The Impacts of an Arrest Cause Mental Health Symptoms within Hours

#2 BLINDSPOTS – PreConceptions Revealed by the Jail Trauma Study

Talking about a key unexpected finding – that people sustain extreme shock and trauma in the first 24-72 hours after an incident happens that leads to an arrest and jailing.  This is way before they get a defense attorney. This is the key to reducing harm caused after a 911 call leads to an arrest. Why?  People reported similar extreme symptoms that are listed in a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder definition. And most did not have these kinds of extreme conditions prior to the arrest and jailing.



Announcing the release of Cracking the Rich Code – a new book co-authored by Jim Britt, Kevin Harrington that includes a chapter by Joy Gilfilen, “Quantum Leadership using the Natural Change Model”!  I am honored to be included as one of the co-authors!

My article in this book is all about understanding how to see the world in different layers, and how to see it in motion over time as we relate to it. I have used my life well – learning how to understand the multi-facetted layers of personal, social, civic and global impacts.  Today it is time to help our many different niche markets understand that we are all still just humans, part of the natural cycles of life and learning to work together in a fast moving economy when society is under stress is a big deal.

My goal in being part of this book is to enroll the entrepreneurial industry in the process of civic change and evolutionary thinking.  It is time to take back our economy from the domination of  multi-national corporations who are undermining the integrity of free enterprise in America.

People talk like all business is the same – and it is not.  There are huge difference between those of us who are solo-entrepreneurs, those who are small business networkers, or artisans and consultants, and those who are considered “small business owners” and “local community retailers” in a community.  And then there is this gigantic leap to those who are government corporations, non-profit corporations, commercial corporations and then all the way up to huge institutional corporations and quasi-government corporations!

Watch for news about how to order the book online!  Hurray, it is almost here – due out in April!

2020 – Invest in People 1st – this is the way we can do Social Change.  Developing a restorative economics model for community business investment is a way to intercept and turn around the mass incarceration industry’s traumatizing and and tax addictive spiral of accelerating loss.  The United States leads the world in incarceration.  We are arresting and jailing over 12 million people annually.  By comparison, only 630,000 people annually are entering prisons. That means that most people arrested are non-violent according to statistics compiled by the Vera Institute of Justice and validated by other studies.

Whether or not these people are guilty, they are treated like criminals at the point of an arrest.  This causes a split brain kind of  experience by the total  disassociation from freedom and everything people believe about being safe and “innocence until proven guilty” in the US.  This is so terrifying, disorienting and traumatizing it creates deep distress, and sparks mental illness symptoms in people.

It has become routine to arrest people from 911 calls, rather than striving to divert people to mental health facilities, housing alternatives, recovery and rehabilitation programs.  When we stop the automotic arrest cycles and build the intervention systems, we can start investing in emotional trauma recovery at the point of 1st contact.  We can stop the millions of people who end up homeless, in poverty, in mental health situations.  Yes.  With civic leadership and commitment, we can reverse the trends, and transform the results.

Whatcom County Jail Trauma Research Study

After doing deep research into the issue, I have found that “an arrest creates a traumatic experience for people – and it is traumatic enough to cause mental illness symptoms – even if people do walk away and say, “I’m o.k.”  Most people do that because it is so shocking to realize what happens inside the arrest and jail process that people can’t even talk about it.  It is like they have a split reality experience, and they cannot comprehend what just happened.  So they avoid talking about it.  It is like a psychic shock that is so mind-bending that people want to pretend it didn’t happen.  But they can’t.”

I did 79 in-depth interviews with 79 people who have been impacted by an arrest in Whatcom County.  Of the 79, fifty-three (53) were arrested and went through the jail, court and justice system process directly.  Twenty-six (26) were family, friends or colleagues who were trying to help them through the situation.  After listening to all their stories, and mapping them out, looking for common denominators, tracking the biggest issues…here is my summation.  I did two different charts each showing different impacts, and each showing how the other side is impacted.


I talked with the person who got arrested and went through the jailing and justice system and all they way through arrest and the aftershocks on them and their families.  I tracked it out and then diagrammed it into this early process, for it is here where I found the most shocking and hidden impacts – that are not typically talked about in the discussion about jail or justice system reform.  It is at the beginning of a 911 call, through the incident, the arresting, the booking, then the jailing prior to 1st Appearance in Court where the shock causes seismic damage to the body, the mind, and the spirit of the person – from constant trauma.  I have graphed it out in two phases to show the emotional impacts and symptoms that people experience.

