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Imprisonment and Stress

Prison life is extremely stressful. Such stress is due to the prison situation itself, including loss of freedom, the sense of being reduced to a classification number and no longer a unique individual; disconnection from loved ones; loss of meaningful work and financial security; constant threat of physical and sexual assault; and omnipresent racism and endless rules to follow and punishments for breaking them. Prison conditions, including crowding and solitary confinement, greatly magnify the stress. In addition, inmates may have additional stressors, such as predisposing vulnerabilities and predispositions (e.g., history of serious mental illness, history of multiple traumas predating arrest). Moreover, some of the treatments available in correctional settings for stress-related medical and psychiatric infirmities are less than ideal, so inadequate treatment can be an ...

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