The Effects of Incarceration on Mental Health

Hands resting on prison barsAlthough jail time might seem like a distant possibility for most people, incarceration rates in the United States are steadily rising. One study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 41% of young adults have been arrested by the time they are 23. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that 6.6% of people serve time in prison at some point in their lives, and the statistic rises to a shocking 32% for African-American men. More than half of inmates are diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

As state mental hospitals continue to close and mental health services remain financially out of reach for many people, this number may rise. Moreover, prison itself can exacerbate preexisting mental health issues and create new mental health challenges among those who had never experienced them.

Mental Health Care Behind Bars

Jails and prisons are required to provide basic health care for inmates, but the quality of this care varies greatly. Often, prison-based mental health care focuses on stabilizing, rather than treating, inmates. A person experiencing hallucinations or psychosis might get medication to control the most severe symptoms, but people with anxiety issues, depression, posttraumatic stress, and other mental health conditions that don’t cause radical changes in behavior may go untreated. Prisoners rarely, if ever, get therapy or comprehensive treatment, so mental health issues that were previously controlled with medication and therapy may get much worse during incarceration.

Prison and Trauma

Even for the most hardened criminals, prison can be a scary place. The DOJ reports that 70,000 prisoners are sexually abused every year, and assaults, fights, and other acts of violence are common in a prison setting. But violence isn’t limited to inmates; prison guards work in a high-stress environment that can increase their likelihood of becoming violent. With little hope for reporting abuse by guards, some inmates may endure verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, and even severe attacks. Women inmates are at an increased risk of being sexually assaulted by jail and prison guards. This ongoing climate of trauma can create anxiety, depression, phobias, and PTSD in prisoners who previously had no serious mental health issues.

Lack of Support

Prisoners are, by definition, cut off from the rest of society, and their access to supportive friends and family may be limited. Many jails have instituted mail policies prohibiting letters and magazine subscriptions, and these policies can eliminate prisoners’ ability to communicate with and receive support from loved ones. Phone calls from jail can be costly, and prisoners from impoverished backgrounds may have families who can’t afford to cover the costs of collect calls, however infrequent. There’s little hope for getting any support in prison, as many prisoners are concerned more with gaining respect and avoiding fights in a relentless pursuit of safety. Support from loved ones can play a critical role in helping people overcome mental challenges, and isolation can increase a person’s risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Getting Out

Most prisoners have ignored basic rules of society, so it can be difficult for prisoner rights issues to garner much public sympathy. But many prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent drug crimes that are the result of substance addiction. And even inmates incarcerated for violent crimes do not typically serve life sentences. Most prisoners are ultimately released, and the mental health issues they develop in prison can increase their risk of reoffending and make it difficult to reenter society as a productive, nonthreatening citizen. Almost 70% of people who have been incarcerated are arrested again within three years, and the dire state of mental health care in prisons could play a significant role in this high rate of recidivism.

A mental health professional can help people who have come into contact with the prison system. A therapist can help prisoners reenter society or reestablish bonds with friends and family. Loved ones of incarcerated individuals can also get necessary emotional support in therapy. Therapy is a safe and confidential place for any and all people to get help.


  1. Chaddock, G. R. (2003, August 18). US notches world’s highest incarceration rate. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from
  2. Gann, C. (2011, December 19). Study: Significant number of young Americans get arrested. ABC News. Retrieved from
  3. James, D. J., & Glaze, L. E. (2006, December 14). Mental health problems of prison and jail inmates [PDF]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  4. Purdy, M. (1995, December 19). Brutality behind bars. The New York Times. Retrieved from
  5. Recidivism. (n.d.). Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Retrieved from
  6. Sakala, L. (2013, February 7). Return to sender: Postcard-only mail policies in jails. Prison Policy Initiative. Retrieved from
  7. U.S.: Federal justie statistics show widespread prison rape. (2007, December 16). Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from
  8. U.S.: Number of mentally ill in prisons quadrupled. (2006, September 6). Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Jennifer martin

    March 16th, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    How would your mental health be if you were locked up in a cell? Not too strong I guess

