Wednesday, 9 January 2008

'Major stress' faces free Richey

'Major stress' faces free Richey

Kenny Richey may find it hard to adjust to the outside world
including finding it difficult to rebuild relationships, a forensic
psychologist has warned.
Ian Stephen said readjusting to normal life would not be easy for
Richey, 43, who has spent 20 years on death row in the US.

He will also face major stresses and challenges as he tries to adapt
to a world which has changed dramatically.

Mr Stephen said Richey will be hit by a barrage of stimuli after his

And once the initial elation dies down, other problems are likely to
emerge, such as depression and stress.

His mother will have unreal expectations of how things are going to
be and he may also have unreal expectations
Ian Stephen
Miscarriages of Justice Organisation in Scotland

The Scot will also face the challenge of adjusting to a world which
has gone through a technological revolution in the past two decades.

Mobile phones, iPods and the internet were the stuff of fantasy when
he was jailed in 1987.

He is also returning to a country which has undergone major changes
since he left in 1982, with devolution and the regeneration of many
Scottish cities.

Mr Stephen, a committee member of the Miscarriages of Justice
Organisation in Scotland, said: "It will be a strange world for him
as he was staying in America and Scotland is a different place now
than it was 20 years ago.

"He is re-emerging into a country he just doesn't know and it takes
a long time to adapt."

Richey will need intensive support, with counselling and practical
help if he is to adapt, Mr Stephen said.

But although his family will be important to his integration into
society, Mr Stephen warned that it might be difficult for Richey to
rebuild relationships with his mother Eileen and other relations.

He said: "He will find it difficult to co-habit with family and
people who are friends.

"His mother will have unreal expectations of how things are going to
be and he may also have unreal expectations."

Mr Stephen added: "He will suffer from stimulus overload. Many
prisoners coming out after a long time find the noise of socialising
outside, with too many people crushing in on them, hard to cope

"We find that prisoners coming out of miscarriages of justice
initially go through a euphoria stage of coming out, then they hit
the stage where all the negative impact hits them, such as post-
traumatic stress disorder and feeling very angry over what has
happened to them."

He said many prisoners built up tension and anger from their time in
jail, and found the outside world a very threatening place rather
than a welcoming place.

Even the relief of coming off death row after so long could unleash
pent-up tension and anxiety.

He said that prisoners whose convictions are a miscarriage of
justice are even more vulnerable to problems because they do not go
through pre-release programmes like other prisoners coming to the
end of a sentence.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/01/08 14:49:04 GMT

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