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Incarceration and Trauma: A Challenge for the Mental Health Care Delivery System

Abstract

Studies consistently find alarming rates of trauma experience, trauma-related symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among incarcerated individuals, including men, women, older adults, youth, and veterans. Exposure to trauma increases the risk for the development of a multitude of problems for incarcerated individuals, including violence and other disciplinary issues, development or worsening of mental illness, death through suicide, and criminal recidivism post-release. Trauma-related symptoms may also interfere with the effectiveness of treatment for substance abuse or other mental health issues. Correctional administration and mental health professionals are charged with delivering appropriate care to incarcerated individuals; however, they face significant challenges in creating approaches that take into account histories of trauma. This chapter provides a comprehensive review of the literature on trauma and incarceration, with focus on trauma experienced both before and during incarceration, and its impact on post-release. Current treatment models and interventions, as well as the challenge of implementing trauma treatment into a correctional setting, are also discussed.

Keywords

  • Trauma
  • Traumatic events
  • Trauma-informed corrections
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • PTSD
  • Prisoners
  • Suicide
  • Recidivism
  • Treatment
  • Serious mental illness

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Leidenfrost, C.M., Antonius, D. (2020). Incarceration and Trauma: A Challenge for the Mental Health Care Delivery System. In: Javier, R., Owen, E., Maddux, J. (eds) Assessing Trauma in Forensic Contexts. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33106-1_4

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