HITEC Study

Female corrections officer

HITEC IV: Health Improvement Through Employee Control for Correctional Personnel

Principal Investigator:  Martin Cherniack

Correctional officers have been a relatively understudied working population, but they are an important segment of the public safety workforce. Their job tasks, while often sedentary, are psychologically stressful and interspersed with emergency responses that often produce injuries. Working third shift and frequent mandatory overtime are common requirements, especially for new officers. There is an urgent need for evidence-based interventions to improve correctional officer safety, health and well-being.

The HITEC I and HITEC II studies of CPH-NEW (2006-2016) helped to establish national recognition of these issues and their health risks, using a Total Worker Health® perspective. HITEC III (2016-2021) featured participatory Design Teams of supervisors, corrections officers, and correctional healthcare workers, who were charged with designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions. There were successful and sustaining interventions in physical space redesign, mental health training, and structured stress reduction spaces and practices. HITEC has become a national model for best practices in supporting the health of corrections staff.

In September 2021, the State of Connecticut legislature assumed funding responsibilities for the HTIEC program. Many of the established investigators from UConn, UConn Health, and UML remain with the program.

HITEC IV continues as a model Total Worker Health program, continuing the research-to-practice pathway to sustainability, and advancing the promising interventions from HITEC III. Initiatives include the development of training programs for senior administrators, who often have limited experience with workforce-generated initiatives, and are in frequent transition. HITEC IV will sponsor revisions of the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace Participatory Program (HWPP) tools, to customize evaluation surveys, procedures, and process measures for use by trained lay personnel. HTIEC IV will maintain and promote bargaining unit engagement as a core component of participatory action. Investigators will study program effectiveness, and how best to scale the programs to full implementation in all CT Department of Corrections facilities.

Read more about the history of HITEC I, II and III studies.

Visit the CPH-NEW page Corrections Officer Health Resources.

Links to HITEC Educational Resources for Correctional Officers below:

Nutrition

Work Environment

Lifestyle

Fitness

Tool Kit