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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS)

Researchers at NCBI/National Institute for Biotechnology Information have suggested that Post-Incarceration Syndrome/PICS should be considered a specific sub-cluster of psycho-social problems that share or overlap symptoms with PTSD/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PICS symptoms are specific to those incarcerated and those recently released from incarceration.

For registrants diagnosed with PICS, cluster symptoms seem magnified due to not being able to fully reintegrate back into society because of registry constraints.

According to the NCBI, reported PICS cluster symptoms are characterized by “institutional personality traits, social-sensory disorientation and alienation”.

Those incarcerated are controlled, their every movement accounted for by the authorities. An inmate’s critical thinking, individualism, emotional and personal expression become deadened in a setting where one must maintain passivity towards authority figures and yet be able to display a certain level of controlled assertiveness towards other inmates for mere survival. Personalities become “institutionalized”.

Once on the “outside” individuals need to re-establish their individual identities and begin making decisions for themselves. Due to the rules and regulations of the registry and the authority it holds over registrants, being able to regain one’s sense of independence and personal identity in society can be extremely complicated.

Those experiencing post-incarceration syndrome suffer from feelings of alienation, of “not belonging” in social settings and fears that “anything good” they have is only temporary, that it can be taken from them at any time. As one becomes more accustomed to “living on the outside”, normally those kinds of feelings would lessen, gradually subside.

For those on the registry, these feelings are experienced for an extended period of time. Registrants worry all the time, about everything and with good cause. Every knock at the door, every wrong glance they may make, every action they take causes them to second guess whether or not they are breaking some vague registry rule that they may not realize they are breaking.

Registrants are challenged from re-entry into society, many find themselves outliers, forced to live on the fringes of communities with inadequate access to housing, employment and basic human relationships.

Social-sensory deprivation while incarcerated isn’t just solitary confinement, it’s the lack of socialization with the outside world, the lack of access to current technology that will be required to “fit in” to society once released from incarceration.  Relating to people in social settings can be scary and difficult for those who have had limited “normal” social contact while incarcerated. Relearning social cues and how to trust people once on the outside, can be crippling and debilitating.  For those convicted of sex offenses, incarceration comes with its own unique set of circumstances. Many registrants have suffered traumatic mental and physical abuse issues while in prison. Adjusting to a society where they may feel unwanted, disoriented, alienated and detached from their communities, is, in itself, traumatizing.

Criminal justice reform must consider the ongoing need for treatment of mental health issues both pre and post incarceration. For registrants experiencing PTSD and PICS, this need is especially important as mental health issues will surely be compounded when they try to re-enter society while living under the unforgiving constraints of the registry.

 

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    While I was fortunate enough to get a light sentence of 60 days that I was able to do via weekends (which allowed me to keep my job and home), I otherwise still experience everything you’ve described. I haven’t had real friends with whom I socialized in nearly 7 years when everything happened. The few times I have attempted to reconnect, I just couldn’t handle it. There’s constantly this voice in the back of my head that keeps saying, “What if they find out? What if the information somehow gets by to my job and I lose everything?”. And making friends with new people is even more complicate, especially in this day and age when people seem to go out of their way to dig into a persons past just because. And digging into our past is as simple as a Google name search that puts many of our names at the very top, tagged to one of several 3rd party websites like Home Facts; this in particular is incredibly frustrating since the actual Megan’s Law website isn’t index’d by search engines and you actually have to go to Mean’s Law site directly to find people, but they’ve done nothing to prevent 3rd party sites of data mining this information and constantly pushing to the top of web searches.

    My wife and I haven’t really even done any traveling outside of CA and greatly limit it here. Looking at the insane web of laws that’s different state to state, county, or even city level, and I just mentally curl up into a ball and cry. Could we technically travel somewhere? I suppose. But I sure as hell don’t have the time, money, or mental capacity to 100% thoroughly research everything that I’ll have to comply with so that I don’t get and FTR or some other bullshit because we stopped off too close to a park or something to eat. And please no one reply with “Live your life! Screw the rules! Don’t let them cage you up!”. I don’t want to be like the man in IL who was jailed and has another conviction because he dared follow his son into a park because the laws regarding presence restrictions were apparently written inside a blender (even by the judges admission).

