Solitary Confinement: Research and Experiences

January 10, 2014
Has anyone following this blog been in prison and served time in solitary confinement. Dr. Grassian, a trusted colleague, is interested in interviewing people to further his research on the impact of solitary confinement. Please review the correspondence below.  If you can help Dr. Grassian find people willing to be interviewed please contact him.
Stuart Grassian  M.D.

401 Beacon Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 244-3315 

Please read our correspondence below for more information.
Dear Mr. Gorski,
Thanks for your words of support.  As you know, addictions and imprisonment are so tightly connected;  I am pleased to learn of your work reaching out to those who have experienced both.
Earlier this year I made a commitment to try to collect stories of individuals who, now released back into the community, had spent a great deal of time in solitary confinement.  I would greatly appreciate any referrals you might have of individuals who have experienced this and might be willing to share their experience (of course, confidentiality would be maintained).
I hope the new year finds you well and that your work continues to make a difference.
Stuart Grassian  M.D.

401 Beacon Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 244-3315

On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 12:46 PM, <> wrote:
—- original Message—–
From: ttgorski <>
To: stgrassian <>
Cc: Tresa Watson <>; Terence T. Gorski <>; Dr. Stephen Grinstead <>
Sent: Mon, Dec 23, 2013 2:30 pm
Subject: Thank You For You Work

Dear Dr. Grassian,

I have been delinquent in expressing my gratitude and and telling you about how useful your work has been to me. As a means f introduction I am an author and a trainer/consultant specializing in addiction and related mental health problems. I have developed a popular model of Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT).  and through me uncountable addiction professionals trying to understand the unusual and difficult to deal problem they have in treating patients who have been incarcerated. When I started trying to meet the needs of these counselors, I constructed a concept called Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS). Initially it was very popular, until of course, the economy and climate of addiction treatment radically changed through the influence of Government Policy.
Here are links to several internet resources that show how your work has influenced me:
1. My blog republishing a basic article that has been reference and reposted many times:
6. Relapse Prevention In The Salvation Army programs:
This is just a sample of the many people who have spread your ideas which are contained in the concept of Post Incarceration Syndrome.
I wanted you to know that your has, is, and will continue to make a difference to me and countless lives that your research and writing have changed for the better. Thank you for your contributions and you career work.
Terence T. Gorski

Is there a recognizable post-incarceration syndrome among released “lifers”?

November 5, 2013

Terence T. Gorski developed a construct for counseling long-term offenders returning to the community which he called THE POST INCARCERATION SYNDROME (PICS).

A study conducted by Marieke Lima and Maarten Kunst reviewed Gorski’s PICS model which suggests that some released prisoners experience a unique set of mental health symptoms related to, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder. They sought to empirically assess whether there is a recognizable post-incarceration syndrome that captures the unique effects of incarceration on mental health.

They conducted in-depth life interviews with 25 released “lifers” (individuals serving a life sentence), who served an average of 19 years in a state correctional institution.

They assessed to what extent the symptoms described by the participants overlapped with other mental disorders, most notably PTSD.

They found that a specific cluster of mental health symptoms that is related to long-term incarceration. In addition to PTSD, this cluster was characterized by:

1. Institutionalized personality traits,
2. Social–sensory disorientation, and
3. Alienation.

Our findings suggest that post-incarceration syndrome constitutes a discrete subtype of PTSD that results from long-term imprisonment.

Recognizing Post-Incarceration Syndrome (PICS) may allow for more adequate recognition of the effects of incarceration and treatment among former inmates and ultimately, successful re-entry into society.

The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment
Craig Haney
University of California, Santa Cruz
December 2001

Comprehensive Incarcerated Persons Reform,Rehabilitation, And Reentry Act
(C.I.P.R.A.), Presented To Hon. Eliot Spitzer, Governor of The State of New York

PICS Article In Science Direct

The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment:
The Psychological Impact of Incarceration: Implications for Post-Prison Adjustment Craig Haney University of California, Santa Cruz December 2001

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