A Mankato Democrat has introduced a bill meant to provide better mental health services for corrections officers and other prison staff in Minnesota.

Among other things, Representative Jack Considine said numbers from the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor show that life expectancy of custody officers is significantly shorter. “The average life expectancy in Minnesota now is 81,” he explained, “And according to the study I got from the OLA’s office custody officers fall somewhere between 67 and 70.”

Considine said the proposal would provide support for officers experiencing issues either on or off the job and it’s, “A program trying to offer more support; help people deal with issues of PTSD and anger and anxiety and things that are outside the institutions.”

Mankato D.F.L. State Representative Jack Considine.

There are many instances where such a program can increase the quality of life for prison staff, particularly those experiencing a crisis and Considine said, “I hear one horror story of a custody staffer that came home and found his fiancé had hung herself and he needed some help. He needed somebody there for him and this project hopefully will do that.”

The pilot program would begin at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater and the commissioner of corrections would have to provide a status report to lawmakers by October of 2020.