Home

Sexual Offenses & Treatment

By Alianna Noah-RayonAugust 23rd, 2022in CJ 725

When I first started working in the criminal justice system in Montana, I was convinced that I would never be able to work with offenders who have committed sexual offenses. I thought that I knew too many people who had been assaulted and had too many personal experiences and that it would be incredibly difficult for me to be able to work with those types of offenders and remain unbiased. While it is not an easy population to work with due to the varying types of offenses (some of which are incredibly difficulty to learn about), for the most part they are also some of the easiest due to the fact that most of the time they are going through some of the most intense treatment and because they usually are not treated very well at other facilities, so they tend to follow the rules a little more strictly. This is not to say that every type of sexual offender is like this, but I would say that the majority that I have worked with are. 

Something that I find really interesting about sexual offenses is the amount of different things that an individual can do to end up with the label of “sex offender.” Anything from streaking at a football game or urinating in public to assaulting multiple people can get you the same label. While I agree that there should be consequences for all of these actions, I do not believe that someone who streaks at a football game should be treated the same as someone who has assaulted multiple people. In my eyes, those crimes are not the same and I think that treating them the same could do more harm than good. Research has shown that when you mix high risk offenders with low risk offenders, the low risk offenders increase their risk instead of high risk offenders lowering their risk. This applies across the board for all types of offenders. A lot of cases that I work with in Montana are statutory cases, meaning that the offender assaulted someone who was either below the age of consent (16 in Montana) or the offender was 18 at the time and the survivor was younger than that. Statutory cases are difficult because the circumstances vary, so even within those types of situations there is an incredible amount of difference from one crime to another. Currently, treatment includes groups sessions as well as individual sessions with an LCSW or similarly licensed counselor. There are workbooks and various assignments that offenders work through, but they are all covering the same material regardless of what their specific crime is. Implementing a blanket form of treatment for anyone isn't usually the best course of action, but especially with such differences in crimes, in my mind there is no way that each person is getting their needs met and their problem areas addressed.

I am in no way advocating for there to be no treatment or consequences for sexual offenses, I am instead advocating for there to be more treatment options and that we do a better job of considering the circumstances for the offense before just assigning blanket treatment. I understand that that takes more time as well as requires more staffing to accommodate more types of treatment, but I ultimately think that it would be beneficial to have a system more tailored to specific offenses and that allows for higher risk offenders to be separated from the lower risk ones. 

Self Care

By Minuette GarnerAugust 23rd, 2022

Self-care can be different for everyone. It is a way to help keep balance in an individual's life. Self-care is beneficial not only mentally but physically and spiritually as well. 

Life is full of stressors; work, school, family responsibilities, etc. If we don’t take time to take care of ourselves we could suffer from burnout, anxiety, or depression. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration mentions the eight dimensions of wellness; Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, and Spiritual (SAMHSA). 

Emotional 

This means taking time to understand how you’re feeling. Suppressing emotions isn’t good for mental health. Instead, try finding a healthy outlet. This can take several different forms, find one that fits your lifestyle. 

Environmental 

Going out for fresh air and getting a change of scenery can help ease your mind. Do things to help the environment, like buying reusable products in order to keep waste at a minimum.

Financial 

Developing a financial plan and budget can help ease financial burden. Knowing how much you need to set aside and save can be helpful to keep in the future. Keeping a budget can also help you save for the future. 

Intellectual 

Take time to study something new, read a new book, or try a new hobby. Find something new to learn that you enjoy. Maybe it’s a dance class or a community college class that you’ve been wanting to take. 

Occupational 

Maybe it’s time for a change. Apply for new jobs or update your resume. Look for a way to get promoted in your current job. Plan for your future and find new ways to find happiness in what you're doing now. 

Physical

This could be exercising, going for a walk, or a hike. It could be trying a new healthy recipe or getting a good night's rest. Start doing little things to improve your health.

Social 

See friends and family, and go out. Volunteer, and use healthy social media. Reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while. 

Spiritual 

Do some yoga and be mindful of those around you. Heal your inner mind and find peace in the world around you. 

