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Personal, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-being

In any job it is important for the employee to take care of themselves so that they can remain physically and mentally able not only in their job but also in their personal life. This is even more true in high-stress professions or in professions that take place within a difficult work setting such as hospitals, courts or prisons. Stress is a dangerous factor that can greatly affect a person’s life. The French physiologist, Claude Bernard, wrote that if a life is to be maintained we must keep our “internal milieu constant in the face of a changing environment" (Schneiderman, 2008). This definition can...

The Psychology and Sociology of Spiritual Care

Prison chaplains provide spiritual care to inmates. They are aware that the concepts of altruism, avoidance and alienation directly impact the inmates materially, socially and mentally. Altruism is the idea that a person performs an act of kindness that will help others, but will either provide no benefit or a loss to them (Anderson, 2007). This psychological concept can be found in most world religions, including Christianity. In Luke 10:25-36, Luke writes about the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this story, a man is beaten, robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. Three men walk by him as he is dying: a...

Prison Group Dynamics and Organizational Behavior

An informal social group can be defined as a group of people (at minimum three) that have created a solidified pattern of social attitudes, values and interactions based on loyalty, similar interests or home backgrounds, crime associations and their ability to cooperate in the execution of a natural function (Caldwell, 1956). The cooperation in the execution of a natural function is what a social group centers around because it is the interest that connects the group. For example, in a prison community composed of adult males, the function could be gambling, the cooking of moonshine or participating in homosexual relations (Caldwell, 1956). Since the prison...

Ethics for the Chaplaincy in Prison Environments

Ethical theories such as Utilitarianism, Kantian Duty-Based Ethics, Virtue Ethics and Deontology can be implemented into prison systems by chaplains. Each theory contains principles that can be applied to the lives of inmates, fellow staff members and even the chaplains themselves. Utilitarianism is an ethical principle that states that it is best to look at the big picture or what is best for the greatest number of people (Holmes, 1994). Under this principle, in an ideal world, every action would maximize the advantages for the largest number of people. An aspect of this theory that is commonly neglected is that it is based on empirical...

Spiritual Care in the Prison Environment

Prison chaplains work to provide religious and spiritual care to inmates and fellow prison employees across the country. Spiritual care, also known as pastoral care, is simpler to define when the root meaning of the word “spiritual” is given. This word is a combination of Latin and Hebrew roots:the Hebrew word Rauch, which means soul and the Latin word Spiritus, which means breathe of life. When these two meanings are combined it creates a word that means to breath life into a soul. In a prison, chaplains provide spiritual care in a multitude of ways. Their focus is on providing spiritual care to inmates and staff...

Racial Inequalities and the Future of Solitary Confinement

Using statistics from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, K.A. Reiter was able to determine what race the prisoners and parolees are, the amount of time they were placed in solitary confinement, and how often they were released. Reiter found that every month in California 75 prisoners are released directly from solitary confinement straight to parole (Reiter 2012, n.p.). According to Reiter , there are three ways in which you will be able to leave solitary confinement: parole, snitching (i.e. debriefing) or death. Furthermore, Reiter’s research shows that in California, “Hispanics” are disproportionately more likely to spend time in the Special Housing Units (SHU),...

Isolation and suicide

Many studies on the interaction between the kind of housing an inmate is placed in and reports of suicide and self-mutilation show that there is often a coloration with solitary confinement and isolated housing (Haney 2003). When comparing those who commit suicide in the general population versus inmates placed in solitary confinement two researchers, Bonta and Gendreau, stated the following: “Inmate suicides for a 20-year period in the United States were at a rate of 17.5 per 100,000 inmates in contrast to 11 per 100,000 people in the general population”(Bonta, Gendreau 1990, p. 19). In a quantitative study done by researchers Smith, Wolford-Clevenger, Mandracchia and...

Theories of Ensuring Safety in Supermax Housing

Research has shown that there has never been an intended goal set for the use of supermax housing and solitary confinement, although researchers do agree that most prison officials and policy makers “justify supermaxes on the grounds that they serve to ‘control’ the ‘worst of the worst’” (Mears 2013, p. 7). As Appelbaum states in his research, “the arguments in support of solitary confinement fall into three main categories: it ensures the safety of the inmate and others, it can effect behavioral change, and it is a punishment for infractions” (Applebaum 2015, para. 5). Although many people believe that the inmates placed in solitary...

The Mental and Emotional Impact of Solitary Confinement on Inmates in...

There are 80,000 prisoners minimum that are living out their sentences in a form of isolation and confinement, as well as 25,000 prisoners in super maximum-security prisons (Mears 2013, n.p.). Solitary confinement, also called ‘segregation’, is usually defined by an inmate who spends 22-24 hours of their daily lives confined to a small cell, without sunlight, books, music or human interaction (Appelbaum 2015, n.p.). Although there is an extensive amount of research proving that the consequences of solitary confinement are profoundly negative, much of the Unites States still uses it. This is one of the major social issues of our time that is largely...

New Jersey Offers First Mobile Methadone Program for Inmates

Opioid addicted inmates at the Atlantic County Jail are the first in the state of New Jersey to obtain their daily dose of methadone from a mobile service provided by the John Brooks Recovery Center. This program is a part of the state’s efforts to bridge the service gap for incarcerated addicts. The program estimates an enrollment of approximately 50 inmates in the mobile service. For Alan Oberman, Director of the John Brooks Recovery Center, this is a huge achievement. Current research indicates that medication assisted treatments like methadone coupled with counseling and assistance programs work well. For this reason Oberman and many other county leaders...