    I may no longer have to meet with a PO or attend mandatory counseling, but I’m sure as hell not free. Not by a long shot.

    • someone who cares

      SR ~ I know what you mean. It is the uncertainty of not knowing the rules for other cities, counties, states or countries that put a damper on all of it. Nobody knows all the laws, including LE, judges and lawyers, and yet we are supposed to or risk a FTR. I am sure we could get away with a lot, but the mere thought of getting in trouble will keep us from living a real life. It is almost impossible to learn about all the different laws, so we, too, mostly stay within CA. Not really fair, but also not worth the worry.

    • Brent

      @SR No doubt this registry scheme will put a dent in your social life, especially if you’re a socially active person. Luckily I am not, and another good thing I have going for me is that my real name is very very common. But I still can find myself on Homefacts if I use my middle initial. So your right about their data mining. I’m still listed publically on the state registry, but I plan on moving to a state that won’t list me publically because they consider my offense low level. Granted Homefacts and other 3rd party sites will follow me around because my current conviction state will never take me off their registry, but at least Homefacts won’t have the new address in the state l plan on moving too because I don’t intend on updating my new address with my conviction state. Now I don’t know if I will get in trouble for not updating. Nobody on this forum has been able to give a straight on whether or not I have to update my info in more than one state.

    • AJ

      @SR et al:
      There are a number of States with extended periods of time before you have to report. The one with which I’m most familiar is MN. There, you can stay 14 consecutive days (and/or 30 days in a calendar year) before you must report and only Tier III is on their public site. Though it must be done in person, MN also de-registers you when you leave. (They’ll send a letter to the address you give to verify your “move.”) If you plan to be there more than 14 days, you must tell them within the first 5 days–or just jump across the border for a calendar day. There are no presence or residency restrictions. The only oddity I know of with MN is if you’re an in-patient at a medical facility, you must advise the staff of your RC status.

      Were I in your position of travel wariness, I would scan through the 50-state document on here to weed out the “no f-ing way” States (IL, FL, NY come to mind) and then check out the others to see if they’re worth it. (It may also help to check the non-compliant list from the Feds.) I recall from discussions on here that both NH and HI are pretty friendly on their “registration-free” periods of time.

      Low-headache travel can be done and can be enjoyable.

      • SR @ AJ

        Thanks AJ. Why is NY a no way? Looking at the travel list posted on this sight, NY doesn’t seem to require visitors to register.

        • AJ

          @SR:
          Yes, that was my error. I had NY in mind for its draconian system once one must register. From what has been said on here, it’s probably okay as long as you leave before then. My apologies.

          From what I also recall from here, NH’s rules could be parlayed for an extended stay, as long as done across calendar months.

        • AJ

          @SR:
          Another place to consider is SC. According to their own SOR FAQ, a visitor can stay 9 days without having to register. There are residency restrictions near schools and the like for those convicted of certain offenses (they all sounded like contact offenses against a minor) but otherwise it seems better than many States. You do NOT want to have to register there, though, as it appears you cannot get removed from their registry unless, like LA from what I recall, your conviction is overturned by a judge or pardon. Fat chance of that happening for (m)any.

          Here’s the text from their site:
          “Therefore, if you are planning to be in South Carolina for ten days or more, you will be required to register with the county sheriff.” (http://scor.sled.sc.gov/FAQs.aspx#36)

      • Facts should matter

        “Low-headache travel can be done and can be enjoyable.”

        Your optimism isn’t exactly contagious around here.

        • Will Allen

          It can be, but you must always go to places where you already know what will work and what won’t (i.e. know the “laws”/”rules”). That is unacceptable.

          It is not acceptable that I am not able to travel anywhere in the United States without even thinking about it. It is not acceptable that I have not been on probation/parole for well over a decade and yet I must still act as if I am.

          As far as I’m concerned, anyone who disagrees with that is a harassing criminal who cannot mind their own damn business or leave other families alone. Those “people” have declared war on my family and they deserve any kind of retaliation. If it were up to me, they’d all get a bullet between the eyes. Not for the harm they’ve caused, but just because they are scumbags every day. They will be tomorrow. They will be next week. They will be next year.