Some ideas of things to do to take care of mental well-being can be exercising, eating well, drinking water, and keeping a healthy sleep schedule. The word exercise may seem daunting but even just going for a walk around the neighborhood can help clear one’s head. The foods we eat can have a big impact on the way we feel. Sometimes it may seem like there’s no time to prepare a healthy meal, but eating healthy snacks can be just as good. Instead of a bag of chips and a soda, maybe try some carrots or an apple with peanut butter. Having a good sleep schedule may be difficult because of conflicts like work. Prioritizing as much sleep as possible and keeping it during a consistent time can help us feel more alert and better during our day. 

Individuals may feel that there might not be enough time during the busy week to practice self-care. Just 10-15 minutes daily can be beneficial. Doing a face mask, doing some reading, or just sitting down to practice breathing can ease our minds. Even just 10 minutes of stretching or yoga in the morning can also help us seize the day and feel refreshed. 

Self-care doesn’t need to take lots of time but it should be done consistently in order to see results. It will not only benefit mental but physical health as well. Taking a pause or a breather from reality for a little bit can help us deal with it better.

References

ITgroup. (2021, November 4). The importance of self-care - tri-state memorial hospital. Tri. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://tristatehospital.org/the-importance-of-self-care/ 

Learn the eight dimensions of wellness - substance abuse and mental ... (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma16-4953.pdf

Matthew Glowiak Apr 14, 2020, Jun 3, 2022 H., May 24, 2022 H., & May 17, 2022 H. (n.d.). What is self-care and why is it important for you? Southern New Hampshire University. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Caring for your mental health. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health 

Childhood Trauma

By Patricia RomanoAugust 21st, 2022

Childhood trauma can be a complex matter and can often go unseen. majority of the time children do not know how to deal or understand the affects of trauma and therefore try to forget about it and act like everything is fine or act as if nothing ever happened. When trauma is not dealt with in the proper way then it can cause different problems for a person as they grow older. For instance, a child could start acting out and participating in criminal activities, or start having mental problems such as anxiety or depression. children should not be afraid of dealing with trauma or going to someone for help, but at the same time parents and other adults who are close to the child should do their best to help the child if they go to them for help and not make them feel like what they are going through is not a problem or make them feel like they are over reacting. I feel like some parents are not aware of how trauma can affect a child or maybe they do not know how to help them so they just ignore the issue. I think there needs to be more resources especially in schools where children and adults are informed on how to receive help and also how to help a child through a traumatic event. when a child is suffering from anxiety or other mental illnesses caused by a traumatic affect we often do not know the signs or symptoms or they resemble other illnesses and therefore go undiagnosed or just left alone until a bigger problem is created. I have personal experience in this as I am a victim of childhood trauma that was not handled in the proper ways growing up. although I did not participate in any criminal activity I was never sure how to handle my anxiety or depression and my family never noticed what was wrong and kind of swept it under the rug until I was older, but even then they never tried to help me through my anxiety or depression. It wasn't until I started going to therapy that I finally got my anxiety and depression under control and have an easier time handling it than when I was a child

Veterans with PTSD more likely to have justice-system involvement than those without.

By btage002August 20th, 2022in CJ 725

      The criminal justice system refers to governmental on nongovernmental bodies that have a primary purpose of managing the accused individuals and criminals' convicts. The criminal justice system involves police officers, court, and correction officers. Every person is equal before the law in any country. However, some groups in society have some advantages over others, such that they will have more of the justice system involved than others. For example, veterans or military members, like any other person, are eligible to face the law if they get into criminal activities. It is assumed that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to have the justice system involved than those without PTSD (Smith, 2018). This essay explains why veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to have the justice system involved than those without PTSD.

           Veterans often involve themselves in severe encounters and fatal scenes, which can contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder development. PSTD is a mental disorder that may significantly affect veterans' psychological well-being, resulting in their involvement in criminal activities. Veterans with PSTD are more likely to have the justice system involved than those without PSTD because the former have a higher prevalence of committing crimes or getting involved in criminal-related activities due to impaired cognitive functions. Most of the time, veterans may have a PSTD. Still, it is undiagnosed such that whenever they get involved in criminal activities, the justice system will handle them just as other everyday people do without looking into the causative factor that made them involved in the criminal activity.