  • Cecilia

    April 14th, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Think about a loved one that has been locked up since they were a child & the child has been diagnosed at the ripe age of two because at birth had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice and suffered lack of oxygen of the brain that is anoxia to the brain severe hypoxia & they are spelled correct I looked it up. Yes this is my son, he walked fast, talked fast, ran fast & has a very high IQ. I was told he had adhd, terretts,ocd,manic depression? What, I could not wrap my head around my child having these mental disabilities at the age of two:( As he grew up he was a handful but what individual child isn’t but this was in our family genes it skips generations as my younger brother had it growing up & my parents disciplined us! How to spank a little boy that has these issues you don’t, but it is not OK to drug them up with pre psychotropic medicine and every school he was in from pre-k on had a issue with his mental status as i was involved fully.. I lay awake at night crying an worrying as my son is 34 now and is a struggling as his whole life he has made poor choices from being pre disposed to drugs early and his biological father died of a heroin overdose at the age of 9 that is when it went south.. He has been baker acted and institutionalized, jail & prison for over 17 years and I see him going right back in in this 3 year grace period that I saw on recidivism.. They don’t even give you money to go home enough anyway that when released it is a set up for failure!!! I live in Florida and I system is a joke and the facilities are a joke at one point they almost killed him in a facility that should be closed down an Florida Department of Law Enforcement had dragged there ass for to long and it was nit going to happen to my son. I’ve been the only one there for him he has pushed everyone away he is needy and cannot get a good job but has been blessed and cursed all at the same time.. last year in march he overdosed in my home on heroin & car fentnyal however it is spelled but if he was not here he would of def been gone as it was what I was suppose to see just 5 yrs shy of his fathers death in may 1993 he was only 38.. I believe for every inmate in the system it is like a wheel of fortune for the state they get paid big money for each person over a grand.. I also believe that he became a smooth operator, manipulative,conning, all the attributes a over developed better criminal he became and going to the pysch dr he was told he is not the common criminal that comes across his desk very often because he has such a high IQ? A load of garbage I told my son because that means you are book smart and common sense dumb.. Now I’m dealing with a off the wall, mind in a fog, still doing drugs and not seeing the consequences as he has worked and had over the allotted amount of time to be a new person an he cannot come out of this. I know he is hurting an he thinks I’m against him but I’m not I try to guide him but he throws it back in my face as he wants me to support him financially and I cannot anymore. He uses women to his advantage and when they do not do what he wants they are useless to his adventures:( .. I was told by the prison system I’m not to write anything about his time served and where or what ? Really, I said so I have to have the brunt of his war that rages in side his head and deal with what he has done and them as well?? I was writing the DOC in my state to get investigations going on the abuse and the nonsense the under funded medical and none trainable Dr’s and Nurses.. I feel for all of you that have this issue as I’m trying to be strong and not break down from his antics, & time has not been on my side I’m selling my home of 22 yrs and he resents me and his step father because he does not know how to be a productive member of society and I cannot take the mental anguish anymore, just look at this history of mental illness that this kid has gone through and what the result of it has done to my family and my son especially, I believe in second chances but this is way more than a second chance I fear for his life and his sanity. I know for sure his whole life has been abandonment from his family and so called friends after the fact & if I do not get him help I’m afraid I will be mourning him as I feel I have done for quite some time… I thought after this last stent he learned how not to go back, but it does not feel like he values his freedom after crying he does not belong there or anywhere for that matter I sent him to another state to be with his sister and he ruined that, he has had the legal law limit of points a man can have against him in a lifetime with 19 felonies and a history of violence and drugs and manipulation.. I can only focus on me and my self at this time as it is ruined my marriage an my financial situation so as I depart here I feel like the world has dealt me a harsh hand that it is not like it use to be with no technologies and a good ass whipping that got to you to straighten up.. Sorry to all of those who have gone thru this or are still going thru this I pray to God every day & night to release my son of this depth of gloom doom and despair and let him see the little things in life that matter as all lives matter !!!! Bless EVERYONE!! Character is a must !!!

  • ben

    March 16th, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    more than half of all prisoners have a mental wealth disorder?no expert here but isn’t that too much to be true?and of they’re not providing mental health care how do they have these figures?they couldn’t possibly be diagnosing the inmates and then carry on without treatment,could they?!whatever be the case we need better conditions in prisons.its not supposed to be a holiday yes but it can at least stop being the hell it is now.

  • Tina

    July 6th, 2017 at 8:39 PM

    This is a valid statistic. Nationally, the average is 50%, but in women’s prisons the rate is closer to 60%. The fact is that prisons will provide the bare minimum psychotropic medications to stabilize. Prisons also have mental health crisis stabilization units, and if the inmate is ill enough, or if they cannot be managed in general population, they will be reclassified as Special Management. In Kansas, which is where I live, this means the inmate will be moved to a specific unit or prison which specializes in only severally mentally ill inmates. Under Special Management, inmates will assigned a case manager, have monthly treatment team meetings, typically attend group therapies, and might assigned a one on one therapist, but most importantly, the COs under need to have very specific training. I hope this helps.

  • Jim

    October 1st, 2019 at 6:08 AM

    I did time in Alabama. The mental health care, at least in our state, was egregious. To seek mental health care labeled you and subjected you to immense abuse from the guards and staff. To admit suicidal thoughts would be met with worse verbal abuse and usually physical abuse (i.e. pushing and shoving by a guard to bully you into recanting) followed by being stripped naked and put in a single man cell. The inmates didn’t care too much except when someone claimed suicidal thoughts in order to be moved to get away from a problem with other inmates, usually debt.

    Ultimately the system is broken but I’m not sure it can be fixed. For the most part the men in that place were truly prevented, sadistic monsters. The staff has simply adapted over the years to meet fire with fire. What righteous man could works in a prison? A righteous guard trying to stop rape and drugs would be targeted with violence by the inmates. A righteous guard would never survive.

    If we want to fix society work by preventative means. Stop people from developing into monsters, don’t try changing a monster to a man.

