No Man’s Land: The Mental And Physical Problems Prisoners Face after Release

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Did you know that once a prisoner is out of jail, their personal turmoil might not yet be over? Here are some health problems prisoners face after release.

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China and India have the world’s largest populations, but the U.S wins out on the largest prison populations, as well as the world’s highest prison rate. This doesn’t directly correspond with having the highest crime rate, which rests with Mexico.

Most crimes are a consequence of a poor attempt at solving a problem. They are a deviation from what most of us consider normal. And the way we choose to react to crime is with punishment, which often results in imprisonment.

But, does imprisonment guarantee reform? How do we handle the problems prisoners face after release and the consequences they have on communities?

Well, you can’t fix a problem until you know what it is. So let’s look into a few of these problems that affect released prisoners.

Susceptibility to Recidivism

Recidivism occurs due to the repetition of criminal behavior after bearing the appropriate punishment (prison time, fines, etc.). The repeat offenders then have to be incarcerated or fined again. The rate of recidivism tends to be higher in individuals who suffer from mental illness.

Given the nature of a criminal offense, it is not surprising that a huge percentage of prisoners suffer from mental illnesses. Unfortunately, most of them do not get the necessary treatment required for their illnesses. This directly contributes to the likelihood of repeat offenses.

One way to reduce the rate of recidivism is through moral reconation therapy. This CBT approach aims to address and improve elements like behavior and relationships.

Aggravated Health Issues

Offenders who were imprisoned with illnesses of the mind or body often do not get the treatment they need while doing time. This poor or insufficient treatment leads to the aggravation of their condition after release.

This is a common problem with prisoners dealing with illnesses relating to substance abuse. Some of these prisoners have a dual diagnosis of both,  substance addiction and an additional mental illness. They most likely face withdrawal during their prison time, and often relapse upon release.

External factors like the loss of dignity and social rejection can also trigger other mental issues, in a recovering patient.

Poor treatment for physical illnesses can have equally detrimental consequences. In certain instances, even basic treatment might not be enough. Intervention by specialists might be in order, to alleviate the severity of diseases.

This especially with those that are contagious and are at risk of spreading upon release.

Rehabilitation: A Fix to Problems Prisoners Face After Release

The focus is often on getting criminals in prison. Hence, little is done to ensure rehabilitation after the prisoner is released back into society. While some may see it through the lens of “deserving to suffer”, often the suffering is not limited to the released prisoner themselves.

From a human rights’ perspective, or otherwise, appropriate rehabilitation to reduce the problems prisoners face after release, are a societal necessity.

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