           Post-traumatic stress disorder is a critical factor that raises veterans' risk of criminal justice involvement. Most veterans who, at one point in their life, participated in combat encounters and involvement in the traumatizing event play a significant role in their criminal behavior. For instance, most veterans are more likely to respond with anger and brutality during a combat encounter. Such responses later may contribute to a person getting into a criminal offense, which requires the justice system's involvement. According to the general strain theory, the risk of involving oneself in criminal activity is higher in someone who has experienced a traumatizing or scary event and has reported adverse effects such as anger or irritability. The veteran, in this case, becomes a perfect candidate because of their involvement in traumatic activities hence displaying criminal behaviors (Camins, 2019). According to various studies done on the association of veterans with post-traumatic disorder and involvement in the criminal justice system, it was found that veterans with PSTD who have at least once shown anger or irritability have a higher probability of being arrested as compared to those without post-traumatic stress disorder, anger outburst, and irritability.

           Most of the veterans get themselves engaged in criminal activities due to PTSD that is undiagnosed. Most of the time, veterans who get convicted and incarcerated without being assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder end up worsening their condition due to the situation and circumstances they are exposed to while in jails and prisons. Even though the criminal justice system usually conducts mental health assessment and screening, screening for Post-traumatic stress disorder is not a universal requirement in prisons and jails; hence high chances of missing out on veterans convicted of crimes while having PSTD and this, in turn, affects their recovery because they will not have an opportunity to access better treatment.

           One study on the relationship between combat exposure, crime, and veteran with PSTD revealed no association between combat exposure and crimes committed by veterans. However, the studies found that the prevalence of criminal justice involvement was sixty-one percent (61%) higher among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder than veterans without any mental disorder (Finlay et al., 2019). Individuals of the male gender were more involved as compared to the females. Post-traumatic stress disorder was found to have a close connection with violent offenses. Examples of violent offenses the veterans with PTSD involved include sexual assault on others, physical assault, and robbery with violence. In connecting PSTD and violence, it was found that most veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder were guilty of committing violent crimes such as physical and sexual assaulting their victims.

           In summation, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher prevalence of involvement with the criminal justice system than those without PTSD. Therefore, it is of the essence to install effective measures in the health care facilities and criminal justice system, such as screening for PSTD to help veterans with PSTD. Most veterans with PSTD convicted of various crimes in the criminal justice system end up worsening their condition due to the harsh environment in jails and prisons. The adequate screening will enable the identification of post-traumatic stress disorder clients. Even if convicted in the criminal justice system, they will be in a better position to receive special attention and treatment. Adequate screening of veterans before convicting them will help provide better treatment, reducing the link of PSTD veterans to the criminal justice system.

References

Camins, J. S. (2019). Predicting Justice Contact in Veterans with PTSD: The Incremental Validity of Specific Risk Factors (Doctoral dissertation). https://shsu-ir.tdl.org/handle/20.500.11875/2854.

Finlay, A. K., Owens, M. D., Taylor, E., Nash, A., Capdarest-Arrest, N., Rosenthal, J., & Timko, C. (2019). A scoping review of military veterans involved in the criminal justice system and their health and healthcare. Health & Justice7(1), 1-18. https://healthandjusticejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40352-019-0086-9/

Smith, B. A. (2018, July). Impact of veteran status and timing of PTSD diagnosis on criminal justice outcomes. In Healthcare (Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 80). MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/315046.

Mental Health of Cops

By bwillemsAugust 20th, 2022in CJ 725

Officer safety is by far the most important aspect of a cop's job description, but what happens when the officer becomes a danger to themselves. The concept of ignore and override is a dinosaur, prehistoric way of thinking. "The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 (LEMHWA) was signed into law in January 2018, recognizing that law enforcement agencies need and deserve support in their ongoing efforts to protect the mental health and well-being of their employees. Good mental and psychological health is just as essential as good physical health for law enforcement officers to be effective in keeping our country and our communities safe from crime and violence"(US Department of Justice, n.d.).

Cops and military need to learn that it is ok to talk about what is bothering you. Whether it is to a significant other, friend, coworker, counselor or priest; talk to someone. According to bluehelp.org, there have been 100 reported cases of officer suicides this year, with 179 last year and 186 in 2020(Blue H.E.L.P, 2022). Suicide should be hunted like any other cop killer.