          I’ve got a lot of great retaliation planned for the Registries these next couple of weeks. More than the usual. War must be waged. Oh well. They need to stop harassing my family.

        • AJ

          @Facts should matter:
          “Your optimism isn’t exactly contagious around here.”
          —–
          Ok, and? Everyone’s mettle is unique. But I ask you, who controls and is responsible for one’s level of optimism or pessimism? Also, I said “low-headache” not “headache-free.”

          Maybe it’s just my German ancestry. After all, you can always tell a German. You just can tell him much!

          @Will Allen:
          Nowhere did I say it is acceptable. All I said is one can find ways to have some enjoyable travel, if properly done. Should I have to do so? No, but that does nothing to change the facts as they stand.

  2. Gralphr

    Who has to worry about PICS when the government has set up the registry to try to prevent you from integrating back into society!?

  3. Saddles

    @Gralpher intergrating or imigrating back into society. One wonders who’s in trouble today. Are we not born into trouble. One wonders if this movement is a movement of Trafficing or a or a prostitution type of trying of the mind in this loose way. Talk about smoking the word of God or abusing the word of God

    Abuse of Power. Yes when we say abuse is it a one sided afair in this electronic type age. Yes public safety is good but inducing via an internet type device is undoubably abusive and unchristian in many ways and facets. Now authorites have certain commandments by their authority and yes all authority comes from God and yes he has total control and absolute, or who can serve two masters. Its basically simple when one looks at it right or are all condemned with a scarlet letter. So were is true Justice today. One wonders who is even carnal by nature.

    Sure their are many ways to speak out but who’s coming together with the solution or the bandiment of these electronic age crafty games that wit one’s conscious and damage one with even this enducement. Yes abuse of one’s conscious is very dangerous and law enforcement are a bit too much or who bridges the gap.. Can we all say Jesus Christ or should we all go back to another time.

  4. Dustin

    The whole point of the registry is to prevent those on it from reintegrating into society and keep them running in and out of jail/prison for the rest of their lives. It’s not about “protecting” anyone, save politicians (legislators, DAs, and judges) who want brownie points with their constituents.

  5. Rob

    Glad they are finally addressing PICS. Kinda late for us old timers who have been suffering PICS for over 30+ years. Only light in my tunnel is the tier program which I qualify for. Even then, I’m not getting my hopes up.

  6. Saddles

    Guess one can pick up new words by government today. Talk about the word “micromanage”. While I’ve heard of one managing their own affairs in the right way but micromanage is a bit over the top, overrated, or over data today in overkill. So if this registry is about data than we are all guilty and government is just as clean as a whistle blowing in the wind or was that “Gone with the wind”. Wonder who said frankly “Scarlet” I don’t give a damn. Was it government today.

    Seems today government has a handle on everything even the micromanagement of the way people think today, manage their business and other affairs. They know were this virus came from, they know that the blacks and the whites and many other races will riot. They know that they are invincible and of course they know they have the power to abuse Gods authority. or who said nobody tells me what to do. One wonders if any president ever said that.

    We’ve all came a long way from the “Taming of the shrew” to no man can tame the tongue deceit in this to error is human Justice of this computer net age.

    Talk about free speech today. Guess that would get one locked up in seconds or who is playing in this overlay of injustic today. Where is the cover-up of the bill of rights today, where did these internet sex stings come from, or should we all do like Job’s wife said: Curse God and die.

    How many on here would honestly say their sisters meddle in their affairs and want to be right all the time. Should we all take a look at ourselves. Are these many religions or demonations alway right or is the main goal to oppress the other one that doesn’t agree with your views or the status quo. Where has basic principal gone. In some cyber tech warfare or wayfair of man’s injustice. Guess everyone might as well go back to the Woodstock era if thats the case. At least they didn’t wear a mask.

  7. New Person

    I was watching Milton Friedman’s “The Role of Government in a Free Society” on YouTube. I have watched Milton many a times to help me sleep at night. Yet, in this particular episode, Milton identified two types of freedom: 1) freedom from coercion and 2) the cost of an item is free.

