The Mental Health Effects Of Being In Prison
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, 10.6 million people go to jail and 600,000 people enter prison in the United States each year. Many justice-involved individuals have pre-existing mental health issues. And some individuals who were considered mentally healthy prior to their arrest develop mental health symptoms once they are in prison.;
Being in prison can take a serious toll on an individuals psychological well-being. New conditions often develop, and pre-existing conditions may worsen. Sadly, many justice-involved individuals are released back into the community without ever receiving any type of treatment.
Effects On Communities And Families
In addition to personal health, mass incarceration has a major effect on community health and well-being, Parsons said. People leaving jail and prison typically return to communities characterized by poor health outcomes and limited access to primary care. Controlling for a range of factors that affect health, counties with higher incarceration rates have 3 percent higher mortality rates compared with communities with low incarceration rates, he said.
Parsons described a study of New York City neighborhoods; neighborhoods with high rates of incarceration had high rates of diabetes, psychiatric hospitalizations, people who go without needed medical care, infant mortality, and premature mortality. These neighborhoods also have much higher percentages of nonwhite populations.
The effect of incarceration on families is similarly dire. One in 25 white children born in 1990 had an incarcerated parent at some point during childhood, compared with one in four black children. Children exposed to parental incarceration have an increased likelihood of long-term negative outcomes, including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, difficulties forming healthy relationships, aggressive behaviors, substance use, developmental delays, and academic difficulties. In addition, women with incarcerated family members were less healthy and reported higher rates of obesity, stroke, and heart disease. The health effects of mass incarceration are not limited to the prison walls, Parsons said.
Dependence On Institutional Structure
Correctional institutions expose its inmates to strict systems of boundaries, limits and a network of rules and regulations under which the true character of the deprivation of liberty comes to light. The freedom and autonomy to make own choices and decisions is certainly affected, which is a painful experience for most people. Indeed, some people never adjust to it. But usually, after some time, it comes to a muting of self-initiative and independence while the dependence on institutional structure and schedule increases. Eventually, it might seem more or less natural to be denied the autonomy over day-to-day decisions. This can and often does lead to an incapacity to rely on personal organisation and decision-making to guide the own actions. And if this structure later is taken away, many people that went through the process of prisonization find themselves unable to rely on internal control .
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The Need To Understand The Inmate
An analysis of personal history and vital circumstances that have led the person to commit a crime is required in order to provide an optimal therapeutic approach that takes into account all aspects of his personality. This is how the objective of the prison can be met directly: a reeducation of the lacks or lost values and a subsequent positive reintegration into society.
It is essential that there be quality intervention by professionals, specifically psychologists, to promote their social reintegration. The prison environment can affect inmates in a great way and it is important that, before they are released, they recover their positive essence, rebuild values and re-encounter with themselves.
It is not enough that general proposals are made to address the issue, you have to have an individualized plan with each one since they have different personalities and needs. Even if they are criminals, they are still human beings.
E Incorporation Of Exploitative Norms Of Prison Culture
In addition to obeying the formal rules of the institution, there are also informal rules and norms that are part of the unwritten but essential institutional and inmate culture and code that, at some level, must be abided. For some prisoners this means defending against the dangerousness and deprivations of the surrounding environment by embracing all of its informal norms, including some of the most exploitative and extreme values of prison life. Note that prisoners typically are given no alternative culture to which to ascribe or in which to participate. In many institutions the lack of meaningful programming has deprived them of pro-social or positive activities in which to engage while incarcerated. Few prisoners are given access to gainful employment where they can obtain meaningful job skills and earn adequate compensation; those who do work are assigned to menial tasks that they perform for only a few hours a day. With rare exceptions; those very few states that permit highly regulated and infrequent conjugal visits; they are prohibited from sexual contact of any kind. Attempts to address many of the basic needs and desires that are the focus of normal day-to-day existence in the freeworld; to recreate, to work, to love; necessarily draws them closer to an illicit prisoner culture that for many represents the only apparent and meaningful way of being.
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Understanding The Experience Of Imprisonment
One of the students I teach told me that she had recently visited a police station to observe a mental health team. The police sergeant asked whether shed like to go into the police cell for a short period of time; she agreed. She told me how struck she was by this experience, one she will never forget. Perhaps it would be valuable for psychologists working in prisons to have an experience like this, of spending some time in a prison cell, in order to get a sense of this day-on-day experience of prisoners. Of course, I doubt that a short stay would come close to capturing what it is actually like to be locked in a small space, unable to ask someone to let you out when you want. But from my experience as a prison researcher and then as a psychologist in prisons and other secure settings, it has long struck me that in order to practise effectively as psychologists, we must at least try to acquire a detailed understanding of the daily lived experience of prisoners.
