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 Post subject: PTSD in Prison...HELP ME!!!!!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:19 pm 
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Location: Near Pittsburgh, PA
2 days before Christmas, I was issued a bench warrant for my arrest on false paperwork that had nothing to do with my current child support case. I spent Christmas, New Years, and the following 3 weeks in prison for a mix-up in paperwork.

As some may know, in prison, things work very slowly, and when the judge, warden of the prison, and my attorney got the paperwork all straightened up, I have already suffered so much trauma in prison.

I was mistreated by the prison guards, placed in solitary confinement (the hole), and threatened to be "shanked" by an inmate for not sharing my dessert with him.

The worst of it was I just wanted to get out and spend time with my girlfriend again, but when I got out, she already moved out of my house for good reasons. The reasons were because she was looking for a new job, had no car (because she doesn't have a driver's license), and was suffering with me not being there also. She had no way of getting around in a place that totally unfamiliar with her, and knew no one.

Anyway, she thought I was sentenced to spend 6 months in there, and didn't know I was getting out as soon as I did. She had moved in with her girlfriend some distance away only 4 days before I got out. When I went to see her that day I got out, she was so shocked and surprised and hugged me tightly. We have spent the next days together like nothing had changed, except she wasn’t living with me anymore.

When I asked her to move back in with me, she said she needed time to get over the trauma she faced also, and needed time to get over the fear that this wasn't going to happen again and leave her as helpless as it did this time. It felt like my world was shattered hearing this from her, but at the same time I understood.

The reason why it was so hard to accept this was because of the abuse I got from the prison guards; one in particular. He told me on Christmas that my girlfriend had come to see me for a visit, opened the cell door, and before I could get out of my cell, closed the cell door again, laughing at me saying “No, I’m just F***ing with you” He did the same on New Years Eve, and on my visiting days.

One day this particular prison guard told me “Pack it up, you’re going home and your girlfriend is here to pick you up”. I got dressed in my civilian clothes and right at the door to exit the prison, he tackled me, cuffed me and told me the same thing, “No I’m just F***ing with you”. I never felt so desperate because I really believed she was out there waiting for me and I just wanted to see her. When I tried to get back up, tears exploding from my eyes, and screaming at the top of my lungs her name, he sprayed me in the face with mace and told me I was being disruptive, placed me in the hole, naked and still cuffed wit mace in my eyes, nose, and mouth and told me that he was going to tell the warden I tried “to escape prison” and would get me sentenced to an automatic 3-7 year sentence. I never felt so hopeless.

After the paperwork was fixed up, I got out, went home to find her not there, all of her stuff gone, and a letter to call her when I got out. I called her and she was so happy, and we spent the rest of the night together.

I had to hear from her that she wasn’t going to move back in anytime soon because she needed time to get over all the trauma she faced also, get over the fear that this wouldn’t happen again, and get her head clear from this whole experience. This same particular prison guard lied to her also, when she would come and try to visit me. He would tell her “Oh man, you just missed visiting hours” and would tell her that visiting hours differed for me because I was still “unclassified” and was being shifted around a lot. This drove her to trauma also because she would feel so helpless because she really wanted to see me on visiting days.

I’m shattered!! I feel like my life changed so much in 3 weeks only. What do I do?

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 Post subject: Re: PTSD in Prison...HELP ME!!!!!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:53 am 
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It sucks that all of that happened to you........but that's just it. It happened in the past. The way I see it is that was then and this is now. Yes, there is some fallout (like your living situation changing) and I'm sure there are some tough emotions to handle.......but it's not happening to you in the NOW. You never have to see that guard again, you don't have to stay in prison. YOU made it through all of that! That's an accomplishment-- you made it through that and out of there! This experience doesn't have to be a shattering to you now that it's over unless you allow that hurt to affect your present. You do not have to be a victim-- you can get through this! Maybe you will even come out a stronger person for it?

My advice would be to put what of it you can behind you and find a way to live in the present moment as much as you can. Change is a constant in life. You can handle this too. It was an experience--maybe a really bad one-- but still just something that you have been through. Now the ball is in your court-- will you allow a difficult 3 weeks to devastate the next 3 months/years/whatever or will you find a way to put the past in the past and make the present moment the best you can make it?

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 Post subject: Re: PTSD in Prison...HELP ME!!!!!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:25 am
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I agree with Harmonium on this but I would add that the type of cruel / abusive treatment that you received from that particular individual may be considered normal behaviour in the penal system in the US but it would most certainly not be tolerated in the UK.

If you were in the UK I would add that while you may not need to go over this forever, it might help you to get some closure if you were able to (politely) articulate your experiences with that particular guard, and your concerns for other inmates who might have to endure such treatment (especially given the fact that you were being wrongly imprisoned), in a letter of concern to the Governor of whichever establishment you were being held at.

I'll leave it to others from the US to say whether this is a course of action that they feel may be worth pursuing.

But as Harmonium said, you got through it and you're still with your girlfriend so it seems to me that what could have been broken is already on its way to being mended.

Best wishes

Paul.


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