    Under the registry, we lack freedom. Sure, the government says we are no longer under custody, but the evidence is quite the contrary. In California, we are coerced to report in-person to re-register under penalty of law. We are coerced to not have freedom of travel as we have restrictions on where we can venture as well as report if we venture away. We are coerced to sign a paper that the police came by on a compliance check.

    That loss of freedom under penalty of criminal law, not civil law, points to still being under custody of the state.

    The registry keeps me in a state of being oppressed. I don’t associate much with new people because I don’t want new people to discover my past, considering I’m still registering. I’ve gone to college and impressed my professor so much that he used grant money to make a student job opening for me that I never asked for, but the school rejected me once they discovered I was on the registry despite me pointing that my case has been dismissed. That was humiliating and I didn’t tell my professor why I the school didn’t let me have the job he created for me. Then I got a job offer on a military base from a third party company that I don’t think I ever applied for, but I think my professor had a nudge with that company. I never made it past the base entry check point because registrants are banned from entering the base. It was quite embarrassing as the whole check point was shut down because of me being on the registry, but being cleared by the third party company on the base. Although, I could petition to get onto the base, I just gave up because why would a company want the hassle of a potential employee who couldn’t get onto the base, which would give red flags.

    I got my felony reduced to a misdemeanor, but the judge tore me a new one as if I were a current monster despite my conviction was eight years ago. The only reason the judge granted the reduction was the fact that I would remain on the registry and wouldn’t change anything for me. The judge was correct on that point. The reduction was more of a legal step forward to help pad my way to a CoR… or the new tiered system.

    PTSD… PICS… every time I try to rise, I get knocked down. I just try to live day to day nowadays. That’s an improvement from trying to live from meal to meal so as to not let depression grab a hold of me.

    The registry is a legal form of segregation. Our crimes are vastly more egregious and carries a “frightening and high” recidivism rate, which both are false. We aren’t looked as a people who made bad mistakes. We’re looked at as monsters and never more. More than eight years since my conviction and probation giving me a recommendation for felony reduction, but the judge and DA still dictate to me that I am still a current threat and a monster.

    Systemic… institutional oppression, segregation, and the stripping of freedoms for registrants. What rehabilitative work is present? None. It’s actually trying to pile on to stripping more freedoms and civil rights.

    Look at the Certificate of Rehabilitation. It states you don’t need to apply if you got your 1203.4 except if you’re a registrant. Institutional segregation within the convict community. Non-violent sex crimes are considered violent crimes so as to continue to segregate the registrants from early release.

    I don’t know what say except that the state owns me. I am still under custody, like Janice headlined, “Take Your Knee Off My Neck.” I have no freedom like that of my neighbors. PTSD… PICS… I’m afraid to apply for jobs.

  8. Saddles

    @ New Person. You talk about Morgan Friedman’s position or should we compare it to Dennis Praguar or should we all of said No to women’s rights, but women or teens do have the right to lure one on the internet and they do have the right to blackmail because they are blessed only in childbirth. They even have the right to Traffic and cover their tracks as Government does so who’s playing the Samson and delliah trip to snare one with some jezabel scheme… I’m sure we all get the point in these issues. Nothing wrong with women as I see it.

    So is Government at fault or who is storing pictures of vainty on their hard drives. It all starts with the temptation as most couldn’t care less as long as government get their vain glory or why does the bible talk about the two edged sword.So who is walking honestly or are Governments making provisions of the flesh inducement in many of these ordeals in these vain antic’s that are a fist full of dollars for them.

  9. New Person

    @Saddles… wut?

    Milton Friedman is an economist who supports capitalism as a way to gain freedom (or more freedom) and independence. His definition of freedom, free from coercion, reveals that the registry is coercion. When you compare the Smith v Doe, 2003 (the Alaska registry) to today’s registry, it’s gone above and beyond of mail-in reporting with only the local PD having that info as well as not sharing. The dissenters in the 2003 decision are proven correct by today’s registry.

    Make a mistake, get reprimanded, and then move on. The registry doesn’t allow one to move on because we’re under penalty of law to register, to abide by state/federal restrictions, to purposely disseminating private information to the federal level to help restrict travel worldwide, and keep tabs upon for years on end, to the end of your life for some people. These are traits that everyone under the registry is still under custody. Thus, any registrant injured or killed due to the registry is under custody of the state. This is what Janice is trying to make courts admit that crimes against registrants are recorded as crimes against registrants due to the registry.

