In research to answer the question, does the prison experience cause psychological issues, I have found the following information about the prison life.
According to Prisons, an article from Opposing Viewpoints Online, one of the biggest factors determining prison life are the rights of prisoners. As expected the rights of a convict are few when compared to the rights of the general public, but their right to a basic standard of living is conserved. However their right to shelter is compromised because of the overcrowding that is occurring in federal prisons. For instance most prisons are operating at 35% above the maximum capacity for their facilities.
In a similar way their right to privacy is compromised through the searches performed by guards. Most prisons read the mail that enters and exits the prison, and conduct strip searches to add to the invasion of privacy. Although these may be measures to ensure safety, guards abuse this power and are not taken to trial or prosecuted for it. As I discovered in my past research this abuse of power, invasion of privacy, and overcrowding are characteristics of the prison life that cause psychological issues.
Therefore many of those have been through the prison system have created cases to bring about change in the prison. Many of these cases call for improving the standard of living for inmates, which coincide with their rights. Hence the reforms ask for cleaner buildings, better food, adequate health care, uncensored mail, and the end of physical abuse.