View Full Version : The effects of incarceration


bella
10-16-2003, 10:50 AM
Here's a paper I recently wrote for one of graduate classes. I was waiting to get it back and see my grade before I posted it. Well needless to say I got an A+ and my professor said "It is so good that you are investigating this phenomenon. Excellent paper. You adressed micro, mezzo and macro levels of this issue. Well written, insightful and passionate...."

If he only knew why I was so passionate about these type issues ;)

The class title is Traumatic Stress and Intervention

Below I will post the paper itself

bella
10-16-2003, 10:56 AM
The prison population in the United States is growing at a rate so rapid it has superseded the rate of incarceration in all industrialized nations. There are currently over 2.2 million people confined to the state and federal prisons of this country. One in thirty-two United States citizens are presently incarcerated, on probation or parole. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003). Prisons are overcrowded and rehabilitative services are being eliminated from budgets regularly. The effects of overcrowding, correctional officer brutality, gangsterism, and vulnerability can lead to lasting psychological effects on an individual even after their release. Ex-convicts may experience anxiety, sleeplessness, inability to concentrate, emotional numbing, isolation and depression that are related to their prison traumas.
The events experienced by a person while they are incarcerated can be so traumatic that it can lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Treatment by correctional officers can increase an already high level of anxiety while incarcerated. There is an increase in the number of inmates being deprived rehabilitative programs and being abused physically, psychologically and emotionally by correctional officers. There is also an increase in the number of inmates who are being held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time. Extended periods in solitary confinement leads to sensory deprivation and increased psychological trauma.
An increase in the rate of incarceration as well as the implementation of harsher sentences has lead to the concern in regard to the long-term effects incarceration has on an individual. Dr. Stephen Richards, an Associate Professor of Criminology at Northern Kentucky University, has also served nine years in Federal prison. He has formed a group of ex-convict professors, together they have published books and journal articles, and have conducted research and studies on the effects of incarceration. They conclude, “Many still struggle with the guilt of surviving prison, while old friends are still incarcerated, and the pain they may have caused others, including their own families and loved ones. Some may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder relating to remembering their former criminal activities and time incarcerated.” (Richards, 2001). During a telephone conversation with Dr. Richards he expressed to me that “the lack of rehabilitation will lead to a noted increase in the inability for ex-convicts to readjust to society after they are released. We will also see a dramatic increase in ex-offenders with clinical diagnosis such as PTSD.”
Many ex-offenders report victimization while they were incarcerated. Power and control issues often lead to violence by inmates and correctional officers. “When violence erupts in prison, oppression of violence justifies the abuse of offenders, albeit innocent bystanders or not.” (Mostert, 2003). Inmates who are more vulnerable often lack such things as the knowledge of prison societal rules and physical strength. They have a higher chance of being sexually abused by other inmates as well as correctional officers. Understanding and appreciating the complex human dynamics between staff and inmates gives insight into the issue of sexual misconduct in prisons. The ultimate power of the correctional staff can lead some unethical staff to engage in sexual misconduct. Prison is a very sexualized environment. The inability for one to express their natural sexual desires is abnormal. This leads to an unsatisfied libido and an increase in sexual frustration. The two most prominent reasons for correctional officers being terminated or placed on disciplinary leave is the introduction of contraband into the facility, and sexual misconduct with an inmate or another officer on facility property. (American Correctional Association, 2002)
A typical adult has the ability to make general decisions such as what time to eat and whether or not they would like to turn the lights off in a room. When stripped of these basic rights some may become agitated and aggressive. This may lead to them seeking other means of obtaining a sense of control, in turn leading to victimization of other inmates. Once released the ability to make these simple decisions can be extremely overwhelming. “Ex-convicts may experience unexplained emotional reactions in response to stimuli that are psychologically reminiscent of the painful events that occurred during incarceration. Some may relive especially stressful or fear-arousing events that traumatized them during incarceration.” (Craig Haney, 2002)
