Throughout the many conversations I have had with people about my experience the one question I most frequently get asked is “What is the toughest part about being incarcerated?” One would think that the answer to this question would be the threat of violence, the dealing with the racial issues, the gangs, the drugs, the corrupt officers, the honest ones. While those are legitimate fears and concerns of daily life in prison, the real enemy is time.
When one is incarcerated there are very long stretches of time where there is nothing to do. Depending on the assessed level of your security risk, you may be housed in a dorm setting where it is more social or in a much more controlled environment in which you could even end up in a cell alone.
Regardless of your housing assignment, there will be long periods of time in which you will have to face your own demons. The guilt of what happened to get there, the reality that a poor choice or series of choices has created a separation that might never be mended. These times are the toughest and the most challenging to overcome.
There are many ways people handle that time alone, some read, others devote themselves to exercise, while others still find comfort in seeking out religious studies. No matter how you handle the long hours of boredom, there will still come a time when you are alone with your own thoughts; those times when remorse or the desire to speak to or be with your family is overwhelming and there is nothing that can be done.
Showing that level of vulnerability in prison can have dire and dangerous consequences from both the inmate population and the staff. It can attract predatory inmates that can attempt to manipulate an individual into breaking institutional policy, joining a gang, using or relapsing into the use of drugs or, in extreme and rare circumstances, lead to sexual advances or even forcible rape.
The loneliness and isolation could lead to depression that, if misread by staff could lead to you being placed on anti-depressants or other psychotropic drugs. While there are those that would benefit from such treatments, many times the solution is much simpler. There are many compassionate and understanding staff members in prisons, and many would gladly lend you a sympathetic ear to ease your mind. That too has its consequences though because it could lead to them manipulating one into giving information on the other inmates which brings with it its own set of dangers.
By far the toughest thing about a term of incarceration is the excess of free time and the way that loneliness and isolation play on your mind. Many times you call home in order to hear that friendly voice and they will need to vent as well, not understanding that there is nothing you can really do while in prison, other than worry or get frustrated.
Learning to deal with the everyday struggle while coping with the psychological aspects of incarceration are truly the key to surviving and, ultimately, re-entering life after incarceration. We at AnswerMan Specialty Services have been there and along with our broad spectrum of convenience services we can thoroughly go over the reality of being incarcerated with you and your family. We can educate you on the everyday dynamics of life in prison and give you the tools to help you cope with your incarceration, from a prisoner’s point of view. We will also work with your loved ones to help explain everyone’s role in the process as well as arrange for family and individual counseling to allow you to enter prison better prepared. Let us help you and your family make a very difficult transition a little easier.