The Negative Impact of Long Term Incarceration

Imprisonment can result in health effects, financial distress, and psychological effects like depression, emotional withdrawal, suicidal tendencies, and also elevated levels of hostility. Below are some of the negative effects of imprisonment. You can also view the Greene County MO jail population to get an idea of the Justice Center’s capacity.

Psychological effects

The most damaging aspect of prison psychologically is not imprisonment but rather the disconnection from family, friends, and the exterior world that have deleterious psychological impacts on inmates. The desire to be with family and friends might result in crippling loneliness which might result in an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and disorders of the immune system. The most popular adverse psychological impacts of prison include depression, paranoia, denial, increased levels of hostility, substance abuse, delusions, stress, insomnia, etc. Former prisoners have difficulty in reintegrating into society once they are released from prison. They may feel the disconnection from family, friends, and also their colleagues; they are likely to experience difficulties in the workplace.

Physical effects 

During jail time an individual is frequently tormented by fellow inmates. Threats always mount to physical and also sexual squabbles. There are some reports that 19 percent of all male inmates in the U.S declare they have been assaulted physically by other inmates. Physical injury transpired in 40 percent of physical assaults, cases of sexual assault among inmates was 70 percent, and 50 percent assaults from the prison staff. Inmates do not only face abuse from each other but also account for abusive guards in prisons. Being in jail also puts inmates at risk of dying while in jail.

Financial effects

Significant financial strains are commonly experienced by family members as a result of the imprisonment of their family member or partner. It requires the transfer of finances, which actually or possibly affect health and well-being. Additional financial strain and their effects on health and wellbeing include: rise in financial responsibilities of childcare which is a compounded impediment of up to three months to acquire financial entitlements (i.e. income and work may need a letter from the prison). These responsibilities may include food, transport, added costs of children’s schooling, and medical, bedding, clothing and personal needs, therefore placing significant financial pressures on families already living on a tight budget; Reduction or loss in household income, particularly in households where the male prisoners’ were the breadwinners. The impact is strongly felt by parents who had to support themselves and their children and also support their imprisoned partner. This might result in the prisoner’s partner reducing food intake and only being able to afford the very basics. In some cases, those families have to move location or accommodation as they are not able to keep up with mortgage or rental payment. Often, family members sacrificed basic needs (like food) to be able to accommodate the frequency of visits or provide prisoners with cash for phone cards.

Health effects

Lack of continued care between prison services and the public has adverse effects on a prisoner’s health. Continuity of care comes as a result of previously diagnosed conditions that require ongoing specialist medical intervention and or observation by the prison doctor and stoppage of medication upon entry to prison that result in pain and negative health outcomes. Continuity of care is satisfactory to prisoners with pre-existing conditions as compared to those without pre-existing conditions who are often perceived by medical staff as malingerers, therefore, many prisoners decide not to seek any medical intervention as a result of these experiences. In some cases, temporary and permanent discontinuation of medication may occur when inmates are remanded, transferred between prisons, or sentenced to prison, and this can be life-threatening to the inmate.

Although imprisonment might lead to health effects, psychological effects (like depression, substance abuse, delusions, and increased hostility levels), and financial distress among others. Prison facilities still lack the means to offer adequate psychological support. It might be very difficult to readjust to society due to the stigma and trauma experienced while behind bars.