  • Freddie

    March 18th, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    The prison system in this country is sick
    We lock up these people who need help mentally
    and think that just because they are behind bars they will “learn their lesson” amd will not repeat the bad behavior again.
    Serioussly, most of these guys are just doing their time and learning about how to become an even better criminal
    Either that or their disorder is getting even worse and they continue to receive no treatment

  • alison

    March 19th, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    most people are not concerned about their mental health, just getting them off the streets

  • Convict

    March 10th, 2017 at 5:23 AM

    Yes, and guess what ? Most of us are not held forever. People that think that punish, punish, punish
    is the answer. You make us more hateful, and we tend to take it out back on society. Imagine, even when
    you try to do the right thing and stay out of trouble, once you convicted you are always a convict. You are
    discriminated against in employment and housing, and never regain full civil rights. Deprive people of
    a way to make gainful employment, hope for the future, self-esteem, a sense of place in this society, is
    it any wonder for the high rate of recidivism ? And to those who say ” it will never be me, so who cares ?” One
    mistake in a lifetime is all that it takes to get caught is the systems web forever.

  • escapism

    December 30th, 2018 at 12:28 PM

    EXACCCCTlY! someone sAID IT. they brand u for life and expect u to do better after making it hell to be normal again. what makes it worse is no matter the crime big or small they still put u in the same box in after prison. u can end back up in impoverished communities with little to no money because u can’t get a lease anywhere nice or a regular job that pays well.


    April 9th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    They really should be treating mental illnesses before they become a problem that can’t be reversed. So many people with mental illnesses and non- violent- crimes/ felonies that didn’t effect anyone else no have to live life as a felon. Which is ultimately the result of the system ignoring and not willing to give services to the ones who really need it. Bottom line is that the system is corrupt and continues to diminish. And as a result we end up paying the price for their error.

  • Tina

    July 6th, 2017 at 8:40 PM

    What on Earth do you mean by this???

  • nicole pruitt pack

    June 13th, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I have been incarcercerated for 3 years at leath correctional in greenwood, sc. I am currently out and doing wonderful, but there are things from my experience that haunt me. I went to lock up for a month while I was there and I watched a woman(my cellmate), die from diabetes from lack of insulin. The doctors and guards thought she was mentally unstable, when in fact she needed her meds, and the negligance of the staff there allowed her to pass away. The mental abuse from c.o’s at correctional facilitys is astounding! I still have nightmares from the things I’ve heard and seen. There should be another alternitinive to incarceration for non-violent crimes. The government is just creating more criminals, or giving petty criminals more education into being better criminals. FIX IT!!!

  • jeffrey

    August 28th, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    I was incarcerated for 10 months for second offense ouil (.11). Prior to my incarceration I was sent for an inpatient substance abuse evaluation. At the intake, I was assaulted and forced to sign release forms. I notified the staff, including 4 Dr.’s. One listened to my complaints and apparently took action. The physician in charge though, simply removed the paperwork and replaced it with unsigned copies. In jail, I was a trustee and witnessed the beating of a clearly mentally ill man, the horrific euthanization of a beautiful St. Bernard, and regular psychological abuse of inmates by two specific deputies. In all these situations, I was told basically “if you say a word to anyone, you’ll forever wish you hadn’t.” I broke the law but never imparted abuse on anyone like these deputies did to many. Thankfully, most deputies are not ill.

  • Tracey

    October 19th, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles is said to be the largest mental health institution in the country (or maybe the world ?) my loved one has Alzheimers which is NOT a mental illness but the courts & jails have no separate classification. He was kept in solitary for 24/7, for 7 months straight, because it was the only way to “care for him” there. He was there b/c he was attacked and fought back.

  • Theresa

    October 27th, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    My boyfriend and I started dating a little over a month when he was first sent to Davies DeKalb County Jail in Pattonsburg Missouri. The first time I went to visit him the sight of the jail is just eerie. It’s in a small town in the middle of BFE in northwest Missouri. It was small, extremely small, it had to be first come first serve when you were visiting and only once a week, the visiting room was a closet that only 3-4 inmates/visitors were afford. My boyfriend would tell me how awful it was all the time, dirt floors, nasty unedible crap that looked like food, the staff were mean, cruel, and unorganized. I’ve never been to prison so I could at the last imagine. Anyways he wasn’t there too long until they sent him to Western Correctional Facility in St. Joe then on to Boonville where he served the remaining of his shock time. When he came home we were looking on the internet and came across Pattonsburg and reading an article of an inmates death due to harsh and neglected treatment. When I seen his face after reading the article is like he was replaying the things that happened in his head and he started to tear up. To this day, which has been over a year now, he hasn’t told me anything about prison, which I never ask, all I hear is about some buddies he grew closer to and wondering how he could find them. All this time there been major strains on or relationship. I’ve never cheated, but I get blamed for it, he doesn’t like being out in public too long, he gets nervous when alot of people are around, it’s even got to the point where he’s kept me from my friends and family. I’m still encouraging or trying to anyway to please seek help. But everything I say to him is blown off and ignored. I hate to leave him because I don’t know what would happen to him, but I don’t want to pressure him either for fear he bottles up more. I love him dearly and so do my kids, but, I just don’t know what else to do! Any advice is helpful and appreciated