References

Blue H.E.L.P. (2022, March 4). The Numbers. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://bluehelp.org/the-numbers/

US Department of Justice. (n.d.). Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness (LEMHWA) Program Resources | COPS OFFICE. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://cops.usdoj.gov/lemhwaresources

Systems-Induced Trauma

By Amber KelleyAugust 20th, 2022in CJ 725

System-Induced Trauma is a relatively newly-coined term within the mental health field. It can be defined simply as “exposure to traumatic systems,” or as “situations in which organized systems create trauma, including those designed to mitigate trauma” (Stewart, 2021; Lucero and West, 2017). These systems can include the criminal legal system, foster care system, school system, shelter systems, and the healthcare system. System trauma can be caused by: having police show up to an incident with the fear of being murdered, being forcibly removed from your home, the stress of not reporting to work or school, testifying or being present in court as a victim or a witness and repeating the facts of the a crime and being challenged on the validity, the isolation, neglect, and mental and physical harm that can occur in correction facilities and foster care placements, living with complete strangers, having multiple placements, potential for physical and sexual abuse, the neglect, dismissal, and misdiagnoses by the professionals meant to care for you, consistent suspensions and expulsions with little alternatives to finishing school, and being forced to comply with medication management. Navigating multiple systems throughout a lifetime can compound the impacts of this type of trauma. 

If you are a uniformed person that arrives at incidents, a case manager that decides the safety and well-being of children, or clinicians working with high-need clients, I challenge you to consider the fears and anxieties of the people you’re serving. I also challenge you to not be afraid to ask the family, the client, the person in crisis what they need at that moment. Reflect on how your decisions as the professional will impact the client and their families. Trauma-informed care is a term used in many fields and the goals are to recognize when the effects of trauma are showing up for clients and how to mitigate causing any more harm. Trauma-informed care will look different within the different realms of community support and helping professions. However, the goal for all of us should be to not cause any more harm. 

 

Lucero, K., & West, K. (2017, December 20). Moving Towards a Trauma‐Responsive Practice in Treatment Court Teams. San Diego; California Courts The Judicial Branch of California. 

Steward, N. (2021, January 29). What is system-induced trauma? Continued Social Work. Retrieved August 17, 2022, from https://www.continued.com/social-work/ask-the-experts/what-is-system-induced-trauma-84

Young Adults and Alternative Opportunities: Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration

By sonagereAugust 16th, 2022

This is the time to address the institution of punishment versus justice. We are failing in the criminal justice system that we now work with. "At yearend 2020, the number of prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction had decreased by 214,300 (down 15%) from 2019 and by 399,700 (down 25%) from 2009, the year the number of prisoners in the United States peaked. Forward-thinking programs are happening across the United States, focusing on this demographic in particular. Emerging adults are identified as that population from ages 18-25. Those involved in the criminal justice system have many of the same foundational characteristics. They come from marginalized communities, broken homes, poor educational experiences, and a general sense of hopelessness. Many of these young adults have experience with the system because of a family member's involvement and need that outreach to keep them from tipping to the other side of the fence. They will tell you this is NOT the life they want. It's just the opposite. These young people are "craving" to be different or better than they have been raised, yet, they don't have the tools to know how.

In Massachusetts, there is ROCA. "Roca's mission is to be a relentless force in disrupting incarceration, poverty, and racism by engaging the young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope and drive change." The program was established in 1998 and has five sites in Massachusetts, 1 in Connecticut, and 1 in Baltimore, Maryland. They work with young adults referred by various agencies as being "high risk" for offending. Through the use of community outreach workers and community partners, ROCA has made a difference in young men's and women's lives. They are the only organization of their kind to have a specific focus on High-Risk Young Mothers. There is a focus on education, skills training, and the use of Cognitive Behavioral Theory. Teaching these young people to think differently and providing them with a support system that they have been lacking has proven successful. "Roca retains 84 percent of participants annually, despite the fact that these are high-risk young people who are not ready, willing, or able to participate in programming. After completing the first two years of the program, participants significantly reduce their criminal behaviors: 93 percent are not rearrested, 95 percent are not reincarcerated, and 88 percent of those on probation comply with their conditions. In addition, graduates demonstrate significant employment gains: Although 83 percent of participants come to Roca with no employment history, 84 percent of those enrolled longer than 21 months are placed in a job; 92 percent of them keep the job longer than three months, and 87 percent keep it for six months or more."

chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://rocainc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/From-EBP-to-Roca-HKS-NIJ-Paper-MB-YZ.pdf

"https://rocainc.org/who-we-are/overview/

"http://chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/p20st.pdf

Trauma: The Event and the Aftermath

By cbaldeAugust 16th, 2022in CJ 725

Cady Balde

August 15, 2022

 

Trauma

Trauma is defined as a significant emotional response to an event or series of events that induces stress. Depending on the event, trauma is comprised of three main categories: acute, chronic, or complex. Acute trauma is the result of a single incident, such as witnessing a shooting. Chronic trauma is categorized as continuous or prolonged, like domestic violence. Complex trauma is the combination of multiple events which is commonly associated with child maltreatment. Trauma is individualized; therefore, it affects every person differently—even in the aftermath. Some individuals who’ve experienced a traumatic event can exhibit psychological symptoms such as denial or emotional avoidance. Helpful aids such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help regulate emotional responses. However, others can experience more severe side effects like withdrawing from others, suicidal thoughts, or developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse disorder.

PTSD

The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD as a “mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event” (Mayo Clinic, 2018). A study revealed that nearly “one-third of people exposed to trauma develop PTSD. Men report higher incidences of trauma, but women are more likely to develop PTSD” (Mcmahon, 2018). A sad dichotomy for those suffering from PTSD is the destructive pathway to substance abuse. Those suffering from PTSD often resort to drugs or alcohol to gain control, self-medicate, and ultimately cope. Psychology professor, Matthew Tull, revealed that 46% of individuals suffering from PTSD will also struggle with alcohol or drug use disorders (Arrow Passage Recovery, 2021). Situations like these, where an individual is seemingly stuck in a never-ending cycle of trauma, can render them helpless and leave friends and loved ones confused.

 

                                                                                 Recovery

A government program that offers a lending hand to such individuals is Washington, D.C.’s MyRecoveryDC initiative. MyRecoveryDC collaborates with certified peers who have completed their own recovery process with District-based residents who are just starting their recovery journey. This program aims to break down stigmas surrounding PTSD and the subset of related issues that follow, such as drug and alcohol abuse disorders. MyRecoveryDC serves as the initial hard conversation for someone struggling with addiction to someone struggling. Michelle, a certified DC Peer Counselor, shared her long-time struggle with alcohol abuse, stating, "None of us can do this by ourselves." If we could, then we probably would have. But that’s not how it works "(D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, 2021). Support is a vital component of overcoming traumatic events and disorders that they accompany.

 

 

 

 

 

References

Arrow Passage Recovery. (2021, April 29). Complex PTSD and Addiction | How is C-PTSD Different? | Arrow Passage. Arrow Passage Recovery Center. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.arrowpassage.com/complex-ptsd-and-addiction/

 

D.C. Department of Behavioral Health. (2021, June 3). DC Health Launches MyRecoveryDC to Raise Awareness of Addiction Treatment Services, Share Inspirational Stories of DC Residents in Recovery. DOH. Retrieved July 17, 2022, from https://dchealth.dc.gov/release/dc-health-launches-myrecoverydc-raise-awareness-addiction-treatment-services-share

Mayo Clinic. (2018, July 6). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - Symptoms and causes. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

Mcmahon, D. (2018, December 17). When Trauma Slips into Addiction. The Imprint. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://imprintnews.org/child-trauma-2/when-trauma-slips-into-addiction/32462#:~:text=Trauma%20increases%20the%20risk%20of,to%20cope%20with%20traumatic%20events.

