Do crowded spaces make you anxious? Do you hate sitting with your back to others in a restaurant? Become startled when you hear keys jingling? All of these are signs of post incarceration syndrome, or PICS.
In an effort to better understand our own social and mental health challenges, as well as our relationships to those we love, we conducted a years' long study of PICS from 2019-2022. The study confirmed what we already knew to be true -- that any length of incarceration in the U.S. has a traumatic, lasting effect on us all. PICS affects us no matter our age, race, gender, sexual orientation, educational background, socio-economic status, whether or not we have outside support, regardless of the type of offense(s) we were convicted of, how much time we've served, or how long we've been Out.
Similar to PTSD but distinctly related to incarceration, PICS is characterized by a set of symptoms that affects people while they're incarcerated and after. And though every person's experience, and manifestation of PICS, is unique, our study found some shocking patterns among us.
To learn more, read and share our PICS Executive Summary. We encourage everyone in our community who has experienced incarceration or loves someone who has to help us minimize the devastating effects of prison and jail by becoming PICS Aware.
To stay up to date and learn more about how you can engage with this campaign as we move forward, sign up to become a member of the Atlanta Community Support Project (free to join).
In January 2023, the Atlanta Community Support Project's first research endeavor began. This research involved (1) determining what percentage of those being arrested and incarcerated at the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC) were experiencing homelessness at the time of arrest and (2) compiling and anonymizing a sample population of nearly 3,000 people who were known to have been unhoused recently, in order to determine the rate and manner in which they were being criminalized locally.
The results were astounding:
12.5% or 1 in 8 of those incarcerated at ACDC in 2022 were unhoused
41% had outstanding fines and fees in Fulton County and/or Atlanta Municipal Court
those fines and fees averaged $536 per person
86% of those incarcerated at ACDC had FTA ("failure to appear") bench warrants
The Atlanta Community Support Project's research on Criminalized Homelessness was supported in part by the Soros Justice Fellowship, which is funded and administered by the Open Society Institute (OSI). The opinions expressed through any of ACSP's work are the author’s own and do not necessarily express the views of OSI.
Atlanta Community Support Project, 1445 Woodmont Ln NW, Suite 442, Atlanta, GA 30318