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.

ON THE INTERNET:
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
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/prison2home02/haney.htm

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
http://www.realcostofprisons.org/writing/cipra.doc

PICS Article In Science Direct
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160252713000344

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 http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/prison2home02/haney.htm


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