Term Paper: Psychology of Criminals in Correctional Facilities

Pages: 4 (1200 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper

Psychology of Criminals in Correctional Facilities

This paper will analyze the psychology of criminal behavior. Specifically, it will assess the psychology of criminals in correctional facilities, assessing the mental status of criminals before entering correctional facilities and the training and resulting mental status of prisoners on release. The research will attempt to define whether any connections exist between an offender's personal background, such as age, sex, finances or family and rates of psychological impairment of mental illness resulting from their incarceration.

The paper will also provide statistical facts and figures linking mental and psychological illness with correctional facilities in an attempt to define the types of and causes for psychological and mental illness in criminals on release. Further, the paper will assess the psyche of offenders who commit crimes as they are released, including an overview of the psyche of those who would prefer to go back to jail compared with those who seek redemption or rehabilitation. To answer these questions and analyze these problems, the researcher will compare and contrast these issues using a person who is granted parole vs. one who is on probation. The results of the study will show whether probation is always the best answer for someone scarred with a mental illness resulting from their incarceration.


Pustilnik (2005) provides some of the most comprehensive research on the effects of prison or incarceration on the mind, especially with respect to mental illness resulting from incarceration. In fact, the researcher presents many of the questions the author attempts to answer, with scientific research providing detailed analysis of mental illness in criminal justice and resulting from incarceration. Pustilnik (2005) hypothesizes that confinement within correctional institutions may create "intangible social value" when criminals are taught personal responsibility. However, the author also notes that reform typically is only possible among criminals who feel remorse (p. 217) and among criminals who receive therapeutic assistance while incarcerated to address mental illness as it occurs in the correctional facility. For purposes of This paper and analysis, remorse may include feelings an offender has including guilt or an obligation to correct their actions after committing an offense. There is ample evidence that some criminals have remorse while others do not. The psychology supporting this is simple. Criminal confinement reinforces norms that equate to responsibility and reinforce one's social value in society, and provide social meaning for and a context for living a just and respectable life (Pustilnik, 2005).

With respect to mental illness, Pustilnik (2005), like many researchers before note (Lawrence, 1987), most criminals incarcerated have a predisposition to or suffer from some mental illness that may not be addressed on incarceration. The effects of incarceration often include a worsening of symptoms, preventing those on probation from leading normal lives unless their lives are strictly regulated (Gutterman, 2000). Statistics suggest that as much as 40% of those who are mentally ill are incarcerated not because they have committed so great an offense they deserve punishment, but rather because they are mentally ill, and there are no resources provided by the government to account for and care for them (Pustilnik, 2005).

Pustilnik (2005) and others Gutterman (2005) hypothesize that it is difficult to ascertain to what extent mental illness arises from incarceration, because in many instances the criminal justice system "functions as the United States' default asylum system" (Pustilnik, 2005, p. 217) meaning that roughly one if five people with a mental illness are confined in a correctional facility or if lucky, treated for their condition. Confinement of individuals with a preexisting or undiagnosed mental illness may lead to worsening of symptoms and an… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Psychology of Criminals in Correctional Facilities.  (2007, May 19).  Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/psychology-criminals-correctional-facilities/201406

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"Psychology of Criminals in Correctional Facilities."  Essaytown.com.  May 19, 2007.  Accessed October 21, 2019.