Holding cells

Holding cells

Dave Blanchard/OPB

According to a series of studies conducted between 1997 and 2013, corrections officers in the United States experience rates of post-traumatic stress disorder on par with veterans of active military combat. They also show reduced life expectancy, and suicide rates 39% higher than the rest of the working population.

Long hours at understaffed facilities tend to compound the problem.

During the 2014 session, Oregon legislators set aside funding for 33 “overtime relief” positions intended to ease demands on corrections officers across the state. Jeff Coffman, conservative caucus chair for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) chapter in Pendleton says those positions have yet to be filled.

Last weekend, Coffman and others brought AFSCME’s concerns before Representative Greg Barreto (R-Cove) and Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena). We unpack that hearing.


  • Jeff Coffman: President of the AFSCME chapter in Pendleton, chair of the AFSCME conservative caucus, and guard at East Oregon Correctional Institution