Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS)

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Post Incarceration Syndrome, also known as PICS, is the set of symptoms that arises in recently released prisoners and is caused by being incarcerated for a long period of time with punishment and little to no opportunities to make transition out of prison easier. PICS arises most often in those that were subject to abuse while incarcerated. PICS is a mix of mental disorders, and the five clusters of symptoms include Institutionalized Personality Traits, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Antisocial Personality Traits, Social-Sensory Deprivation Syndrome, and Substance Abuse Disorders. PICS affects more than just those suffering from it personally, it can severely affect those around them as well. Through the stages of PICS, many of those that …show more content…
PICS is a serious disorder that affects more than just the well-being of the prisoner and deserves more time and energy focused on relieving the problem.
PICS has many symptoms including reactive to drug use, antisocial tendencies, having flashbacks, depression, disassociation, chronic headaches, insomnia, and excessive thinking.
These symptoms can be classified into five categories. These categories are Institutionalized Personality Traits, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Antisocial Personality Traits, Social-Sensory Deprivation Syndrome, and Substance Abuse Disorder. The first category, Institutionalized Personality Traits, is caused by living in an oppressive environment, like a prison. Living in such an environment results in traits like submission to authoritative figures, restrictions on personal opinions, beliefs, and likes. Those who show signs of Institutionalized Personality Traits show a suppression of critical thinking and expression of feelings and thoughts. Another category, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is caused by trauma pre-incarceration and from trauma they endured while in prison. PTSD is most commonly associated with members of the military after experiencing the horrors of war, but it
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These stages are often referred to as post release symptom progression. Many of those suffering from PICS go through these stages because they are not adequately informed on how to be a part of society and cannot secure stability post-incarceration. Stage One is characterized by a general sense of helplessness. This feeling is developed as the former convict tries to reenter society without a set plan. This feeling of hopelessness is exacerbated by the inability to find housing or a job. This leads to Stage Two which is an all-encompassing fear that stems from the inability to assimilate to their community. Stage Three is when the fear turns into rage. In this stage is the emergence of PTSD symptoms such as anger and flashbacks. If not properly taken care of, this rage can turn into Stage Four, which is categorized by acting upon their anger. In Stage Four, those suffering from PICS are more likely to act violently even when minimally irritated, which leads right into Stage Five. In Stage Five, the ex-incarcerated tries to stop their violent outbursts by severe isolation to avoid being triggered. This isolation acts as a catalyst for many of the symptoms they are already experiencing. The final stage is marked by this worsening of symptoms like flashbacks, impulse control, and nightmares. The progression of these symptoms leads to more self-destructive behavior