Health and Wellness

Post Incarceration Syndrome: Eric’s story

This week in Part 2 of my five-week podcast series, “Incarceration: A Family Affair,” I discuss post incarceration syndrome as a reality for formerly incarcerated individuals and its tragic results for my grandson, Eric Bartell Moyler.

In 2014, I wrote a blog for my now-closed site, Outside the Walls: One Mother’s Voice, talking about his first three months as a parolee (see Links below).

Much of his behavior I now understand grew out of several factors: his joblessness, his anger and his drug use.

However, I didn’t realize that his behavior revealed aspects of post incarceration syndrome (PIS).

Our family had high, but unrealistic, expectations for his re-entry into the outside world. All he needed, we reasoned, was a job and a place to live. He ended up with neither.

In 2016, on my podcast, One Mother’s Voice: In the Name of Justice, I talked about the characteristics of PIS that some researchers consider a variant of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I believe that there is a frightening lack of understanding by families and affected communities about the hidden barriers faced by those returning home from prison.

Much of the focus is on removing barriers to employment, medical services, housing, and education for parolees. Admirable, but rarely do these efforts address the need for intensive and comprehensive mental health aftercare for those emotionally damaged by the prison experience.

I want to challenge those affected by, or with power to bring about change in the criminal justice system–from prosecutors to politicians—to advocate for and promote more research, funding, and public education related to post incarceration syndrome..

We campaign to save the whales; let’s campaign to save damaged lives.

Links to Eric’s story*:

Coming Home: The First 30 Days

Coming Home: The First 30 Day (Part 2)

Coming Home: (Part 3)

A Personal Story

Missed Opportunities

*Eric died of a drug overdose on March 29, 2018 at age 31.


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