In attempt to understand the effects of prison on mental health I have found interesting information about inmates organized into female and male. As apparent through the data found in the Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing the effects vary between men and women, but the mental health of both is negatively affected. For instance the isolation and lack of physical and mental activity led to anger, stress, and frustration in both. As inmates in class B populations (those who do not require high level security) experience lock downs of 23 hours a day, causing symptoms to appear. Along with the feeling of boredom these negative effects make it difficult for inmates to regulate their behavior, and instead adopt bad behavior.

Although the prison experience is similar between women and men I found that there are a few differences between the experience of a female verses a males. For example in the hierarchy prompted by violence and bullying the cause of this in men is more apparent. It is said that between the men violence arises as a consequence of the lack of autonomy, enforced authority and a lack of common goods. Therefore forcing inmates to rely on power and strength for a higher place in the hierarchy of prison.

As for women one of the most difficult aspects is a result of separation from loved ones, especially children. For most women in prison the disconnection from their children, for most the first time, makes the prison experience difficult mentally and emotionally. In most cases this stems from not knowing where their children are during their incarceration. As only 9% of fathers take care of these womens children they are left with the unknown of what is occurring to their children on the outside. Therefore causing stress, and frustration for the women sentenced to prison.

Although the factors vary it is apparent that the similarities come from the structure of the prison system itself. As both female and male inmates endure isolation and little to no mental stimulation the system is causing their experiences to be filled with trauma and bad habits. Hence leading to an apparent negative effect on the mental health of both a female and male inmate

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Effects of Prison on Mental Health by Giselle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

25 Comments
  1. Arden 7 months ago

    Giselle, prison could be compared to a birds in a cage. Without proper care and attention, the bird will become irritated and begin to pluck out its feathers. If multiple birds share the same cage they could also go to attacking each other instead. If the birds must be in the cage, they have to be given many toys to keep them occupied in order to stop them from injuring themselves or others. This is true for any animal including humans. People must be taken care of, or they will begin to develop issues exactly as birds do. It is how our brains work. For prisons, and many other public institutions, to work as they are supposed to, we must first understand how our brains work. Once we understand in detail how our brains function we can apply it to government policies.

  2. Brian 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,

    I am shocked by how people are dealt in prison, with your informative passage, “The Effects of Prison on Mental Health,” because when people, human beings are sent to prison they need proper help in order to when they get released to live a normal life and not take out someone else’s.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “experience lock downs of 23 hours a day” I think this is alarming because only 1 hour you can get out of your cell and do normal things the rest of the hour you just sit in your cell thinking about what you have done and what you want to do for revenge or other things.

    Another sentence that I was alarmed was: “only 9% of fathers take care of these womens’ children.” This stood out for me because both the woman and man of a family both take care of the child at home. But it’s saying that only a few men in the world who have a wife in prison actually care about their child.

    You document reminds me of something that happened to me. One time when my grandfather died all of my family members came to mourn for his death but compare that to men caring about their child which is next to none.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because this topic is very alarming and needs to be resolved ASAP before its gets to out of hand.

  3. Sean Elliot 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,
    Your post about about “The effects of prison on mental health” really intrigued me about the behavior of these inmates. It’s interesting how they act or behave under different circumstances, like how hard it is for women to separate from their loved ones, like their children. I enjoyed reading your post and how prison treats their inmates, as well as the psychology behind it.

  4. Sean 8 months ago

    This was a plausible article and this interested me very much. The fact that prison’s “purpose” is to “help” a criminal to organize themselves and leave, unless sentenced for life, calm and having no intentions to do crimes. But seemingly, you stated a research that proved that prison was doing the exact opposite from its purpose and bringing people/criminals to a more emotional, aggravated, hostile state. Like you said, children’s lives could’ve changed because a mother was sent to jail, men are just a different story because they just react violently to the apparent 23 hours of boredom and get angrier each hour. I learned many things about psychology through this article.

  5. Addie 8 months ago

    This is really well done Giselle! I liked how you made a point to mention the differences in male and female incarnation. It is such a heavy topic to cover so by dividing the two groups of people and identifying the typical individual repercussions that incarnation has on a person helps give your research more empathy to it.

  6. Savannah 8 months ago

    Giselle, you did a great job connecting this information with the reader’s emotions. It’s such an important topic and needs to be fixed quickly before circumstances worsen. Very interesting!

  7. Jay 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,
    I am insterested by your post “The Effects of Prison On Mental Health” because it is a very intriguing topic. Only people who have actually been through prison could have experienced this. Also, most of us don’t think of the effects of prison as we would never dream of being put in a cell. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “For example in the hierarchy prompted by violence and bullying the cause of this in men is more apparent.” I think this is accurate because the rate of bullying between boys in schools are higher than the rate of bullying between girls as well, so this would happen in prison too. Another sentence that I agreed with was “Therefore forcing inmates to rely on power and strength for a higher place in the hierarchy of prison.” This stood out to me because it accurately shows what the prison hierarchy is based on. I don’t completely agree with the fact that the hierarchy of prison is solely based on only power and strength because intelligence can be a part of it too as decision making is a very important skill. Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because the topic that you chose was intriguing and the evidence provided to support your claim was sufficient and accurate.

  8. Raeesah 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,

    I really liked your topic as it was really interesting. It showed me how the mental health of average people and incarcerated people are different as incarcerated peoples’ mental health get effected in prison. I look forward to reading more of your posts in hope that they will be as interesting and detailed as this.

