an officer’s physical health, it is equally important to address their mental health as well, including the effects of exposure to extremely stressful or traumatic events. Healthy officers are better equipped to safely serve their community,” said Carrie Pettus-Davis, PhD, MSW, founder and executive director of IJRD. “Law enforcement officers experience an extraordinary amount of stress on the job. Providing them with specific techniques to understand and manage that stress can help improve their overall well-being and response to future events.”