4 Psychological Effects of a Criminal Conviction


A criminal conviction that includes jail time can cost you in multiple ways regardless of whether the offense is for drug possession, driving under the influence, or some other crime. For example, society, in general, may look at you differently, treat you differently and think of you differently if you have a criminal record that includes incarceration. You may feel the differences when you try to find work or when you spend time with your friends or family. Even if you have been wrongfully convicted, your time in prison can follow you for a lifetime.

In addition to the societal consequences, you can suffer from negative psychological effects as a result of spending time in jail. Even a short time behind bars in relation to a conviction can cause an individual to suffer from lasting psychological changes.


Since prisons tend to be dangerous places, most prisons become hyper-vigilant and stay on constant alert for a threat. Unfortunately, this behavior can continue after incarceration ends and often results in the ex-prisoner living in isolation.

Emotional distancing

Another common effect of spending time in prison is emotional distancing. Inmates typically learn very quickly to hide their emotions in prison in order not to appear weak. As a result, this can cause an inability to form personal connections when the prison term ends.

Shame and guilt

For many offenders, guilt and shame become common feelings. For those who try to make amends, there is a lower chance of committing another crime after release. However, for the individuals who react to guilt and shame in a defensive manner, such as blaming other people for their actions, there is a much higher chance of committing additional crimes and returning to prison.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Another common psychological effect ex-prisoners suffer from is PTSD. This can manifest in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, lack of emotions, and sudden outbursts of anger or rage, among others. People who suffer from PTSD often have trouble readjusting to societal norms and leading productive lives.

Facing a Criminal Charge? Call a Clarksville Criminal Law Attorney (931) 283-2311

If you are facing a criminal charge in Clarksville, it is important to keep in mind that you still have rights. For instance, you have the right to defend yourself in court and by doing so, you might be able to successfully fight back against the charges. If you need defense backed by years of experience, contact Goble & Yow Attorneys, PLLC to schedule a consultation.

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