    The registry is a jail cell without walls and legalizes the segregation to have a 2nd class citizen set outside the prison walls and inside the prison walls. Janice is exposing a part of this by fighting Prop 57 to allow those with lower level sex crimes to have the same opportunities for early release from prison.

    Everyday we are subjected to potentially new laws against registrants. We come here to ACSOL to keep us updated on possible new laws that continue to infringe on our liberties, where we’re told we’re free and no longer under custody, but we actually are still under custody.

    Don’t you want to be free from coercion once you’ve paid your dues?

    • w

      @ new person

      Yep, the importance of a site like ACSOL is that it shows the other side of the story. Unfortunately the prevailing image that people get is always from a prosecutorial perspective feeding off the emotions induced by a handful of violent cases. The public perception is irreconcilable with the phrases “constitutional law” and “sex offender”. It’s a very difficult problem to tackle, and a shoo-in for bad legislation.

      So thank goodness for this site and the people that come here to help. Even when there’s bad news at least people can get informed. And it shows that help is out there, nobody has to be in this fight thinking they’re alone.

  10. AERO1

    Depression or PICS/PTSD is real and the sad thing is sexofenders cant really even be treated for these symptoms.
    Trying to do anything socially is pointlessness and in most cases impossible because 5 out of 10 people are gonna Google your name Its like reliving a nightmare over and over again.
    I also agree just because sexofenders are out of jail/ prison in no way shape or form are they free the registry is a virtual cell and life time probation.
    Traveling out of state is a challenge and very depressing as well.
    All theses laws were made to keep sexofenders chained and bound from ever functioning in Society.
    The problem with that is eventually people are gonna get tired of being labeled 2 class citizens and the way the registry keeps growing people and there family’s are gonna start protesting out of anger. All it takes is that one sexofender who society can relate to and understands the situation and truly feels the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

    • Will Allen

      I hope your situation improves. The Registry Supporters/Terrorists/Scumbags win when their Hit Lists drag you down and cause you problems. Don’t let them steal your life. They are scum that will never stop trying to drag you to their loser level.

      You said, “Trying to do anything socially is pointlessness and in most cases impossible”. That is not the case. The Hit Lists might make it a little bit harder. But, what I found when I first started Registering is that one of few things that the Hit Lists is actually useful and good for, is to determine who some of the scumbags are who you don’t want around you or your family. I had “people” say all kinds of nonsense to me, harass my children, try to break business deals, etc., etc., etc. But I always thanked the Hit Lists for outing those “people” as the scumbags that they are so that I could get them away from me permanently. That is a real gift from the Hit Lists.

      The Hit Lists are useful for that and I will always use them for that. You don’t want “people” around you who think the Hit Lists are useful. I don’t mind sensible, mature, responsible people who just look at the Hit Lists, just for information. Those people are decent. But those people won’t cause you problems and they’ll treat you normally. It is the other scumbags you don’t want around you.

      And if you still find the Hit Lists to be a problem, only meet and hang out with people who couldn’t find you on the Hit Lists even if they tried. That is not hard to do at all (another reason why the Hit Lists are useless and stupid). I’ve done it any time I felt like it. Find other people who are interested in what you are and hang out with them. In large cities, I found that to be very easy. And simply normal and fun as well. They never had any idea I was a Person Forced to Register (PFR).

      You said, “eventually people are gonna get tired of being labeled”. Eventually? There is no eventually. People were done with it 20 years ago. People have murdered innocent children because of it, and only because of it. People have been “protesting” forever. No one cares. There aren’t enough people protesting and it certainly isn’t being done forcefully enough. And I won’t be holding my breath for “society can relate to”. America is FULL of assholes. Has this latest COVID, Trump, etc. stupidity not convinced everyone of that? F*ck those people.

      I think a real thing that causes a lot of PFRs problems is that they allow themselves to be labeled. They allow people to call them “sex offenders”, “sexofenders”, or whatever. Are you a “sex offender”? If that is what you say you are, then you are probably going to have problems, be part of a group of 2nd class citizens, and worse. Is that what you are? Or are you a person?

