Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Loose Associations

[Posted by ClinkShrink]

"If I hadn't been picked up I'd be dead out there."

Most psychiatrists don't hear patients talking about their relief at getting arrested. Certainly incarceration isn't discussed in any positive light in the media. In the past week three of my patients expressed relief about their incarceration. It was an admission that their lives had become out of control. In one case, a family member called the police knowing that it would be the only way for the patient to get "cleaned up and get the help I needed". People would argue that if there were enough "treatment-on-demand" substance abuse beds this would obviate the need for arrests, but from direct inmate experience I can tell you that many of my patients would not willingly go to treatment. Whether or not incarceration is a cost-effective intervention is up for the economists to decide. All I can tell you is that this week it was life-saving.

"And now for something completely different..."

One Oregon correctional facility found a way to turn vocational training into e-commerce. Prison Blues sells denim clothing manufactured by prisoners in the Oregon Department of Corrections. The company's theme is "made on the inside, to be worn on the outside". The catalog once featured inmates themselves as models, with their offenses listed along with the clothing information.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about the Prison Chic look, but I sometimes tell patients and families that, since the patient is unable to circling the drain with drugs, the only option left is to get arrested and then plead with the judge to get them help.

I also strongly encourage NarAnon or AlAnon, but the family almost never seems convinced that this is important (and I suspect rarely ever take up that advice). I tell them that they can learn how others have managed to help their family member, but the usual refrain is: "I'm not the one with the problem." [To which I usually reply, "Then why are you here?"]

MT said...

What do you think of life in solitary confinement as a punishment? That's what's awaiting Moussaoui according to Herzberg in the New Yorker. But I suppose our system doesn't use solitary on people it's trying to rehabilitate, to the extent that includes anybody.

MT said...

I'm not a shrink BTW.