The carceral atmosphere is intrinsically harmful to mental health since it isolates inmates from society and takes away their sense of meaning and purpose in life. On top of that, the terrible conditions that are typical in prisons and jails, including overcrowding, exposure to routine acts of violence, and being held in solitary confinement, possess further harmful impacts. Many inmates experience mental health problems even after their sentences have been completed, and some have even been diagnosed with “Post-Incarceration Syndrome,” a condition comparable to post-traumatic stress disorder.
When someone is incarcerated, they eventually become accustomed to the conditions, regardless of how destructive or abusive they can be at times. An individual starts to feel the effects of the circumstances and feels as though they have nowhere else to turn. Post-Incarceration depression, anxiety, and stress can occur if a person has these symptoms during or after incarceration.
Post Incarceration Syndrome Meaning
People who are jailed or recently released from prison suffer from the post-incarceration syndrome. Every person who has ever been incarcerated runs the risk of developing this condition; however, those who have been subjected to traumatic experiences while serving their time in prison are possibly more likely to acquire the syndrome and more severely experience its symptoms. For instance, those who were subjected to institutional abuse or forced into solitary confinement in jail are more likely to suffer from the extreme mental and emotional distress that is frequently linked to the post-incarceration syndrome.
This syndrome is defined as:
A group of signs and symptoms seen in people who are currently jailed and people who have recently been released from prison brought on by extended incarceration in hostile environments with few possibilities for job training, counseling, and tutoring.
Post Incarceration Syndrome Symptoms
One indication of this syndrome is the institutionalized personality traits brought on by living in a totalitarian environment that forbids defying authority, accepting forbidden actions in life, eliminating the freedom of the individual to make decisions, and forcibly changing the way of life of the individual.
Another sign of post-incarceration syndrome is post-traumatic stress disorder, which is caused by the awful experiences that occurred before jail as well as the abuses that occurred while confinement. The development of antisocial personality traits while incarceration as a mental defense mechanism also manifests as a symptom. Additionally, as a result of the prolonged confinement, the individual may acquire the social-sensory deprivation syndrome; as a consequence, they may become isolated and lose their memory.
Post Incarceration Therapy
An individual with Post-Release Incarceration Syndrome should initially seek treatment through counseling. Once a patient receives guidance from a medical expert, they can take active steps toward recovery. Those who are struggling with substance misuse, as well as PICS, have some treatment options available to them, one of which is inpatient therapy. Based on patients’ reports of improvement, half of those who participate in these therapies need between 15 to 20 sessions on average before they see any improvement.
The positive effects of therapy seem to persist for a longer period than those of medication alone. Although medication can help alleviate some of the distress associated with mental health issues. With continued contact with the therapist, symptoms might continue to get better.
Post Incarceration Syndrome Treatment
Inmates in jails and prisons must be given access to medical care, although the standard of that care varies widely. Most of the time, mental health care in prison is more about stabilizing people than treating them. People who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses that do not cause significant alterations in behavior may not receive treatment for their conditions.
Individuals who are suffering from hallucinations or psychosis may receive medicine to control the most serious symptoms. Rarely, if ever, do prisoners receive therapy or complete treatment, thus mental health conditions that were previously managed with medicine and therapy may worsen significantly while incarcerated.
After receiving counsel from a competent practitioner, a person might begin working to overcome the sickness.
Fixing issues with the prison system is the main strategy for preventing Post Incarceration Syndrome. Programs like job development, career training, education, and rehabilitation in jail might have a significant impact on those who are already incarcerated since they would allow them to reintegrate into society more easily.