  • humpty dumpty

    September 11th, 2016 at 4:02 AM

    I have battled with intense PTSD from multiple prolonged incarsorations as a youth all my adult life I recently in the last year began personal trauma therapy once a week and not all but a lot of my broken pieces are coming together I am engaged and am expecting a baby girl soon it is still terrifying but my quality of life and ability to have good lasting relationships has improved the anxiety in public is what is refered to as hypervigilance it is one of the hardest things to overcome and often leads to unintentional emotional or physical outburst I’m sorry for you and your loved one for what has happened and I can’t urge you both enough to seek out trauma therapy it doesn’t happen over night and maybe the first or even second therapist isn’t the right person but you will find the right one and it will help to heal over time look up PTSD CPT therapy and decide if it sounds relevant I wish you both the very best of luck and my heart goes out to you both PTSD is a disease that hurts not only the person struggling with it but all the loved ones who watch it break us apart.
    a broken man to a broken man

  • Brandon

    June 7th, 2015 at 3:14 AM

    This week I just got out of jail. I have a kid on the way. I almost didn’t get out. It was very expensive for phone calls. In the three months we spent almost a thousand dollars. I am still shook up little some. I have to rely on others helping me temporary. I was shocked an old warrant suspended my life on hold. Thank goodness I’m home now and can be here for my wife and our first kid. At times noises and people give me anxiety. I couldn’t sleep for two days because my mind worries. Writing this help.

  • Carl

    October 13th, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Thanks need that perspective!

  • Reena E.

    June 18th, 2015 at 1:58 AM

    When a person is in jail, the only thing they could hold on to is their sanity. Its really difficult when you’re isolated from the people you love. Virginia Prison Calls should be provided to people who are incarcerated so that they would be relieved of the stresses of prison life and so they would go back to their family emotionally and psychologically healthy.

  • Krist

    July 17th, 2015 at 6:09 AM

    My boyfriend was in prison for four years. He is now out and I had no emotional or financial support when he was prison. I was very stressed that I couldn’t help him any longer. When he was released I have been there for him since day one. He is obviously not the same. He short, cold and hard. At times he shows little emotion. He holds a lot inside. I try to understand that he was away for four years and probably has some resentment for me plus not being around females causes lack of being sensitive. Thats hard for me. All inmates released and family members need some kind of support, counseling. They deserve a second chance. Examples are: work, be able to rent a place. They did their time. They get judged in everything. Things need to change.

  • Krist

    July 17th, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    Its hard for them. I cant say understand because I dont. It puts a stress on anyone released from prison. Its like post traumatic syndrome like being in war.

  • bernice

    July 29th, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    its very sad for the inmates and hard for the family, and its a freakin joke to correction facil they just laugh

  • Silvi

    July 31st, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    Its very important to read all consequences after jail. I had a boyfriend he went to jail 8 times, after jail they do worst, he bit me and now has full criminal record. I could not help him and unfortunately goes to jail again. The guy did not learn. Everything I red about prisoners in jail its true. He was that behavior, they are f* up if they went many times and did not do a good recover treatment . Its very sad….

  • Daryl M.

    October 25th, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    I am 54 years old and have spent over 22 years actually incarcerated in Maximum security prisons in California. I have been out since December 2014. I moved to Minnesota. I am severely effected in many ways from my time in prison. I have severe anxiety attacks. I want to die. I really do. I want to get some attention from authorities so I can get help. I am ready to explode. I am nonviolent but I must do something to get “their” attention so I can get APPROPRIATE help. I am so lonely, I miss my mommy, she is the only one who ever loved me unconditionally. Prison is horrible. I am left with emotional scarring for life. I cant keep a job, I am a kleptomaniac. My life in prison created this, I want to stop and cant. Please help me. Please help. If anyone knows of a professional who can help. You might wonder why I put my phone number on here. I am desperate. I need help.

  • GoodTherapy Admin

    October 25th, 2015 at 10:15 PM

    If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

  • Laura Cat

    July 18th, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Hi. If you’re wanting to die, that’s what is called a psychiatric emergency. You need to go to your nearest emergency room, and they will most likely commit you to a mental hospital. There, you will get intensive treatment. On average, you’ll probably be there for about a week or less. They will also set you up with an appointment with a psychiatrist before they discharge you. Good luck, and life is worth living. This too shall pass.

  • DontLockmeUpAgain

    July 12th, 2018 at 6:04 AM

    Great! See that’s why I can’t get real mental health services: you’ll lock me up again, and because I have NOBODY to take care of me or my things, locking me up again means that what little I have managed to gain since being released from prison will be gone, and when you release me from the mental facility I’ll be completely homeless, jobless, no clothes, nowhere to go, nothing I can look to for help staying alive, all this all over again. I’d be better off dead.

