Historically, corrections staff have been victims of crime, often repeatedly, during their career. They are, however, not recognized or given the same support as law enforcement or community victims. A general mindset exists that what corrections staff experience is considered an assumed “hazard” of the job. SCDC acknowledges that one of the most important factors for someone who has been victimized is the support they receive immediately following the experience.

The Division of Victim Services has implemented the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Program that provides support services for staff who are victimized and staff experiencing trauma in their personal or professional lives. The CISM Program’s goals are to:

  • Reduce the effects caused by critical events
  • Encourage effective responses to traumatic events
  • Assist in the emotional healing process
  • Promote a caring and supportive work environment
  • Help employees feel valued as an important part of the SCDC family
  • Provide training and resources about common reactions to trauma



Having emotional reactions to critical events does not show a sign of weakness, it only demonstrates that you’ve been exposed to something traumatic.  These reactions are completely normal.  Processing critical events through various CISM services will help you bounce back and return to “normal” more quickly. If not addressed, stress and emotional reactions to critical events can become problematic, eventually impacting the ability to work and cope with everyday tasks. The CISM Program offers tools and resources to help cope with the effects of traumatic events.

CISM addresses the needs of staff in a multi-faceted approach, by focusing on three specific target areas that include:

1) One-on-One Peer Support

  • Immediate crisis intervention for individual staff (one-on-one support)
  • Administers emotional first aid after a traumatic occupational event

2) Group Support-CISM Debriefings

  • Immediate (2-7 days) confidential group intervention following traumatic events for employees who experience a traumatic event together
  • Small discussion groups that address thoughts and reactions
  • Promotes effective emotional processing

3) Post Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS)

  • A three-day confidential process that addresses lingering PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) issues related to experiencing trauma
  • Small group discussions led by CISM peers
  • One-on-one with mental health professionals
  • Educational presentations

For additional questions about CISM, you may contact the CISM Program at 1-803-896-7498 or by email at


How to Become a Peer

Peer Team Applicants must go through an interview and training process before being selected for the team. An applicant must be able to uphold the high standards set for the CISM Team, to include confidentiality. Team members must be available to conduct one-on-one peer support to staff when called upon, to participate in scheduled PCIS events and quarterly trainings, as well as other various training required for certification. CISM’s goal is to have peers located at every institution in the state, every level, and on all shifts. If you would like more information about applying for the Peer Team, please contact the CISM Program at or call 1-803-896-7498.

CISM – Peer Application

Who Can Attend a PCIS?

Any staff member experiencing ongoing, long term issues following a critical event. Employees can invite their spouses/significant other or support person (above 18-years-old).

To register for the next scheduled PCIS, please contact the CISM Program at or call 1-803-896-7498.

PCIS Registration Form