Well, today is the big day. Today I tell people in the House of Commons why a multidimensional program of healing is necessary for those women coming out of prison. Few people consider it, but people in prison have suffered lives of excessive trauma. Studies are showing that 70-90% of the women in prison have suffered sexual abuse. One study from University of Pennsylvania demonstrated that of 120 violent inmates, over 90% had pathological neurologic findings. When researchers looked at what this meant, they found that a substantial number of these prisoners had been hit so hard that they had lost consciousness. In other words there was abuse related brain damage.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a big topic among those treating soldiers returning from war. We are finding many soldiers with TBI and it often co-occurs with PTSD. What we have not yet considered is that so many in prison also have a history of TBI.
It is human nature to blame, to make some people good and others evil. Yet to progress in our civilization and to fix what ails us (prison overcrowding, economic pitfalls, healthcare burdens) we need to address what truly ails our citizens. We must find a way to look more deeply at PTSD, TBI and the ways they manifest in people in both sympathetic and unsympathetic ways.