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Life after Prison: 5 Emotions Released Prisoners Experience

Posted 5 years ago by Jim Titus


You would think that being released from prison would be a relief. For inmates who have spent years in prison, however, being released also comes with apprehension. Emotions released prisoners experience include confusion, guilt and shame, fear and worry, the realization that their own behavior has changed, and possibly even “homesickness.”

Emotions Released Prisoners Experience

1. Confusion about the world around them.

Imagine spending only one week away from home for a business trip. When you return to your family, you notice new foods in the refrigerator, mention of conversations or incidents that occurred over the week, maybe even new clothing in your son’s closet.

Now imagine years away. Technology will have been upgraded, slang lingo will have changed, new political leaders will have taken office, friends will have moved away, new singers and movies will be topping the charts, and so on. Emotions released prisoners experience will possibly include discomfort while getting acclimated to the current social, family and political climate.

2. Prison will have become familiar.

For inmates serving a significant sentence, they have no choice but to turn prison into home – so much so that they do not feel at home in their past surroundings after they are released.

3. Guilt and shame

Emotions Released Prisoners Experience

Despite having paid for their crimes, emotions released prisoners experience could still include guilt and shame. They may feel unresolved guilt about the crime and the people they harmed. They could also feel shame in public or with their old family and friends due to the fact that they served time in prison. They could even feel that they disappointed their loved ones – such as by asking for help to pay for bail, because of the crime that they committed, or because of what may have happened while they were in prison.

4. Worry about the future

Clearly, released prisoners would worry about their future. Where will they work? Are they ever going to be able to afford to live today? And then there are the social questions: Are their children angry with them? Did their significant other truly “wait for them” as they said they would? Are their best friends now just acquaintances?

5. Prison changes people.

If you’re free, you can get into your car and drive just about any time you want. And you enjoy that. A prisoner cannot – and they may have become used to that fact. It’s possible that someone who was once full of energy will get out of prison lacking the drive that it takes to live a full, happy life. Another scenario would be that they could have seen and experienced so much in prison that they became cynical. Or the opposite could happen: they could have truly had an epiphany and get out of prison with the fortitude to change the world.

There’s no doubt that prison changes people. Both the prisoner and their family and friends will have to adjust to the new person if positive changes occurred – or work on getting the old one back if not.

Look for Resolutions

In addition to discussing with loved ones the emotions released prisoners may be feeling, many resources are available to help families and individuals dealing with personal conflict. Group counseling is one resource for the family, while one-on-one treatment may help the released prisoner regain a sense of being of value to society.

Following are only a handful of the resources that are available:

• United States Department of Labor / Federal Bureau of Prisons

• Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Program

• State of Michigan Department of Corrections Success Model

• Goodwill Industries

• Prison Fellowship

Emotions Released Prisoners Experience

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