"...incarceration or institutionalization can delay emotional growth"


by bluemoonKY
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bluemoonKY
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#1
Feb16-14, 01:46 AM
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I once read a criminal profile of a serial killer made by a forensic psychologist. The forensic psychologist wrote the following: "Age is difficult to predict because this analysis is a measure of an offender’s emotional age as opposed to his chronological age. Factors such as incarceration or institutionalization can delay the emotional growth of an individual."

This seems counterintuitive to me. I have always thought that hardship makes a person more mature. The forensic psychologist was profiling a criminal in America. American prisons are generally fairly rough (violent) places. Incarceration in an American prison would certainly seem like a hardship to me. To me, I would have thought that incarceration would tend to make a person more mature rather than more immature (if it had any effect on a person's maturity level). The forensic psychologist however said that incarceration can delay the emotional growth of an individual.

Do you people agree with the psychologist that incarceration can delay the emotional growth of an individual? Has anyone ever researched this?

How or why would incarceration delay the emotional growth of an individual?
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jedishrfu
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Feb16-14, 02:01 AM
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My guess would be that the offender has little opportunity to interact with normal people in a non prison setting which impedes the growth of real maturity. Instead he must look upon his fellow offenders as dangerous and unpredictable just as they view him. He begins to follow the law of the jungle, joins a pack or develops a cooperative survival strategy. Once released he must learn to live again and to trust people and be trusted.

On top of that offenders are interested in getting of prison in any way they can, by taking courses, writing letters of apology to the victims where they minimize their crime and getting religion. There is no growth of maturity when everything they think and do centers around them and their desire to impress the parole board and get out of prison.
AlephZero
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Feb16-14, 02:30 AM
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Quote Quote by bluemoonKY View Post
American prisons are generally fairly rough (violent) places.
...
To me, I would have thought that incarceration would tend to make a person more mature rather than more immature (if it had any effect on a person's maturity level).
If you are in an environment where the only way to settle an dispute is with your fists (assuming you haven't acquired some "more effective" weapons somehow), will that make you a more mature person?

Enigman
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Feb16-14, 09:11 AM
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"...incarceration or institutionalization can delay emotional growth"


II. The Psychological Effects of Incarceration:
On the Nature of Institutionalization

The adaptation to imprisonment is almost always difficult and, at times, creates habits of thinking and acting that can be dysfunctional in periods of post-prison adjustment.
[...]

Among other things, the process of institutionalization (or "prisonization") includes some or all of the following psychological adaptations:

A. Dependence on institutional structure and contingencies.

Among other things, penal institutions require inmates to relinquish the freedom and autonomy to make their own choices and decisions and this process requires what is a painful adjustment for most people. [...]

B. Hypervigilance, interpersonal distrust, and suspicion.

In addition, because many prisons are clearly dangerous places from which there is no exit or escape, prisoners learn quickly to become hypervigilant and ever-alert for signs of threat or personal risk. Because the stakes are high, and because there are people in their immediate environment poised to take advantage of weakness or exploit carelessness or inattention, interpersonal distrust and suspicion often result.[...]

C. Emotional over-control, alienation, and psychological distancing.

Shaping such an outward image requires emotional responses to be carefully measured. Thus, prisoners struggle to control and suppress their own internal emotional reactions to events around them. Emotional over-control and a generalized lack of spontaneity may occur as a result. [...]

D. Social withdrawal and isolation.

Some prisoners learn to find safety in social invisibility by becoming as inconspicuous and unobtrusively disconnected from others as possible. The self-imposed social withdrawal and isolation may mean that they retreat deeply into themselves, trust virtually no one, and adjust to prison stress by leading isolated lives of quiet desperation. In extreme cases, especially when combined with prisoner apathy and loss of the capacity to initiate behavior on one's own, the pattern closely resembles that of clinical depression. [...]

E. Incorporation of exploitative norms of prison culture.

In addition to obeying the formal rules of the institution, there are also informal rules and norms that are part of the unwritten but essential institutional and inmate culture and code that, at some level, must be abided. For some prisoners this means defending against the dangerousness and deprivations of the surrounding environment by embracing all of its informal norms, including some of the most exploitative and extreme values of prison life. Note that prisoners typically are given no alternative culture to which to ascribe or in which to participate. [....]

G. Post-traumatic stress reactions to the pains of imprisonment.

For some prisoners, incarceration is so stark and psychologically painful that it represents a form of traumatic stress severe enough to produce post-traumatic stress reactions once released. [...]

This is particularly true of persons who return to the freeworld lacking a network of close, personal contacts with people who know them well enough to sense that something may be wrong. Eventually, however, when severely institutionalized persons confront complicated problems or conflicts, especially in the form of unexpected events that cannot be planned for in advance, the myriad of challenges that the non-institutionalized confront in their everyday lives outside the institution may become overwhelming. The facade of normality begins to deteriorate, and persons may behave in dysfunctional or even destructive ways because all of the external structure and supports upon which they relied to keep themselves controlled, directed, and balanced have been removed.
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/prison2home02/haney.htm#II
zoobyshoe
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Feb20-14, 05:58 PM
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Good info, Enigman.
A. Dependence on institutional structure and contingencies.

Among other things, penal institutions require inmates to relinquish the freedom and autonomy to make their own choices and decisions and this process requires what is a painful adjustment for most people.
Once, back when I was entry level in a machine shop, they hired a new guy who was straight out of a long stint in the Marines. The boss told me to train him in on the basic stuff.

Eventually I noticed he had a peculiar habit of explaining everything he was about to do, "I'm going to wash these parts now, then put them in the tumbler," "I'm going to take these over to Dave for him to drill the holes," "I'm going to start deburring these aluminum ones, now," "I'm going to go take a leak now," etc.

He did it before he initiated any new activity whatever. It became annoying. Eventually it occurred to me this report of every future act for my consideration must have been something he had to do in the Marines. Since I'd been designated to train him in, he regarded me as some sort of authority whom he was required to provide with a running update of his activity.

I think "Dependence on institutional structure and contingencies," probably emotionally cripples anyone who is part of any heavy handed institution. They lose all sense of how to function autonomously outside that structure.
Evo
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Feb20-14, 10:56 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Good info, Enigman.


Once, back when I was entry level in a machine shop, they hired a new guy who was straight out of a long stint in the Marines. The boss told me to train him in on the basic stuff.

Eventually I noticed he had a peculiar habit of explaining everything he was about to do, "I'm going to wash these parts now, then put them in the tumbler," "I'm going to take these over to Dave for him to drill the holes," "I'm going to start deburring these aluminum ones, now," "I'm going to go take a leak now," etc.

He did it before he initiated any new activity whatever. It became annoying. Eventually it occurred to me this report of every future act for my consideration must have been something he had to do in the Marines. Since I'd been designated to train him in, he regarded me as some sort of authority whom he was required to provide with a running update of his activity.

I think "Dependence on institutional structure and contingencies," probably emotionally cripples anyone who is part of any heavy handed institution. They lose all sense of how to function autonomously outside that structure.
I think you're right.
bluemoonKY
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#7
Feb22-14, 07:54 PM
P: 33
I disagree with all of the replies so far. In my original post, I asked if incarceration could delay the emotional growth of an individual. I also asked how or why incarceration could delay emotional growth.

You people responded by pointing out ways that incarceration could make an individual socially immature, but you did not point out ways that incarceration could make an individual emotionally immature.
bluemoonKY
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#8
Feb22-14, 07:58 PM
P: 33
An emotionally immature person is controlled by his emotions. An emotionally mature person controls his emotions.

Social immaturity and emotional immaturity are different things.


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