That experience has shaped my later practice as a psychologist in secure settings: I have continued to try to comprehend the lived experience of prisoners in these confined spaces. In my practice I continue to draw not only on some of the findings from my doctoral research but also on some reflections on the process of carrying out such an ethnography.
Image:;Therapy Chair, HM Prison Grendon. Courtesy of the Koestler Trust.
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The Changing Profile Of The Incarcerated Population
Jails and prisons perform different functions and have different effects, Parsons observed. People tend to stay in jails for much shorter periodsan average of 24 daysthan they do in prisons. As a result, many more people churn through the jail system than through prisons, which causes jails to have an oversized effect on communities. In an average year, almost 11 million admissions to jails are made, compared with about 600,000 to prisons. That represents more than 3 percent of the population of the United States and more than the population of New York City.
One reason that jail churn is particularly high, Brown noted, is because most people in jails have not been convicted. Some have just been arrested and will make bail in the next few hours or days, while others are too poor to make bail and must remain behind bars until their trials. Only a small number have been convicted, generally serving misdemeanor sentences under 1 year.
Mass incarceration is marked by huge racial disparities . African Americans are 3.6 times as likely to be incarcerated as whites, Parsons pointed out. As an example of how these disparities play out, he noted that African Americans and white Americans self-report using drugs at about the same rate. But a disproportionate number of African Americans are arrested for drug possession and distribution; they are also sentenced to federal prison for drug offenses at a much higher rate than whites.
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General Strain Theory And Health
According to General Strain Theory , individuals experience three major types of strain: the failure to achieve positively valued goals, the removal of positively valued stimuli, and the presence of negative stimuli . These stressors then lead to negative emotions like anger, depression, and frustration . Without the appropriate, legitimate coping mechanisms to alleviate these feelings, individuals may turn to illegitimate or criminal avenues . While Agnew developed GST through a social psychological lens to expand upon Mertons original strain theory and explain juvenile delinquency, the theory has been employed to examine a multitude of criminal and delinquent behaviors. Throughout the years, the relationship between strain and crime has found continued empirical support, suggesting that as strain increases, ones likelihood of engaging in crime or delinquency also increases .
Please Contact Us Today For Recovery After Prison
If you find that yourself or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of Post Incarceration Syndrome and substance abuse, or if you seek to become more informed about the options for recovery and rehabilitation programs, please contact us today at Vertava Health and speak with one of our trained and compassionate professionals.
This page does not provide medical advice.
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A Mentally Ill And Developmentally Disabled Prisoners
Perhaps not surprisingly, mental illness and developmental disability represent the largest number of disabilities among prisoners. For example, a national survey of prison inmates with disabilities conducted in 1987 indicated that although less than 1% suffered from visual, mobility/orthopedic, hearing, or speech deficits, much higher percentages suffered from cognitive and psychological disabilities. A more recent follow-up study by two of the same authors obtained similar results: although less than 1% of the prison population suffered visual, mobility, speech, or hearing deficits, 4.2% were developmentally disabled, 7.2% suffered psychotic disorders, and 12% reported “other psychological disorders.” It is probably safe to estimate, then, based on this and other studies, that upwards of as many as 20% of the current prisoner population nationally suffers from either some sort of significant mental or psychological disorder or developmental disability.
Combined with the de-emphasis on treatment that now characterizes our nation’s correctional facilities, these behavior patterns can significantly impact the institutional history of vulnerable or special needs inmates. One commentator has described the vicious cycle into which mentally-ill and developmentally-disabled prisoners can fall:
Incarceration Itself Is Inherently Harmful To Peoples Health
Many of the defining features of incarceration are linked to negative mental health outcomes, including disconnection from family, loss of autonomy, boredom and lack of purpose, and unpredictability of surroundings. Prof. Craig Haney, an expert on the psychological effects of imprisonment and prison isolation, explains, At the very least, prison is painful, and incarcerated persons often suffer long-term consequences from having been subjected to pain, deprivation, and extremely atypical patterns and norms of living and interacting with others. And as Dr. Seymour L. Halleck has observed, The prison environment is almost diabolically conceived to force the offender to experience the pangs of what many psychiatrists would describe as mental illness.
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The Psychological Effects Of Incarceration: What Happens In The Minds Of Inmates
The fact of being imprisoned and deprived of liberty It brings with it important psychological consequences. These can develop a chain of reactions and affective, cognitive, emotional and perceptual distortions, all this caused by the emotional tension within the penitentiary environment. In addition, a capacity for adaptation and resilience is required to support the dispossession of family and own exterior symbols.
In this article we will see what are the psychological effects of incarceration , and the way in which this situation affects the minds of the inmates.