  • The Team

    July 12th, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Thank you so much for visiting If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! You can do one of the following immediately:

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY)

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can assist people in a wide variety of situations, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers Lifeline Crisis Chat for online crisis support at Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call to speak with someone who cares;
    • Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself
    • Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area
    • Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about

    If you are experiencing domestic violence, or looking for resources or information, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) (TTY: 1−800−787−3224) You can also reach an advocate using their private chat services 7:00AM-2:00AM (CST) on Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call if you think you may be experiencing emotional, sexual, or physical abuse
    • Call for resources about safety within an abusive relationship or while trying to leave one
    • Call for resources about safety and recovery after an abusive relationship has ended
    • Call if you are afraid you may be abusing someone and want help changing your behavior

    If you or someone you care about has experienced sexual assault, you can call your local hotline and/or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1—800—656—HOPE (4673). You can also use the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at for live anonymous chat based support. Some of the reasons to call are listed below:

    • Call to talk through what happened with a nonjudgmental staff member
    • Call for a referral to a local crisis center or health facility
    • Call for resources about recovering from sexual assault
    • Call for information about medical or legal concerns

  • Jamie

    July 17th, 2018 at 7:38 AM

    This young man sounds just like my son who is in this very same situation he’s right there is no long term help and what little bit I gave him & HE HAS ACQUIRED in the way of clothes an personals are all ready gone he’s homeless & looking for some mental help and I do not know if he is dead or alive right now an I hope he is alive as he has also said he’d be better off dead !!! Listen if you were then there was no reason for you here in the first place, God Has A plan for you !!! believe it’s how you got this far,,, I love you Robert !!! Mom

  • Juan

    September 27th, 2016 at 6:21 PM

    When u find it let me knoe I use to be a good boy growing up in a extreme ruff Barrio untill I got lockt up doing years in jail county now a days u doo ur prison time in the county 0 % of activities complete isolation dorms nf cells and on GSU for 6 years I feel u homie

  • Convict

    March 10th, 2017 at 5:29 AM

    It turns people violent or those violent even more so. When you have to fight to keep your position
    on the pecking order daily, is that healthy rehabilitation ? And how exactly are we to automatically
    turn off years of instilled behavior once released ? Prison does make people worse.

  • Jenn

    May 7th, 2016 at 6:04 AM

    My husband has spent 17 yrs total in prison. He is truly trying to turn his life around. I have known him since we were 18 & 20 yrs old, now 43&46. He is the Best Man I have ever had in my life but the results of prison life have left him scarred. In search right now for some good psych help in Syracuse are or our marriage will not make it. Very sadly the PIC Syndrome is real in our home. He has relapsed back to drugs and raging for the last 4 months. So afraid something is going to happen that can’t be undone. He truly deserves a good life. Lord please help us! Thank you for your site, as I will use your therapist search today. We have no time to waste.

  • Clara

    June 1st, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    Hi Jenn,
    I interned at a high risk all male prison as a counselor. I know what prisons can do. You can try to Google free or low income therapists in your area if finances are a worry, Also Universities and Colleges that over Psych classes will often have psych help available to the public for free or a reduced rate or sliding scale fee so they can gain experience for their student (future psychiatrists and therapists). I will pray for you cause no doubt you have a wonderful man and marriage and prison messed things up a little. Stand by him at all costs. He needs you now more than ever.

  • Brian P.

    December 25th, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    None of u know what u are talking about it’s the justice system there is so much corruption it’s just job security for state and gov. Jobs. It’s ridiculous the amount of time they give the people that are non-violent it’s a waste of the taxpayers dollars forcing most of them to do drug and alcohol treatment and about 95% don’t want to be there so what’s the point it’s up to them when they want to change so stop wasting our tax dollars on people that don’t want help and I’m one of them and I’m doing just fine AA for everybody.

  • Carolyn m

    May 17th, 2016 at 10:26 PM

    I’m looking to learn what is best when a man is released from jail after 11yrs….do they how housing for them & make sure they stay good? How do we know they will do the next right thing….get the correct help & do the right stuff to be good people….I don’t understand how to request the best….from him….if I’ve don’t know what the best even is for him???

  • Jayde S

    June 20th, 2016 at 5:47 PM

    Being a primary school student i struggle to read some of this information. Could i have a little admin help, we are doing persuasive texts on jails and law & court kind of stuff! feel free to leave a comment. Btw i don’t know why i am struggling because i am a top student in my class thx! -Jayde

  • Jayde S

    June 20th, 2016 at 5:48 PM

    Is this a free site..? plz answer

  • The Team

    June 21st, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    Hi Jayde,
    Thank you for your comment. It is free to contact a therapist through our site, and the information, articles, and subscription offers on our site are free. There is a membership fee for therapists, which you can read about here:

    Hope this helps! :)
    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • mk109

    October 21st, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    Well I was in for 100 day for a dwui, well thought i was strong but am out and its gets to me from time to time. I do think that it does alot you. even with the good support i have,