      I don’t know about you, but I don’t have anything to do with $EX crimes. I’m certainly not a “sex offender” or whatever. I’m just a person who is being harassed, along with my family, by immoral, out-of-control, nanny big government. That’s all.

  11. Brandon

    Being on the registry does put a huge dent in your life; however don’t let some government label define who you are. Let you define who you are and be proud of it. If someone doesn’t like you for being a registrant; it’s one less idiot you have to deal with. I’m lucky to be with someone that’s younger than me; but her entire family has known me for most of my life. Due to these laws my girlfriend; her family, my immediate family and I have learned how much harm it causes. My experience has educated people that once believed the lies and I’m grateful for the knowledge I’ve learned; also knowing that we aren’t alone. So with that being said; thank you!!

    • A.D.A.T.

      While I agree with the substance of your comment, may I point out that many of us don’t have the support system that you enjoy. This puts us in a position of vulnerability when it comes to people judging or putting demands on us.
      I myself am very comfortable in who I am as well as accepting what I have done to be in this position. Yet I feel I constantly must be doing more, being more, and accepting more in order to avoid being punted to the curb be an unaccepting society that doesn’t care about the person, only the label.
      From all I have experienced and read, this is a unique condition to english speaking christian populations. 90% of the world has to many other issues to get involved in another person’s life. I guess the hypocrisy runs deep and wide in the English speaking cultures. I keep my sanity only be counting the days when I will be able to walk past a TSA agent as I depart the U.S. for the final time.

      • Josh

        A.D.A.T
        I loved your post and couldn’t agree with you any more because that is largely been my story and my general experience too. I have a incredible support system with many people who love me and know the real me…not the kid who made a poor choice over 25 years ago. I too have tried to over compensate and live with a real integrity to disprove the label that I’ve been saddled with. For years I struggled with the stigma of that label. It gets old real fast being branded one of “those people”. I do admit that I would like to be more like Derek(Once Fallen) or Will Allen in my thinking but that is the true nature and purpose Of SORs. The real intent is to ostracize & shame a entire segment of society. It took a while to accept that I know in my heart I’m not THAT nor am I defined by my worst moment……that is a liberating realization

      • Brandon

        I apologize I didn’t mean that I don’t feel for the people that lack support and I wish organizations would reach out to people. Just because someone is a label by the government doesn’t mean they can’t live a law abiding life; yet the government does make Every aspect of that difficult for registrants. I admit sometimes I forget that because I haven’t seen it; but just because I haven’t doesn’t mean I don’t think it exists. At the time I was being encouraging through my experience; but there are two sides to every coin and I haven’t been impacted as long as others. Even though I don’t know you I do support you and I wish you the best.

  12. Saddles

    Seems many on here are coming up with some good thoughts and getting the picture now about a lot of these internet sex sting operations. Course I’m not going to throw soap bars to Will Allen. This moral turpituide, must be something wicked or some type of advantage over others, or is it an unbalance type of judgement. One wonders what type of picture says a thousand words.

    Talk about the pharase “Open mouth insert foot” in this erotic game of internet exploritation. So where is the standard of judgement in a court of law. Is it hidden under the prosecutions petticoat or the use of strong language when induced upon the fictious teenager that turns out not to be a teenager, or the intentional solicitation, or even the provoking act of the operator. The open mouth insert foot pharse has caught up to me and I’m sure many others at times.

    So what are overzealous authorities doing in many of these ordeals. Should we say as Paul said: Let us therefore not Judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brothers way. So if this is the storm you guys are wrestling with stop it as this can wear you down and be your mental nightmare.

    Are many of these internet ordeals a type of coercing method in a devilish overzealous manner, or is it a form of turpituide in this traffick game. One wonders who rightly handles the word of truth or who is overthrowing you or many in this vain ways. Even picturing all these sting operations seems to be a radical concept of government demise. Guess government couldn’t just stick to parking ticket violations in these many cases in this two wrongs don’t make a right ordeal.
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=internet+sex+stings+vs+hands+on+operations&qpvt=internet+sex+stings+vs+hands+on+operations&FORM=VDVVXX

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