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Residual Effects of Imprisonment

Residual Effects of Imprisonment

(p.155) 8 Residual Effects of Imprisonment
After Life Imprisonment
Marieke Liem
NYU Press

This chapter addresses the effects of long-term incarceration on mental health. The long-term effects of exposure to powerful and traumatic situations, contexts, and structures mean that prisons themselves can bring about psychological problems resulting from prison trauma. Interviewed lifers described symptoms that were not limited to PTSD, but also included institutionalized personality traits (prisonization), social-sensory disorientation, and temporal alienation, or the idea of ‘not belonging’. Taken together, this cluster of mental health symptoms is described as the ‘Post-Incarceration Syndrome’, or PICS. Navigating the conditions of parole often clashed with their need for appropriate mental health counselling.

Keywords:   PTSD, Post-incarceration syndrome, PICS, mental health, trauma, counselling, prisonization, lifers, institutionalization

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