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Memorandum

To:

Kristina Gutierrez

From:

Danielle Lias

Date: November 2, 2015

Reference: Research Proposal- Should A Wellness Program Be Implemented in the Correctional Field?
Subject: A Wellness Plan in the Field of Corrections
Distribution List: Kristina Gutierrez and Fellow Class Mates

Introduction
Upon many of our current issues here in South Texas, obesity is one of the leading. With that being said, I
have been working in Private, Federal corrections now for four years. During that time, I have
experienced many hardships with the obese staff. A few of the problems faced daily are as follows; unable
to catch their breath after sudden movement, slow reaction times, sluggish behavior, diabetic problems,
heart issues and risk of others safety. All issues stated are extremely dangerous in the correctional
environment. We depend on each other for support and strength against the incarcerated. Not being able
to respond to an emergency situation in a timely manner can be detrimental. Between the armored fights
against the detainees and the emergency situations such as fights and possible suicides, health and speed
amongst staff is vital. I care for the correctional staff and we need to ensure that each other is taken care
of.

A wellness program can easily motivate my fellow coworkers to do better by their bodies. When everyone
is on board for health and fitness, it becomes motivational and inspiring. A wellness plan could bring a
world of changes to the correctional field and ensure we can take care of each other. A plan of fitness,
food and BMI can get all staff properly informed on current health and wellness and ensure we are all a
healthy weight with healthy insides. With better health comes better performance. This can reduce the
risks of heart attack, feeling groggy, reduce the shortness of breath and reduce some diabetic side effects.
Reducing side effects of obesity can drastically improve the overall performance and moral of the
correctional staff.

Report Purpose
I have committed countless hours to the Correctional field in the past four years and I have seen about
90% of our staff struggle with obesity. I have based this report on a wellness program to begin to our staff
on the right track. Being fit in the Correctional environment plays a key process in the field. We fight our
daily battles against the detained within. We must maintain a healthy and fit life style to stay ahead of the
detained that have nothing but time to stay fit. We cannot allow ourselves to continue in such unhealthy
lifestyles and possibly think we will keep each other safe.

Background
I have seen many types of population come through the facility I am employed with, as we get further
along in the year, the crowd detained have grown stronger and smarter. I have been involved in many
emergency situations (disbursement of chemical agents, running to physical contact fights, attempts of
suicide, mental health disorders, cutting of wrists and even a death); in those times I counted on myself to
react in a timely manner without negative side effects. As we responded to the said situations, the staff
around me was anything but in shape. The officers struggled with catching of breath and good response
times. This causes for concern not only for who we are responding to but also for the staff. These types of
situations lead to double the chaos because not only are we attending to the detained but we are also
attending to the officers we put our lives in their hands.

I recently watched a tryout for our facility for the C.E.R.T team and as I observed, most of the staff were
extremely over weight and struggled with asthma and other health issues. As a business that ensures the
publics safety, we need to be in great condition and be able to face whatever may arise both mentally and
physically. I am concerned when it comes to such things, hence the reason I have written this report.

We all would like to experience less absenteeism, less grogginess, and better work productivity from our
fellow coworkers. Bringing in a Wellness program could improve each stated problem. Wellness
programs can improve your well being and overall health. Maintaining security for the staff, the detained
and the public is priority.

Report Development
In this report I will cover the importance of a Wellness program within the Correctional Environment. I
will present to you interviews performed with medical staff and I will reveal the results of the blind
survey of my coworkers. I will share with you my observations from within the environment and some
researched information. In the following order I will present the findings of my report;

Medical Staff Interviews


Blind Survey Results
Observations
Research

Summary
While gathering my information on this report, one route I took was to obtain interviews from Medical
Professionals within the Correctional Environment, the following questions were asked;

What are your thoughts on obesity in the Correctional field?


How do you feel obesity affects a Correctional Officer?
What are your thoughts on a Wellness program for Correctional Staff?
Do you feel the obesity affects the work ethic of an Officer?
What can be some positive effects of a Wellness Program?

You will find the attachment for these questions at the end of the report. I also conducted an interview
with Dr.Henry but the same questions were not asked, I asked Dr. Henry, What are your thoughts about a
Wellness Program for our Correctional Staff and how do you feel obesity effects the Officers? His
response was simple, Tasks of a Correctional officer cannot be performed as need be if obese. There
should be some sort of elimination process when hiring. Our staff is not able to respond as needed to an
emergency situation. I think Correctional staff can be categorized along with Military staff, just as they
have weight limits and standards, Corrections should have the same. Having a healthy weight would be
beneficial to this field.
The following graph is the results of the blind survey. The questions were as follows;

Have you thought about a wellness program here at the job?


Would you participate in a wellness program?
Would you like to see yourself at a point to perform better mentally and physically
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
No
Yes
Maybe

After spending the last couple of weeks paying particular attention to our staff, I have come to the
conclusion that healthy eating habits and health in general is of no concern. We need to set standards for
the field of Corrections and inform all staff of healthy eating habits and prohibit certain foods while on
duty. I have watched almost every member of the facility bring in fast food to include, burgers, saturated
tacos dripping in fat, large sodas, French fries, fried chicken etc. These eating habits concern me as I care
for our staff. After the meal of fast food is consumed, staff is groggy, weighed down and simply ready to
call it a day. The energy has decreased and motivation has left. These are the individuals we need to count
on day in and day out for a strong performance.

The research I have performed on the web has stated obesity can lead to depression, decreased energy,
absences and poor performance, all of which we need to do without. I have learned that an encouraged
Wellness Program has changed moral, health, absences and overall performance. With this being said, I
am all the more motivated to move forward with this plan.

Conclusion
Throughout this report I have shown my concern for a Wellness Program within the Correctional
Environment. I have given many reasons why we need the health and sturdiness of Correctional staff and
the importance of healthy eating. I have given reasons to be healthy at the job which is to maintain the
safety of oneself and the others around you. Maintaining good health will not only encourage a positive
working environment but a positive change in life overall.

Recommendations
I recommended the following actions to take place;
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Begin setting the motions for a wellness program at the facility.


Reach out to local health administrators to assist with the best plan for our facility.
Begin advertising for the program.
Make the Wellness Program a standard.
Ensure all new applicants are aware and participate.
Limit Energy Drinks and Sodas
Limit fast food intake
Provide fruits for staff at least once a week
Begin each work day with warm ups

Attachments
I have attached an Interview with Nurse Valerie Soto, who is a Medical coordinator at the facility I am
employed with. Her response is to the previously stated questions.

References
Cherie Berkley. (2003 September 08). WebMD, Gaining Weight on the Job. Retrieved from
www.webmd.com/diet/gaining-wight-on-the-job?page=1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wellness at Work. Retrieved from
www.cdc.gov/features/workingwellness/
Jacqui Cook. (July 2012 Feature). The Benefits of Workplace Wellness Programs. Retrieved from
https://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/ANowDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=182047
Katherine Rosenberg. (2010 April 19). Corpus Christi ranked fattest city in America by Mens Health.
Retrieved from
https://www.caller.com/news/corpus-christi-ranked-fattest-city-in-america-by-mens-health-ep360597666-316520821.html
Valerie Soto. RN. Interview
Dr. John Henry. Interview