Internet Crimes Against Children

By ebertranAugust 16th, 2022in CJ 725

With the internet becoming more ingrained in our daily lives, it is easy to ignore the dangers that come with it. Child pornography has become more prevelant on the internet due to the ease of distribution and the ease of production. Combating these individuals is a difficult task that takes coordination and cooperation over many law enforcement agencies and parents. Over the years, different organizations have been created for this purpose. One organization that has been well established is the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program which was created in 1998. The goal of this program is to educate state and local law enforcement agencies on how to respond to these threats against children over the internet, as well as how to educate parents on the dangers. There are 61 task forces across the country that coordinate efforts which have trained over 675,700 members, reviewed over 844,600 complaints, and arrested over 89,400 individuals due to the received complaints (ICAC).

Society has accepted these risks for the benefits that they gain from the internet and have learned ways to protect themselves against these online predators. However, young children are using the internet more often and are a very vulnerable population. Young children are being used for pornography or are being solicited for sexual acts by grown men. Children often see the good in people and do not automatically distrust strangers. It can be difficult for a young, innocent child to imagine that a grown man would masquerade as a young child or that they would lie about their intentions. It is our duty to protect our children from these predators by ensuring that they are safe online.

The DOJ released a report for protecting children, listing six key guidelines to follow to ensure their safety. Parents can talk with their children about these guidelines, tell them why it is important to follow them, and to talk with their parents about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. The guidelines are to:
-Discuss Internet safety with children
-Set limits about who they are allowed to communicate with
-Set limits about the type of device they can use and what applications they can use
-Use technology to protect them (set parameters online or check on what they are viewing)
-Pay attention to warning signs (mood changes)
-Report suspected abuse to authorities
(USAO-Michigan, 2020)

USAO-Michigan. (2020). U.S. Attorney’s Office Releases Tips for Protecting Children From Online Predators During COVID-19. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdmi/pr/2020_0505_Protecting_Children

ICAC. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program. https://www.icactaskforce.org

Inmate Trauma- How can it be Helped?

By Layla KirchhoffAugust 16th, 2022in CJ 725

Across the United States, there are numerous federal, state, and county prisons. These institutions house individuals who are fulfilling a sentence due to a committed crime. However, it is rare that a person- once in the system, will be a one-time offender as the criminal justice system views high rates of habitual offenders. A large part of that could be due to the prison system itself and methods geared towards rehabilitation. Half, if not more, of the individuals entering prison or jail, are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (Widra, 2020). Once in the system, the trauma does not cease but only will continue. Attending court, receiving a sentence, and transitioning to a new type of life can all be traumatic factors in a person’s life. To that point, mental health diagnoses are high amongst those in the criminal justice system. Within the facilities, women have higher rates of abuse than men. That can take the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, and more (Rousseau, 2022). Rates of depression and anxiety are seen at high rates between the sexes (Bartol & Bartol, 2021). In 2005, there were 26,396 reported incidents of inmate-on-inmate assaults (Widra, 2020). In 2016, 255 people across state and federal prisons committed suicide, while 333 individuals completed suicide in county jails (Widra, 2020).

The statistics above demonstrate that there is a mental health crisis in the United States prison system. Multiple offenders experience trauma beginning in childhood, and that cycle continues into adulthood. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can include anger outbursts, flashbacks, nightmares, sleeplessness, negative thoughts about oneself, and more (Post-traumatic stress disorder). The Trauma-Informed Theory is most helpful to assist the criminal justice system with rehabilitation. The Trauma-Informed Theory helps to recognize triggers and past traumas while learning how to move forward. The theory also teaches management and coping skills for symptoms while reducing stressors (Rousseau, 2022). Focusing on trauma can help dissipate current violence and help prevent future assaults. More than not, people who have experienced trauma are more likely to find themselves in that situation again if not intervened. I believe a focus on PTSD and trauma symptoms would further allow offenders to mend and integrate within an institution and everyday life following.

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2021). Chapter 6. Criminal behavior: A psychological approach. Pearson.

Rousseau, D. (2022) Module 4: Implementing psychology in the criminal justice system. Boston University. Blackboard.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Post-traumatic stress disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd

Widra, E. (2020). No escape: The trauma of witnessing violence in prison. Prison Policy Initiative. Retrieved from https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2020/12/02/witnessing-prison violence/#:~:text=Even%20before%20entering%20a%20prison,of%20the%20general%20male%20population.