  • Jamie P

    January 12th, 2017 at 12:08 AM

    What I want to know is HOW are all these assaults happening in jails/prisons?? Not just America, Canada, too. It’s a real problem that our governments are simply ignoring! These people may have broken the law, apparently, but they are still people! We are supposed to be against torture in North America, yet we allow it in our jails.
    Why is security not watching cameras at all times?? Why do we not have proper staff to properly supervise and properly punish when abuse happens between inmates?? No sexual assaults should even be happening! That’s unacceptable! How does security get away with abusing inmates?? If a camera is turned off, it should be questioned! These guards need to be held accountable for their actions or lack there of!
    That is the problem. Lack of staff, and lack of accountability for the actions of guards and inmates.
    And that is a big reason why some of them keep going back to jail. Because they had no time to try to get better because all they did in jail was fight, be assaulted or try to stay alive because the prison wasn’t doing it’s job!
    Although, I’ve never fully understood how people are supposed to rehabilitate in prison when they’re locked in a cage the majority of the time. That right there, would be where a lot of the PTSD comes from, as well. Being locked in a cage for hours, months, years. It’s enough to make anyone nuts. And I’m surprised we still do it to anyone that hasn’t committed a dangerous federal crime.

  • patricia

    February 12th, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    the same people who make these laws should be punished beyond MEASURE in jail themselves because they are nothing but abusive unmerciful hypocrites doing WAY worse than the ones they put in jail. They themselves are the REAL criminals allowing the abuse of non violent criminals. THEY SHOULD ALL BE PUNISHED T6OGETHER FOR THE HURT AND DAMAGE THETY HAVE CAUISED TO NON VIOLENT CRIMINALS. They have no idea who they are abusing !! My seventeen year old son is in jail on drug charges he was not violent. my son grew up being abused physically, mentally, verbally, and emotionally by his father and having to watch me also be abused and ended up having bipolar depression and his life has been nothing but pain and torture since he was born He was even hit as a baby and these horrible people think they have the right to hurt and not protect and abuse these people who are only human and made mistakes ??!! I am so angry i am aBOUT TO BURST OUT OF MY OWN SKIN

  • Convict

    March 10th, 2017 at 5:31 AM

    True, but always remember, what separates us from those in power, is that they legislate their crimes
    and abuses into legality.

  • Hugs-n-Healing4MyInmate

    September 8th, 2017 at 7:58 PM

    My man is about to come home after a decade in prison.He went in, only 18 years young.Prior,the mom was/is now mid upper forties,and still a junkie/drug addict/and she even share drugs with him.he confide me in me so much…he has suffered. Been locked up literally for 11 yrs almost when home in 2 months.This should be the happiest time of his entire sad negative drug-related/criminal life,and i m getting the whole”back and forth.” 1 day his mind has told him, “You’re going to be finally happy/loved and not abandon ever again. the other day,his mind is messing with him so bad,he said to me,”I am set up-to fail again and again and again.”I m scared to get out of prison!(This clearly mean he is institutionalized.)He admit he is literally frightened to leave prison.He feel the world now is “a perfect world.”He doesn’t get it.It’s not.I try to counsel him/be his therapist,as i have expertise in motivating/persuasion/positive thought process, live in a great subruban area, and have a place for both of us.I think he is bipolar.This is a sign.He admit it later to me.
    He never also got help for approximately 15 yrs, since as young as pre teen 12 yrs young/13.
    He is now goingon 29. so that mean he will be in his thirties 1 yr., from getting released, from maxium security prison and i always re-assure him, i am going to help him throughout PERIOD. This has made him feel so “comfy/alright.”happy. But now? TWO short months prior to coming home late november/dec.1st he is shockingly sounding as i already shared above. I see signs of deep severe depression/mood swings.and he is again bipolar.He is also used of people “comin in his life then leaving it,whenever they want,and are tired of him.”He told me, “Dont ever lose interest in me, and treat me like a little boy.infant.”treat me like a fifth grader please.”I need to be “taken care of.”I am so used of the state taken care of me in prison all my life since 13, juvie hall til’ 17. now 18 the big boys prison for 11 yrs. so he only been free shockingly he admit to me “for 7 months.”since 13 y.o., so sad. I WILL try to get him help, i love him so much. and most important we are BFF and a bestie would not give up on the person, He is real bad to say,” I don’t think anymore that i am “ready” to be “released BACK into “Society.” In the “real world.” This shook me.But i m also glad he admit days ago, “I will need to go into a mental/medical facility to get my head right most likely,”and i know he is scared of “the world he think is perfect.”I told him, “It’s not a perfect world.”It’ll be ok. But working hard and all will help you realize your highest “potential”and changin’ #1.)your way of thought/and SURROUNDINGS.
    If you’re going back to live in the same hood/street projects/drug addicts around u,alkie’s you’re going to be drawn back,you’re weak then.and i told him he is not a “strong young man”he wanted me to think this but i knew he was not.He has had DECADES of trauma since lil boy smh “drugs share with drug addict mother(white), father blk. he has no close ties/relationship to dad in his mid late is mid forties.
    it’s just all so sad.Some say,”Move on, because i m not goin to b able 2 “help him”til’ he help himself.and stop thinking this way.”I will see when he get home.but i am happy he did again say “i will get medical therapy IF you are with me, right there.”I love him more for this.but he never sounded LIKE what i am sharing here tonight,about “i can’t and or i am not ready to be released yet.”Knowing he has to leave there in 8.5 weeks.
    I pray for him and all others here suffering from such. I wish he got therapy since pre-teen,and teens but he did not.He will revert as alot of inmates do, right back in a bad situation IF HE GO BACK TO THE SAME old hood area.(and i know deep down)he deserve a nice quiet suburban great life, with a great woman like me, god loving,and work hard,owned property and older than him.He even tattoo me on his body 3x. i know he love me,and want to do better, but his mind is so shot,premise on bad area/bad life/bad upbringing’ and lived in SHU, seg; for 7 yrs, the last five long yrs,almost(as of january 2018) last five yrs of knowing me he has stayed OUT of SHU/SEG;
    so he know if he can “change this way”that there is HOPE for him. However, without medical,meds,and therapy each week at least first 1/2 year home,or longer i feel he will end up back in prison,and that is no place to be.But he said, “in prison it is safer for me/better”as he think this way at times,but deep down want a life with me, as we invested so much time in each other.I feel for him.and i know though he has to help himself first, then let GOD lead the way. Time will tell when he get out as i am scheduled to pick him up in 2 months thanksgiving,that weekend.
    I pray for him.and everyone.GOD bless us all.adios.