  9. Sharmin 8 months ago

    Giselle, the topic that you brought up was really intriguing. It helped me question prison systems and if they really are right. I also didn’t know that prison can cause many mental health issues. Thanks for posting.

  10. Sharmin 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,

    I am surprised your post because I didn’t know that men and women have different reasons for mental distress in prison. I didn’t think of it much either.One thing that stood out to me was the fact that females have stress from the separation from their families, but for the males its mostly because of inmates. the aspects are really different from one another. Thanks for your project. I look forward to seeing what you write next.

  11. Lina 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,
    I am delighted to find such an uncommon article that has been well analyzed and written. Not only did you get a generalization but you also found gender specifics. In my opinion this is a very dis-regarded topic and should be dwelled upon more, because while un-common it is very important and while felons are felons, they are still human beings and deserve care.

  12. Kesang 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle

    I am intrigued by your post “The Effects of Prison on Mental Health,” because it was interesting to read about people in prison. I have a new understanding of what life is like behind bars. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “For instance the isolation and lack of physical and mental activity led to anger, stress, and frustration in both.” I think this is over-looked because people that are younger will not understand the stress it creates when you go to jail. Another sentence that I read was: “hierarchy prompted by violence and bullying the cause of this in men is more apparent.” This stood out for me because even though this was a mental issue it still caused physical pain. Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. One time I was really bored in class and I had nothing to challenge my mind with so I decided to go to the bathroom to see a change of scene because I was going crazy sitting in that class. Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I want to see other peoples’ point of view on things that I do not normally read about.

  13. Aoyan 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle:

    I am amazed about your post, “The Effects of Prison on Mental Health,” because this is a topic that almost nobody is aware about. When you see somebody going to prison, and they did commit a crime, you don’t think about the person at all. You think that another bad person is off of the street. Yo don’t think about how prison is bad for them because you do not usually show positive emotions of any kind to prisoners not related to you.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Along with the feeling of boredom these negative effects make it difficult for inmates to regulate their behavior, and instead adopt bad behavior.” I think this is important to know because it shows exactly how negative and non-helping the prison experience is.

    Another sentence that I was shocked about was: “ For most women in prison the disconnection from their children, for most the first time, makes the prison experience difficult mentally and emotionally.” This stood out for me because when most women go to prison you assume that they are heartless in order to have abandoned their family to do this bad act, but these women are sad and worried about their family.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you are really talented and know a lot about topics most people do not give more than two hoots about.

  14. Eduardo 8 months ago

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I agree with what you are saying.

  15. Kyle 8 months ago

    This topic is a topic than is not commonly discussed. It is important that was are able to keep people mentally stable while they are serving time. It also never occurred to me that gender plays a roll in insanity. I believe this topic should be discussed in more debates, and there should be a solution to it.

  16. David 8 months ago

    Dear :

    I am interested by your article , “The effects of prison on mental health because, it is very informative. In addition, the topic is one I do not think about often so it was interesting to think of it now.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “For instance the isolation and lack of physical and mental activity led to anger, stress, and frustration in both.”” I think this is important because both genders are affected equally

    Another sentence that I Looked at was: “Although the factors vary it is apparent that the similarities come from the structure of the prison system itself..” This stood out for me because it shows how the prison sentence is horrible

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because you explain very cohesively.

  17. Lidia 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle:

    I am very interested and delighted about your post “The effects of Prison On Mental Health” because it focuses on a topic that many don’t think about. Learning about mental health is something i enjoy learning because it teaches me a lot. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “For instance the isolation and lack of physical and mental activity led to anger, stress, and frustration in both.” I think this is significant because it conveys that both male and females are affected negatively.
    Another sentence that I found to be important was: “As both female and male inmates endure isolation and little to no mental stimulation the system is causing their experiences to be filled with trauma and bad habits.” This stood out for me because it shows how both males and females are similar and different when it comes to their mental health. I do agree with you about
    people having a connection when they are in prison affecting their mental health very negatively.Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because your writing was very interesting and i learned a lot.

  18. Olivia 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle and other commentors,
    Hello! My name is Olivia and I am a research student at the University of Nebraska. I am wondering if you’d be willing to answer just a couple questions I had for you regarding youth voices? Your responses would help me further a research analysis of this community and would remain anonymous. Answering the questions would take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Let me know if you are interested by messaging me on this site!

  19. Kevin 8 months ago

    Dear Giselle,
    This was very interesting because I did not know that much information about that. I’m glad you made this because not many people think about this. I did not know that the male and female would have been treated the same. Also, that they would be treated different than other prisoners. Then they start to feel lonely and they get separated from their kids. Also, because they get really bored because they don’t have anything else to do. So, I did not know this much information about that and now I know more.

  20. Skylar 8 months ago

    Again this is something I feel people overlook constantly and is never really addressed so reading and leaning more about the effects of prison on mental health. I am definitely interested in seeing more.

  21. Anna 8 months ago

    This was very interesting to read and I learned a lot from reading it. This is something I’d like to learn more about! Nice piece 🙂

  22. Jack 8 months ago

    This is a very interesting topic and its nice to hear more about it. This is something that doesn’t cross most peoples minds when they think of incarceration, but it is something that needs to be addressed with the growing populations in prisons.

  23. Jackson 8 months ago

    This piece was very well formatted and kept itself concise and to the point. I would like to know more about the dichotomy between prisons and the ages of the inmates.

  24. Siena 8 months ago

    Giselle:) I thought this was really well written and cohesive. I’m interested to see if there are any links between the severity of mental health degradation in prisons and race. (i.e.: Do certain races experience more PTSD than others?)

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