After reading Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean, and picturing the inmates on death row in 1995, I became interested in the effects of the prison system. I was astonished by the almost alternate universe that inmates live in, while in confinement. They are forced to adapt to little to no privacy, scrutiny of the guards, and the constant fear of violence. Although for some inmates the experience is more traumatic than others it is apparent that these conditions create psychological illnesses, and make rehabilitation nearly impossible.

This brought me to research that explained the mental illnesses, and behaviors that arise from incarceration. For instance an article from the Department of Health and Human Services, explains that the overcrowding, and limited connection to society forces inmates to become accustomed to lives of deprivation and frustration. Which later become forms of mental illness, like depression, dependence on structure, suspicion of all others, emotional overcontrol, and anxiety. According to The Trauma of the Incarceration Experience these illnesses arise as inmates are exposed to violence, on a daily basis. Whether they are involved in the violence, or are bystanders it becomes a traumatic experience. Therefore many of those who have been in the prison system suffer from post traumatic stress, depression, and paranoia, along with many other psychological problems.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Effects of Incarceration by Giselle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Skylar 3 years ago

    I think this is a really strong topic, because it is clearly overlooked in most cases. We don’t really consider the mental tole prisoners go through. The conditions of prison are also almost never focused on. This connection between mental illnesses and prison life is huge and in order to have successful rehabilitation facilities, this needs to be fixed.

  2. Seth 3 years ago

    This is a very interesting topic. I think it also would be interesting to look into how these psychological problems effect the behavior of the inmates once they are released. Prison is supposed to be a primarily rehabilitating experience that helps create citizens better prepared to be contributing members of society. If they are forced to live in conditions that lead to the issues you mentioned then it does not positively impact anyone, the inmate or society in general.

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