Limited contact with family members and other loved ones reduces inmate moral. Correctional officers use threats of taking away such things as telephone and visitation privileges as well as placement in solitary confinement as a way of controlling inmates. A fear of being unable to have contact with loved ones, or being held in segregation can lead to adverse reactions and outburst by some inmates as well as giving into to inappropriate demands of officers by other inmates. Correctional officers can issue “tickets” to inmates for things such as not shaving or tucking in a bed sheet appropriately. These “tickets” can lead to lose of gain time and directly effect an inmates release date. Thus the struggle of power and control becomes a daily ritual.
Judith Herman M.D. has suggested a new diagnostic category termed “complex PTSD”. “This diagnosis would be used to describe the trauma-related syndrome that prisoners are likely to suffer in the aftermath of their incarceration” (Craig Haney, 2002). She feels that this specific diagnosis is a direct result of “prolonged, repeated trauma or the profound deformations of personality that occur in captivity.” (Herman, 1992).
Terrence T. Gorski is considered an expert in substance abuse, mental health, violence and crime. Through clinical consultation work with the criminal justice system and incarcerated prisoners he conceptualized Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS). “The Post Incarceration Syndrome is a set of symptoms that are present in many incarcerated and recently released prisoners that are caused by being subjected prolonged incarceration in environments of punishment with few opportunities for education, job training, or rehabilitation. The symptoms are most severe in prisoners subjected to prolonged solitary confinement and severe institutional abuse.” (Gorski, 1999) The symptoms of PICS include: institutionalized personality traits, post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality traits, and social-sensory deprivation. Those ex-offenders with PICS have a higher rate of relapse related to substance abuse and mental health disorders as well as recidivism. “The effect of releasing this number of prisoners with psychiatric damage from prolonged incarceration can have a number of devastating impacts upon American society…” (Gorski, 1999). Gorski states that PICS is a direct result of the policies and procedures of the criminal justice system and can only be reduced by a change in the length of sentences and punitive environments the inmates are subjected to. Such changes should include converting most federal and state correctional facilities into rehabilitative program with education, vocational, substance abuse and mental health programs. Leaving only a small number of super-max type facilities for the most dangerous offenders. This should also include pre-release programs to assist offenders with transitioning back into the community. The programs should be staffed by professionals with the knowledge, and experience to evaluate the offenders needs and implement the appropriate treatment plans.
Funding for education and child welfare has been cut drastically across the nation. While in Florida alone, Governor Jeb Bush has recently taken $65 million from reserves to fund the construction of more prison facilities. At the same he has cut all educational and drug treatment programs in these institutions. It seems to me that the prison system in this country is becoming more of a business than a system of corrections. Many wealthy Americans have invested in stocks such as Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company. They have also invested in the companies that provide contracted medical and food services to state facilities such as Aramark Food services in Florida. Long-term incarceration therefore becomes beneficial to them financially.
We should all be concerned with the effects incarceration has on an individual. Last year approximately 800,000 inmates were released back into the community. Close to 90% of all inmates will one day be released back into the community and be our neighbors. If they are denied the basic skills needed to function in society and stripped of their self worth, what kind of neighbors will they be? Harsh sentences and the “lock them up and throw away the key” theory is not working. We, as citizens, are responsible to ensure the mental health of our population. By ignoring the need for change in the criminal justice system we will not resolve these problems. If we continue to ignore the effects of incarceration we will continue to see an increase in the number of Americans in need of social services. Incarceration affects the families of 2.2 million people in this country. The families and children of inmates are subjected to the direct effects that incarceration has on their loved ones. As PTSD is more widely recognized and addressed and more ex-offenders are diagnosed with the disorder, I hope to see a change in the structure of the criminal justice system in this country.

