Dissociation : Vol. 9, No. 2, p. 089-097 : Types of dissociative behaviors observed in an urban jail: 25 months of participant observation
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Little is known about the day-to-day dissociative behaviors manifested by inmates of correctional institutions. This article, based on 25 months of naive, continuous participant observation, describes five types of commonly observed dissociative behaviors that suggest that severe dissociative disorders may be common in inmates, and are also found in prison employees. The data come from an urban male and female maximum security correctional facility. The article discusses the differences in dissociative phenomena between the inmate and employee groups, the important elements in their behavioral patterns, and the traumatic events likely to have contributed to the dissociative behaviors. It suggests that correctional institutions can be viewed as unrecognized mental health facilities for dissociative disorders and considers how expertise in dissociative disorders can be integrated into their management.