Don’t believe those stories you have heard about prison. You know what I am talking about. The stories about prison being nothing more than “a ride down, and a walk back” or “three hots and a cot”. I have to say that anyone who tells you a shaggy dog story like that, either has not been incarcerated or they are just simply not telling you the truth.
Why is it important for you know to the truth? Because every year, there are 600,000 souls who are released from correctional institutions throughout the United States. These 600,000 souls pour into our cities, our suburbs, our municipalities, our rural districts and our hamlets. And these souls are our family members and our neighbors—souls you are either interacting with now or souls with whom you will interact in the very near future. Sooner or later, you are going to cross paths with a soul who has been incarcerated.
So, what is the truth?
Prison is not a “warm and fuzzy” place. Prison is complete and pure unadulterated hell! It is a place where Life and Death hangs in the balance every second of every day and every night. It is a place where you do not blindly trust anyone, particularly on their “say-so.” In prison, trust must be and is earned. Prison is a place where you live by your instincts and your instincts had better be “razor sharp.” It is a place where you have to learn how to save yourself. And you most certainly cannot walk around prison with your “heart on your sleeve.” Prison is a place where the weak become prey. If you get the feeling that I am describing a jungle, then you are catching on. In order to survive and hold on to their sanity, an incarcerated soul must find a way to stop his or her heart from beating.
If your loved one or family member has been to prison or is currently incarcerated, think about what you just read. Every time you talk to or interact with someone who is incarcerated or has been incarcerated, you are dealing with a soul who stopped his or her heart from beating…a soul who is walking around with deeply embedded and invisible psychological, emotional and spiritual wounds…a soul who has to be taught how to love again and how to trust again—a soul who must learn how to make his or heart beat again. Think about it every time you talk to this soul. Think about it every time you become frustrated or angry with this soul. Think about it every time you find yourself on the verge of walking away from this soul or pushing him or her permanently out of your life because he or she has said something or behaved in a manner that defies logic—your logic.
You have to understand that you are dealing with a soul who needs to be psychologically debriefed.
Actually, there are two souls who need psychological debriefing. The soul who has been institutionalized for years and even decades…and you. For the formerly incarcerated soul, psychological debriefing is about teaching him or her to make their heart beat again…teaching him or her to love again and to trust again…and providing him or her with the tools they desperately need to heal their deeply embedded psychological, emotional and spiritual wounds. And for you, psychological debriefing is about putting you in touch with the psychological, emotional and spiritual trauma experienced by an incarcerated soul, while simultaneously providing you with the psychological, spiritual and emotional tools you will need to positively reinforce your loved one or family member as she or he embarks upon the arduous journey to becoming of becoming a whole soul again.
The need for the psychological debriefing of incarcerated souls is not lost on an individual who is heralded as the national “Face of Re-Entry,” Mr. Tracey L. Fisher. Fisher is rewriting the “National Narrative on Re-Entry” and is the Chief Executive Office of Gateway To Re-Entry. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—a city which has become the national epicenter for criminal and social justice reform mandated by The Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, during his visit to Philadelphia in July 2015—Fisher has crafted “psychological first aid” tools for incarcerated souls and their family members and loved ones. These “psychological first aid” tools include Ten Steps To Re-Entry”™, a ten-step module for healing and reintegration—and the Ten Steps To Re-Entry”™ Pledge. Through his book, Mental Mentoring: (The Art Of Universal Mentoring): A Journey Into The Development Of Mental Mentoring, and the development and implementation of psychological debriefing seminars for family members and loved ones of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated souls, Fisher employs a holistic approach to addressing the emotional baggage of incarcerated souls which placed them on a path to prison, and which if not resolved, will plunge them into the deep dark abyss of recidivism.
On World Mental Health Day which was observed on October 10th in over 150 nations throughout our global village, Mr. Fisher issued the following statement about the need for pychological debriefing for souls who have been incarcerated:
“Everyone who has been to prison should undergo psychological debriefing. The incarcerated and formally incarcerated are in desperate need of psychological, emotional and spiritual first aid. In the same manner that parole and probation officers are assigned to each individual who has been incarcerated, a psychiatrist also should and must be assigned to them. Their ability to have their deeply embedded psychological, spiritual and emotional wounds (treated) is key to successfully navigating the arduous journey to reintegration and redemption.”
In many ways and for many reasons, the psychological debriefing of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated souls is one of the key “pieces of the puzzle” to transforming our economically, psychologically, spiritually and emotionally toxic communities into vibrant oases.
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