Sewergrrl
10-16-2003, 11:07 AM
That's a great paper, Bella - no wonder you received that A+!

I can't wait to read your proposed solutions. Perhaps another class? I'm not rushing you! ;)

Michelle

louise1120
10-16-2003, 12:24 PM
Bella...This is a great paper! You should get it published.

Eazy
10-16-2003, 07:30 PM
It is just so sad. :(

CET
10-16-2003, 07:55 PM
bella, I often thing about the micro, mezzo, macro issues of prisoners issues. Are you in grad school in social work?
It is an excellent paper bella. I think that also the lack of quiet and privacy on a continual basis add to prisoner's stress. And I think many of them ( and us) have a lot of rage over the capriciousness in sentencing.

irisheyes66
10-16-2003, 08:41 PM
Fascinating work, bella! Congrats on the A+...it is definitely well-deserved.

Susan in Providence

bella
10-17-2003, 12:07 AM
Thanks guys!
CET I agree with you for sure! And yes I am in grad school for clinical social work

RaW-Raswifey
10-17-2003, 12:56 AM
What a GREAT paper! A+ well deserved! I think the point about having a pre-release program is such a needed program in these prisons. Thanx for sharing. Great info and writing!

China57
11-21-2003, 06:30 PM
Outstanding piece of scholarly work. Excellent research. I would've given you an A++. I'm copying it and sending it to my loved one in prison. Thanks for sharing,

China

uniqueannie
02-10-2004, 02:02 PM
my brother who is mildly retarded-paranoid schizophrenic has just went to camp hill prison in pa-5and half to 15 years,they did it to him cause they could

haswtch
02-10-2004, 03:33 PM
Fantastic paper!

Eyeslikeno1
04-06-2006, 11:19 PM
Fascinating work, bella! Congrats on the A+...it is definitely well-deserved.

Susan in Providence


I couldn't have said it better myself Bella. You should deffinetly have that published!!!




:D 22 days until my love is home :D

sharon1313
07-15-2008, 10:10 AM
Bella, your story is almost exact, word-for-word as the Jeff Hornoff article on the Caught.net site? Are you Jeff Hornoff?

Sc0ttysm0m09
11-24-2009, 06:12 AM
my brother who is mildly retarded-paranoid schizophrenic has just went to camp hill prison in pa-5and half to 15 years,they did it to him cause they could


Please elaborate...what did he do? My son was just sentenced yesterday to five years in a state prison...i don't know where yet, i'll find that out on sentencing day...but the guide lines say he'll be doing 5...i am so afraid for him...he had a brain injury and ever since, he has been in and outta jail...what does your brother say it's like in camp hill? Are the guards as bad as they say? I am so worried...i wish i could just take him home and hold him and tell him it will be ok...that's wishful thinking tho

Sc0ttysm0m09
11-24-2009, 06:34 AM
after reading sharon1313's post about jeff hornoff on caught dot net...i saw it...the same exact story...verbatum...i will copy and past it into this


POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND THE EFFECTS OF INCARCERATION

