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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200727 Find in a Library
Title: Helping Female Inmates Cope with Grief and Loss
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:65  Issue:3  Dated:June 2003  Pages:76-79,94
Author(s): Victoria Young Junior
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses supporting female inmates in dealing with grief and loss.
Abstract: The issues and concerns of female inmates are different from those of their male counterparts. Most women entering State prisons are nonviolent offenders, victims of sexual and physical abuse, drug addicts, and have a number of mental health problems. Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be particularly difficult for female inmates, given the multiplicity of losses they have confronted in their lives so far. They often experience the emotional pain as a result of separation from their children. Female inmates face the threat of losing custody of their children. The incarceration itself precipitates the experience of loss, as well as the loss of material goods, employment, and control. When confronted with the death of a loved one, the other multiple losses can complicate the grieving process. The loss of a loved one can be a devastating event and can produce a number of responses, such as vulnerability, powerlessness, and feeling overwhelmed. The impact of bereavement varies widely, depending on the characteristics of the griever and the nature of the loss. Female inmates must learn to adjust in an environment in which the deceased is missing. Talking about the loved one, acting on the values and concerns of the deceased, and celebrating rituals are examples of keeping memories of the deceased alive. Prison staff and others that come in contact with female inmates should provide support and assist in making the grieving process as normal as possible. Support groups and individual counseling should be available. Other recommendations to help female inmates cope with their loss include listening to the inmate’s experiences and helping her process the meaning of her loss; suggesting that the inmate keep a journal of feelings, thoughts, and memories associated with her loss; and ensuring that the inmate gets enough food, rest, and exercise to minimize negative feelings. 24 endnotes
Main Term(s): Female inmates; Offender mental health services
Index Term(s): Adjustment to prison; Families of inmates; Females; Healthcare; Incarceration; Inmates
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