Missoula County Attorney Pens New Book on Prosecutor Trauma
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - In the wake of a number of brutal and vicious crimes in Missoula County that deeply affected law enforcement and prosecutors, Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst developed a program that deals with what she termed ‘secondary trauma’ to help them deal with and recover from the effects of such prosecutions.
That effort, which she shared with the National District Attorney’s Association, has resulted in a new book entitled ‘Thriving Through Chaos; Survival Gear for Criminal Justice Professionals’.
KGVO News reached out to Pabst for details of her new book.
After Seeing so Much Violence and Death Prosecutors Developed 'Secondary Trauma'
“I wrote a little book called ‘Thriving Through Chaos; Survival Gear for Criminal Justice Professionals’, and it was just released this week,” began Pabst. “I'm really excited because it's been so well received. It's number one in its tiny little genre, which isn't a bad thing. It's about secondary trauma and how to teach resiliency skills to folks like young prosecutors and law enforcement officers who are entering into this really difficult field that we work in.”
Pabst laid out the sometimes brutal world that prosecutors must navigate just to do their jobs.
The DA's see the worst of the Criminal Justice System with Few Ways to Cope
“We see humanity at its very worst day in and day out,” she said. “We see unimaginable cruelty, injuries, fear trauma, and hurt kids. It's that kind of trauma and pain is our works essence. We see that the folks that really identify with the scenario and really connect with the victims of these crimes tend to burn out faster.”
Pabst said prosecutors with this training are able to better communicate to the jury the true nature of the crime allegedly committed by the defendant.
“They're more successful because then they can convey what happened to the jury with more passion and more interest, however, they can't sustain that level of work. Oftentimes what we're seeing in our field of law enforcement and prosecutors, in particular, is hire rates of burnout incidents of mental health issues and substance use. We see some physical health problems, early demise, and even some suicides.”
Pabst Turned her Award Winning Program into a New Book
Pabst related how the training program turned into a suddenly successful book.
“I was in Arizona, about exactly a year ago, giving a presentation to the elected DA’s (District Attorneys) in Arizona, and all of the DA’s were there. And I was thinking, you know, it'd be a lot easier to talk about this material if I could show them because that's what I do. In a courtroom, you're always trying to show at the same time that you're speaking, so I was on the plane on the way back and started writing the book and it kind of just ended up writing itself.”
Pabst’s book entitled ‘Thriving Through Chaos; Survival Gear for Criminal Justice Professionals’ is available on Amazon.