Now seems like a good time to re-imagine prison. Since 2005, the Corrections Alternatives Advisory Committee of Maine has been discussing the need for reform in the state justice system, citing bail reform, providing resources toward reducing sentencing, creating more pre-trial diversion programs and lowering pre-trial incarcerations that are a result of poverty. We need also to look at one of the largest contributors to incarceration, mental health, particularly as the result of trauma.
We are in a new world of mental health understanding, with a proliferation of evidence of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on dysfunctional coping, stress management, impulse control and emotional regulation. These are trauma symptoms. Trauma treatment requires negotiating a toxic “fight or flight” system that is in a state of permanently switched on hypervigilance, awash in stress hormones. Trauma survivors need to be supported while they slowly and carefully learn to tolerate the events in their lives, including being able to be in their own bodies without squirming. Meanwhile there are triggering experiences, intrusive thoughts, maladaptive stress responses and a need for grounding, steadying, stress reduction and empowering.
To read Barbara Mainguy's, Opinion click HERE