Guards to Guardians

This program was created to honor the people who put their lives on the line in order to provide safety.

Where those we ask to be super-human... can simply be human.

Correctional Officers put walls between themselves and the danger. While helpful to the work, anyone in these conditions can end up locked out of emotions, positive or negative, intimacy and natural tenderness. We provide the tools to unlock the humanity required to live better. Why?

Guards to


Officer's Stories

We’ve had the opportunity to interview tens of officers to share their story of their humanity underneath the uniform. Revealing stories of not only how they have helped keep society safe but also how they have helped restore dignity to those who have committed crimes. Here are their stories:

From Guard to Guardians
# Guards to Guardians

Are you a former or current Correctional Officer?
We want to hear from you. Send us your story.

I will never fully understand why we had to view them as a number instead of a person.

— Chris Bowser, retired Internment Resettlement Specialist

Preview the Corrections Officer Booklet: Guards to Guardians

Click here to download a preview.

Guards to Guardians Booklet

The True Cost of Being a Correctional Officer​


The life expectancy of a corrections officer. Ref

Depression is a way of life for law enforcement personnel

In fact, more than 1/3 of officers report that someone in their lives has told them they have become more anxious or depressed since they started working in corrections. Fully 28% report often or sometimes feeling down, depressed or hopeless, and 38% have little interest or pleasure in doing things. Ref

Correctional officers generally do not think they are making a positive difference.

Less than half agreed that they positively influence other people’s lives through their work, and the same proportion think prison residents are no better prepared to become law-abiding citizens when they leave prison than they were when they came in. Ref


more likely to consider suicide than the average American.

Prisons are violent workplace

More than half of the officers report that violent incidents are a regular occurrence at the prison where they work. Moreover, 80% report that they have responded to at least one violent incident in the last 6 months, and 10% report being seriously injured while responding to these incidents. In total, 17% of correctional officers report they have been seriously injured on the job, 48% have feared they would be injured, 63% have seen or handled dead bodies at work, and 73% have seen someone seriously hurt or killed while on the job. Ref

1 in 3

have experienced at least one symptom of PTSD

Ten percent of correctional officers have thought about killing themselves.

The rate of suicidal ideation is even higher for retired correctional officers (1 in 7). Of those who say they have thought about suicide, 31% report thinking about it often or sometimes in the past year. However, 73% haven’t told anyone, meaning that many are suffering in silence. Ref

There are serious downstream effects of corrections work

The stress of working in corrections spills over to the families, friends and loved ones: 41% believe they would be a better parent, spouse or partner if they did not work in corrections; 53% report being harsher or less trusting towards friends and family since they took this job and 65% of officers say someone in their lives has told them they judge others more harshly since beginning their career in corrections. Ref

The Why

It may seem that only the people who are incarcerated are in prison, or that the people who are “caught” face difficulties, but what about those people who are so honorable, they willingly go into institutions and put their lives on the line in order to provide safety?

This program recognizes that, in reality, the prison system is made up of relationships. It is understanding that, in a prison, it is not only the prison residents, but the Correctional Officers who experience the realities of incarceration. This program was created to build a systemic freedom and to do this by honoring the noble heart of the Correctional Officer.

We want to do this by being honest, and by admitting that as a culture, we have abandoned the Correctional Officer as well as the prison resident. While they must be strong and stoic on their job, it is our work to help lift their burden. Who ensures the safety of the Correctional Officer, while they are ensuring that we feel safe? Who will pay attention to the burden and the stress that they carry in the name of duty — a duty that goes well beyond what humans are meant to hold alone? This program is our “thank you” to the Correctional Officer. And our apology for what we left them to hold.

Live Updates

May 3, 2022
If I had a single life sentence I’d still be struggling though Instead of seeking the Lord. I’d be aiming for ‘dem milestones Seeing what I could do for me, myself, and I to get an out date soon. Instead He gave me five sentences well past my lifetime.
May 3, 2022
Remember what we put in is what we get out. It’s up to us to do the work, and then to apply the work. Yes, we may be incarcerated, but we have the power to be more free than those in the free world.
April 12, 2022
After picking up the garden crew from their housing unit, I remind them that Sheriff Kendall begins his beekeeping class for them today. They are energized by this sense of purpose, learning a new skill and bonding as a team in the care of these bees.
March 9, 2022
I was first introduced to the Art of the Soulmaking project by my mom, Tami Jade, who is an inmate at the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla Prison.
February 9, 2022
The first two groups set their mats down when they arrived in the room and my third group, a combination of women 65+, some in wheelchairs and some with their yoga mats, formed a semi-circle for class.
November 3, 2021
Hello again Laura, I cannot believe another week has passed already. I am saddened that there are only two weeks left to the group. But I wholeheartedly intend to keep up the practices and tools I’ve re-incorporated into my daily life since beginning this course.