  • Robin C.

    October 27th, 2017 at 7:25 AM

    I no way am i looking for sympathy . I committed crimes while abusing alcohol and drugs. Received a sentence of incarceration which I accepted. The violence and things I did to survive No man or woman should be exposed to. i did not understand the effects this had on myself and eventually my family after my release. After many years of misdiagnosis (My chemical abuse was always treated as the primary problem). finally got a Dr who recognizes that post incarceration syndrome is something I now must deal with. I feel as if a heavy wieght has been lifted from my shoulders. Someone finally listened.

  • Karen

    December 19th, 2017 at 7:36 AM

    I did have the advantage of using the system in a very good way to get my point across now I need a new gig..and will have it soon enough. I made my point I keep my freedom at all costs. I did keep my freedom from a tent city and will be doing another something but I am not sure entirely how to stop the negativity from orgs. neighbors etc. mostly I keep to myself and will do yes but I wont see a day in the inside of the system at least

  • Mark

    January 5th, 2018 at 8:50 AM

    I spent nearly 5 years in federal prison in Arkansas. Since this was a “low”, the violence level was not what it would have been at higher security prisons. However, it still takes a mental toll upon the inmate. I call it death by a thousand papercuts. I existed on about 4 hours of sleep a night which led to physical problems. There was little to do, so many of the inmates gamble, steal, or fight just to relieve the boredom. The was no legitimate attempt made at education, teaching job skills, or counseling. It was a warehouse for 2000 inmates, nothing more.

  • michelle

    April 18th, 2018 at 12:34 PM

    i have a son that at 6 weeks old was having seizures hes 29 years old now still has seizures hes been mentally handicapped all hes life on ssd for it .long story short hes not taking hes meds right drinking on them getting into trouble back to back got sentenced to 10 months we live in ohio 15 minutes from lake erie corr but they sent him 5 hours away to socf in lucasville.a family member on my exhusbands side said he heard that Justin got beat up .im trying to find out if true .any help on what i should do if anything about hes mental physical well being thanks

  • KDR

    May 19th, 2018 at 1:39 PM

    To everyone out here with comments our questions.Are prisons are all corrupt!! I spent 3 years in a Fla prison on non violent,no drug charges, i was there for 3rd driving while license suspended charge v.o.p…I’ve seen correctional officer beat people almost to death while they were hand cuffed.I’ve seen officer set up fight clubs for inmates so they could bet on the inmates.I’ve seen officers punch inmates in the face just to see if they could knock them out with one punch while other officers bet on it.our correctional officers are so corrupt.If you can put money in an officers Paypal acct you can get any drugs you want.our prisions are very very sick here.once your in you will never come out mentally the same.ive seen murders in prison.people being raped.And you cant tell any person that works their because they will come to your cell after lockdown at night and beat you half to death.I still have problems sleeping and watching my back anywhere i go. It’s ptsd for sure.And when you first get their you lose your name and become a number. Very sick place to try to rehabilitate humans..Once your there your done.They even listen to your phone calls to see if your telling your family whats going on there.Then your really f*****..once you get to prison you’ll never be the same…There hafts to be a better way to rehabilitate humans…and its not prison!!!

