Violence Isn’t Only Physical: Mental Violence While Incarcerated

Date01 May 2022
Published date01 May 2022
AuthorLukas Carey
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 221 –224
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221096733
Violence Isn’t Only Physical:
Mental Violence While
Dr. Lukas Carey
You see the heading violence and I bet you are thinking something physical, I am
heading in a different direction and have viewed some extraordinarily mentally and
emotionally violent people that have inflicted untold damage to many. The violence
people experience mentally during incarceration is individual to all, but I propose that
not a single person leaves incarceration without the additional and possibly more dam-
aging scars of mental violence. The mental violence that occurs in prison and the dam-
age inflicted, regardless of their mental and emotional strength is a paramount story to
why many things happen here. The mental damage and anguish on the loved ones of
those inside is also immense and is something I will discuss later in this essay.
The mental violence experienced by everyone that grace the walls of incarceration
varies. To be isolated from family, friends, social interactions and depending upon the
facility often, daylight, exercise and fresh air takes its toll. I understand that people
who commit crimes are inside due to their actions, but getting through each day
requires the strength of Hercules as the toll of the mental violence being dispatched
upon them takes its toll. Nothing can be simulated to explore this violence and the
damage from it and more importantly the only way it can be shared and explored is
through lived experience and ethnographic pieces like this.
The large majority of staff encountered while incarcerated and also many of the
inmates come across as respectful people that treat you the way you treat them. There
is however a small amount of both who do not and use whatever physically and men-
tally violent means possible to try and assert their will over you. The ways in which
this mental violence occurs is often barbaric and takes an immense toll on your mental
and emotional wellbeing.
The stress from this mental violence from officers and inmates on top of being
incarcerated is often overbearing and is highlighted by the reality that you can’t just
slip away for some time to yourself to process as you could on the outside. No matter
where you go there is always noise, people and others who are suffering as well. Don’t
get me wrong there are places in which you can try and escape such as the garden or
gym but with these places so few and far between and the access times available to
visit them being limited often the noise makes it busier than what you’re trying to
1096733CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221096733Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeCarey

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