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Danish Criminal Justice Reform As A Natural Experiment
Natural experiments provide a unique opportunity to estimate the effects of phenomena not conducive to experimental manipulation by the researchers . An exogenous assignment to the intervention condition is critical to ensuring an unbiased estimation of causal effects . Unlike researcher-initiated random assignment in a true experiment, random assignment in a natural experiment is produced by a naturally occurring social, political, or legal process. Even though this makes natural experiments observational in the sense that the researchers observe what happens rather than affecting it, their key advantage is the ability to claim that the assignment to the intervention versus the control condition was as if random . Being able to make a credible claim about random assignment ensures that the effects can be interpreted as unconfounded by third variables, whether measured or not, thus enhancing the internal validity of the findings.
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Simulation Strategies For Reducing Recidivism Risk
Taxman, F. S., & Pattavina, A. . Simulation Strategies to Reduce Recidivism Risk Need Responsivity Modeling for the Criminal Justice System. New York, NY: Springer New York.Currently, there is little use of evidence-based programs or best practice within correctional settings. There is some consensus that offenders programs do not produce expected outcomes. Valid risk and assessment tools should be used, being able to identify is an offender is open to altering their behavior. Using
How Does Pics Create A Greater Health Risk For Substance Abuse
In prison populations, inmates often enter the system with a reduced level of coping skills due to their way of life; some may already suffer PTSD, or have emotional or mental health issues. As the individual contends with the restrictive nature of their incarceration, violent episodes or abuse by their peers and even prison staff, their mental health falters leaving them at greater risk for substance abuse. The National Institute On Drug Abuse states that, Among individuals with substance use disorders, 30 to 60 percent meet the criteria for comorbid PTSD.
As those in the prison population seek to survive within a severe and punitive environment, they build off preexisting symptoms and develop both institutionalized and anti-social personality traits. In an environment where one must be passive in the face of authority and commonly aggressive to their fellow inmates, they suppress their critical and individual thinking, emotional responses, and personal expression.
Thus, when faced with the reality of a substance abuse disorder, they are severely limited in their ability to comprehend some of the crucial insights and practices that are needed for recovery, such as honesty, humility, self-awareness, and self-care. Without proper support, education, and the investment and care of a dedicated staff, it can become increasingly difficult to learn about these things and commit them to practice
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Consequences Of Inadequate Treatment
The consequences of inadequate mental health care contribute greatly to the suffering of the affected individuals and their families. Untreated psychiatric conditions among the prison population even takes a toll on society financially, in the form of taxpayers’ money.
Untreated psychiatric conditions may increase the risk of recidivism. Justice-involved people who have mental health issues are 70% more likely to return to prison at least once.
A 2020 study looked at the rates of recidivism among individuals who were released from prison. Those who reported poor mental health in prison were more likely to recidivate than those who had average mental health during their sentence. The rates of recidivism were between 33% and 68% higher for people with poor in-prison mental health than for their peers.
Study Design And Sample
We use data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities . The data include information on a nationally representative sample of individuals in state prisons in the United States and is the most up-to-date survey on this population publically available to researchers. Researchers interviewed a total of 14,499 individuals between October 2003 and May 2004 and used a two-stage, stratified sampling procedure. Participation in the survey was fully voluntary and interviews covered a wide range of topics including current offense and sentencing information, criminal history, health, and demographic characteristics. Since these data are cross-sectional in nature, they do not enable a full test of GST using measures of negative emotions like anger or frustration as mediators between poor health and misconduct. Rather, GST is used as a guiding framework for this initial assessment of the relationship between co-occurring conditions and prison misconduct.
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Why Prison Is Psychologically Damaging
While in prison, an individual is often tormented by fellow inmates. Threats often escalate to physical and even sexual altercations.;According to an article released by Rutgers University, 19% of all male inmates in the United States claim they have been physically assaulted by other inmates. In their sample, physical injury occurred in 40% of physical assaults, 70% in cases of sexual assault between inmates, and 50% in assaults from prison staff.;;
Not only do inmates face abuse from each other, but they also have to account for abusive prison guards. 21% of all male prisoners claim they have been assaulted a staff member of the prison.;
Prisoners are also at risk of dying while behind bars.;According to the United States Department of Justice, there were nearly 4,000 deaths in prison in 2014.;
However, modern research suggests the separation from loved ones as well as the outside world have the most adverse psychological effects on prisoners. Longing to be with their friends and family can result in crippling loneliness. Loneliness, which is already an epidemic;according to WebMD, can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and immune system disorders. It is also closely linked to depression.;
Head on over to;my blog;to learn more about the adverse psychological effects of imprisonment, how to cope, and more. If you are interested in learning more information about Dr. Karen Gedney, please;contact me.