The prison population in the United States is growing at a rate so rapid it has superseded the rate of incarceration in all industrialized nations. There are currently over 2.2 million people confined to the state and federal prisons of this country. One in thirty-two United States citizens are presently incarcerated, on probation or parole. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003). Prisons are overcrowded and rehabilitative services are being eliminated from budgets regularly. The effects of overcrowding, correctional officer brutality, gangsterism, and vulnerability can lead to lasting psychological effects on an individual even after their release. Ex-convicts may experience anxiety, sleeplessness, inability to concentrate, emotional numbing, isolation and depression that are related to their prison traumas.
The events experienced by a person while they are incarcerated can be so traumatic that it can lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Treatment by correctional officers can increase an already high level of anxiety while incarcerated. There is an increase in the number of inmates being deprived rehabilitative programs and being abused physically, psychologically and emotionally by correctional officers. There is also an increase in the number of inmates who are being held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time. Extended periods in solitary confinement leads to sensory deprivation and increased psychological trauma.
An increase in the rate of incarceration as well as the implementation of harsher sentences has lead to the concern in regard to the long-term effects incarceration has on an individual. Dr. Stephen Richards, an Associate Professor of Criminology at Northern Kentucky University, has also served nine years in Federal prison. He has formed a group of ex-convict professors, together they have published books and journal articles, and have conducted research and studies on the effects of incarceration. They conclude, “Many still struggle with the guilt of surviving prison, while old friends are still incarcerated, and the pain they may have caused others, including their own families and loved ones. Some may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder relating to remembering their former criminal activities and time incarcerated.” (Richards, 2001). During a telephone conversation with Dr. Richards he expressed to me that “the lack of rehabilitation will lead to a noted increase in the inability for ex-convicts to readjust to society after they are released. We will also see a dramatic increase in ex-offenders with clinical diagnosis such as PTSD.”
Many ex-offenders report victimization while they were incarcerated. Power and control issues often lead to violence by inmates and correctional officers. “When violence erupts in prison, oppression of violence justifies the abuse of offenders, albeit innocent bystanders or not.” (Mostert, 2003). Inmates who are more vulnerable often lack such things as the knowledge of prison societal rules and physical strength. They have a higher chance of being sexually abused by other inmates as well as correctional officers. Understanding and appreciating the complex human dynamics between staff and inmates gives insight into the issue of sexual misconduct in prisons. The ultimate power of the correctional staff can lead some unethical staff to engage in sexual misconduct. Prison is a very sexualized environment. The inability for one to express their natural sexual desires is abnormal. This leads to an unsatisfied libido and an increase in sexual frustration. The two most prominent reasons for correctional officers being terminated or placed on disciplinary leave is the introduction of contraband into the facility, and sexual misconduct with an inmate or another officer on facility property. (American Correctional Association, 2002)
A typical adult has the ability to make general decisions such as what time to eat and whether or not they would like to turn the lights off in a room. When stripped of these basic rights some may become agitated and aggressive. This may lead to them seeking other means of obtaining a sense of control, in turn leading to victimization of other inmates. Once released the ability to make these simple decisions can be extremely overwhelming. “Ex-convicts may experience unexplained emotional reactions in response to stimuli that are psychologically reminiscent of the painful events that occurred during incarceration. Some may relive especially stressful or fear-arousing events that traumatized them during incarceration.” (Craig Haney, 2002)
Limited contact with family members and other loved ones reduces inmate morale. Correctional officers use threats of taking away such things as telephone and visitation privileges as well as placement in solitary confinement as a way of controlling inmates. A fear of being unable to have contact with loved ones, or being held in segregation can lead to adverse reactions and outburst by some inmates as well as giving into inappropriate demands of officers and by other inmates. Correctional officers in some facilities can issue “tickets” to inmates for things such as not shaving or tucking in a bed sheet appropriately. These “tickets” can lead to loss of good time and directly effect an inmates release date. Thus the struggle of power and control becomes a daily ritual.
Judith Herman M.D. has suggested a new diagnostic category termed “complex PTSD”. “This diagnosis would be used to describe the trauma-related syndrome that prisoners are likely to suffer in the aftermath of their incarceration” (Craig Haney, 2002). She feels that this specific diagnosis is a direct result of “prolonged, repeated trauma or the profound deformations of personality that occur in captivity.” (Herman, 1992).
Terrence T. Gorski is considered an expert in substance abuse, mental health, violence and crime. Through clinical consultation work with the criminal justice system and incarcerated prisoners he conceptualized Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS). “The Post Incarceration Syndrome is a set of symptoms that are present in many incarcerated and recently released prisoners that are caused by being subjected to prolonged incarceration in environments of punishment with few opportunities for education, job training, or rehabilitation. The symptoms are most severe in prisoners subjected to prolonged solitary confinement and severe institutional abuse.” (Gorski, 1999) The symptoms of PICS include: institutionalized personality traits, post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality traits, and social-sensory deprivation.
Those ex-offenders with PICS have a higher rate of relapse related to substance abuse and mental health disorders as well as recidivism. “The effect of releasing this number of prisoners with psychiatric damage from prolonged incarceration can have a number of devastating impacts upon American society…” (Gorski, 1999). Gorski states that PICS is a direct result of the policies and procedures of the criminal justice system and can only be reduced by a change in the length of sentences and punitive environments the inmates are subjected to. Such changes should include converting most federal and state correctional facilities into rehabilitative program with education, vocational, substance abuse and mental health programs, leaving only a small number of super-max type facilities for the most dangerous offenders. This should also include pre-release programs to assist offenders with transitioning back into the community. The programs should be staffed by professionals with the knowledge, and experience to evaluate the offenders' needs and implement the appropriate treatment plans.
Funding for education and child welfare has been cut drastically across the nation. While in Florida alone, Governor Jeb Bush has recently taken $65 million from reserves to fund the construction of more prison facilities. At the same he has cut all educational and drug treatment programs in these institutions. It seems to me that the prison system in this country is becoming more of a business than a system of corrections. Many wealthy Americans have invested in stocks such as Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company. They have also invested in the companies that provide contracted medical and food services to state facilities such as Aramark Food services in Florida. Long-term incarceration therefore becomes beneficial to them financially.
We should all be concerned with the effects incarceration has on an individual. Last year approximately 800,000 inmates were released back into the community. Close to 90% of all inmates will one day be released back into the community and be our neighbors. If they are denied the basic skills needed to function in society and stripped of their self worth, what kind of neighbors will they be? Harsh sentences and the “lock them up and throw away the key” theory is not working. We, as citizens, are responsible to ensure the mental health of our population. By ignoring the need for change in the criminal justice system we will not resolve these problems. If we continue to ignore the effects of incarceration we will continue to see an increase in the number of Americans in need of social services. Incarceration affects the families of 2.2 million people in this country. The families and children of inmates are subjected to the direct effects that incarceration has on their loved ones. As PTSD is more widely recognized and addressed and more ex-offenders are diagnosed with the disorder, I hope to see a change in the structure of the criminal justice system in this country.