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  • Shirley

    August 9th, 2018 at 4:30 PM

    My son is in the California Medical Facility right now. He has been in prison for 10 years because of the felony murder rule. He had nothing to do with the murder he was just there and he went to prison just like the man who took it upon himself to kill another human being. Within the last 6 months my son started loosing touch with reality. He peeked thinking everyone including guards and staff were going to kill him. I mean he was so panic stricken that he called me before school, not normal phone time, and told me no matter where he went that day that horrible things were going to happen to him. The next thing was a guards voice, not happy, and I hear my son trying to tell him it was an emergency and the line went dead. I immediately called the warden and got through to his secretary. Sgt. Somebody and told him that J was in serious trouble. Two days later I got a call from a mental health evaluator and he asked all the normal questions. No there is no history of mental illness, no this has never happened before, blah blah. The next call I get is from J it’s been about 5 days and he is on his way to San Quentin. WHAT, WHY J had worked really hard and been sent to a level 2 prison about 8 months ago. He maintained an A-1-A rating the whole time he’s been in prison. Why was he going to SQ? He told me he was scared. For sure he would be killed there because he was in the midst of a mental breakdown and I’m sure sending him back to a max security violent facility was their answer to getting rid of the problem. I called the warden and and got his secretary again who was extremely rude and told me there was nothing I could do about it. J went into solitary when he got to SQ. They don’t call it that anymore but call it whatever you want to and it’s still solitary confinement. In there he tried to commit suicide. The next call I got he was in a mental crisis bed in Vacaville. He was hallucinating heavily, paranoid to the 25th power and scared to death. After thinking he was stabilized enough to move. While he is having a reaction to the drugs they gave him he is moved into a cell with nothing in it. When he called me he was so terrified because he had no idea where he was or why. I have talked to one of his doctors and I wrote a letter to the warden. I asked his doctors to give him something that was familiar to him. If nothing more than some of his own clothes to wear. If he had something he could relate to that was familiar to him he would be better able to calm down a little and not feel so desperately lost. They don’t do that. In fact anything he gets he has to earn. So until he treats himself and comes out of this breakdown he’s having enough to go to group and do what he’s supposed to he can’t have anything or go to canteen and he can only call on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is the absolute worst thing you can do to someone who is having a meltdown is isolate them in a box with nothing to do. I am so scared for him. I know that he won’t get any better and he will force himself to go to group because I asked him to but he is terrified to do it because he still has the same “enemy behind every tree” scared feelings. I can tell by his voice he’s having a tremendously hard time but he won’t say much on the phone but I know. I think he will probably try to commit suicide again before he gets out. If he does get to a point where he gets moved back to a regular prison, because he came from SQ that is most likely where he will be sent back to. We have one saving grace. SB 1437 is a bill moving through the assembly right not that ammends the felony accomplice to murder rule that will make my son eligible to have his sentence vacated of the murder charge. The bill puts the responsibility in the hands of the person committing the crime. That will become a law the first of the year and I am getting him out of where ever he is and bringing him home where he should never have left.

  • Cecilia

    August 14th, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    OMG Ms Shirley
    I’m so sorry that you are going through this with your Son & that are prison Justice system in this country is that far gone that we need to punish our youth & make them suffer & torture them for crimes that are not being justified in the first place !!! To the KDR response about how corrupt & questions on the Florida prison systems, Yes I know that first hand and that the Gov office and the District attorney need to revise their stinking ways and stop trying to make a prophet off our inmates and yes their are those who are blind like the system and if you don’t keep fighting for those who have lost their voice and way then what good is our people in this country! I do understand Ms Shirley out of respect for that he already has been incarcerated 10 yrs is a lot anyway and he will get picked on for things that he has not done or created, what I do not understand is why they are giving him med if he does not have a history of mental illness yet they would not give my son the meds and he has all of the above!! That is where I stepped in, there is something you can do ! Please do not give up you can write the gov of the state and you can call your local congressman & find out who the rep is for the Department of Corrections at San Q & inform them that your son is being singled out for the abuse that you see & hear, THIS & you want to file a complaint against the facility & the warden because if your son commits suicide or gets killed you will have a attorney waiting & the Federal Department of Law Enforcement on call… waiting for an investigation to come forth and they will not notify you right away if something does happen to him ! I have told them here I will sue you for every non worthless crap you have, they listened.I got him transferred and did not go back to that facility for release ? yes you cannot communicate with them in the box is their term ,? as they say no more solitaire is nonsense because it is & it stinks sounds like slave days & no ones lives matter! Keep trying Shirley, right now I’m facing another issue with my son being so scared by the system he’s back out of control sorry I pray you do get in touch with him & THIS BILL SB 1437 gets passed for his release that is what will be the gift from god for you Ms Shirley take care & god speed

  • Levi

    July 24th, 2020 at 2:47 AM

    I like that you said that counseling is important for convicted individuals because life in prison will cut them off from the rest of society, which could increase their risk of suffering from mental illnesses. One of my friend’s brother has been convicted to ten years in prison, and the family has been a wreck over the court decision. Perhaps it would be helpful to the whole family if they hire a prison consulting service. I’ll suggest this to my friend later. Thanks.

  • E

    July 28th, 2020 at 8:26 AM

    Thanks for sharing this helpful info

  • Thomas

    September 15th, 2020 at 11:05 AM

    Wow, it really stood out to me when you explained that half of the inmates in prison are diagnosed with a mental health issue. I would imagine that it would be important for correctional facilities to work with legal consultants so that they can learn how to better manage prisoner intake and then take care of the existing prisoners. Even though those people are in prison for a reason, it seems like it would be important to provide some kind of support so that these people can change.

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