  • Radicalized Acute Distress Under Duress (RADD) is what happens at the original shock point – at the incident, the pre-arrest period before they are handcuffed, then taken and jailed.  They have a real tough time talking about all this, for the trauma is so severe they seem to try to bury it.  To talk about it is in itself re-traumatizing to them.
  • Repetitive Accelerating Trauma (RAT) impacts accumulated after booking, jailing and before they go into the court for 1st appearance (When they find out what the Prosecutor is charging them with, and when they get assigned a Public Defender in the courtroom, and have to make their first plea.  This is sometimes hours, but more normally happens in a 24-72 hour window when they are held in captivity before they get anyone to talk to about their defense.


As these intense interviews started building up, I started interviewing the family, friends, employers, police, emergency responders – even hospital staff and public defenders and justice system employees about what they observed, experienced and felt from helping the persons, or their families deal with the aftershocks.  The interviews yielded a whole other level of awareness and insights that typically have not been talked about in most writings about reform.  And the pre-assumption by those people who work in the system in court, in the administration, or in behavioral health or recovery is that they just  assume that everyone who gets arrested is already emotionally messed up, mentally ill, or addicted – or “must have done something wrong, or you wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.”

There is a automatic presumption of guilt and fault by the system against the person arrested that leaves no room for the possibility that the person is innocent, that the person may not have been mentally ill in the first place.

It was unexpected to realize that no-one, including me, the researcher that the stress of the arrest distresses the mental health and stability of everyone who goes through the system…and it was likely that the impacts of the loss of freedom, the acute shock of being arrested, were the cause of the mental distress symptoms seen in people even at 1st arraignment and certainly post court.  Our rise in mental illness issues can most likely be traced back to a traumatizing situation that happened with a crisis, an arrest and the impacts on the psyche.

I was taken aback to truly realize that most people arrested had no criminal intent that sparked the arrest.  It was the circumstances areound a crisis that led to an incident, that sparked an arrest and accusation that the person broke a law, and that starts the sequence of distress that compounds.  Many of those arrested did not seem to have had  mental illness symptoms pre-incident.  This was shocking and it led me to do another level of questioning for both those arrested and for all their support team members.  Here is another chart summarizing what I found.


After doing all this research and comparing information gleaned, I went online to find out if there were any diagnoses of mental health symptoms that matched my findings.  I found the Complex Post Traumatic Distress symptoms listed in the World Health Organizations list the most comparable.  I found symptoms from severe head trauma caused by split brians or broken brains to be similar as well.   Nothing else fit the broad range of symptoms described and the depth of impact.  The only ones that seemed to fit the plethora of symptoms were those that were exhibited by people who had experienced deep and sudden shock and betrayal by a protector or who been held hostage or captive by a “friendly”.  People who were taken prisoner in a friendly land, or were held hostage by a cult, or a person taken captive and held as prey to their protector.

My bottomline conclusion:  Just a call to 911 can trigger an arrest and jailing because of the way that the system of technology, protectionism and fear of liability works today.  The presumption of innocence is lost and superceded by the likelihood that a law was broken, and inevitably this leads to an arrest – whether or not anyone intended to commit any crime of violate any law.  The pre-assumption of guilt is made at the 911 call – and once that call is made, it triggers the system to step in and protect the government and all the people who run the legal system.

What is not shown on this chart, is the high costs that any family incurs from the point of the arrest ($10,000 to $30,000 is fairly standard) or it can escalate rapidly, throwing the family into immediate poverty as well as into RADD-RAT escalating conditions.

A Study of the Emotional Impacts of an Arrest on CPTSD


This podcast is the 1st in a series about what really happens to people who get arrested. I did the research as President of the Restorative Community Coalition.  I had been striving to figure out why the top three law enforcement officials in our County kept pushing the taxpayers to pass a massive tax to build an even more massive jail when crime rates had been dropping dramatically.  It made no logical sense.  More on this in another post.

Regarding the ethnographic research study: I decided to interview people (53) who who had been arrested and went through the Whatcom County Jail and Justice System from beginning to end. Some were still dealing with it. These were people I had helped through court navigation, or had worked with in our educational sessions, or had coached about their situation.  I wanted to know in deeper depth what really happened to them from the beginning to the end – so that we could learn what was the matter with the system from the bottoms up.

Everybody else was seeing “system reform” from the top down – and it wasn’t working.  How does it look from the bottom of the barrel?

So this podcast talks about the people I interviewed and how I did the study.  These first interviews gave me pause, and caused me to interview another 26 who were friends, family, employers, criminal defense attorneys. There were employees of the system – police, defenders, prosecutors, clerks and other staff, jailers, emergency responders, hospital and mental health providers, and investigative writers. There were people of diverse demographics, education and financial class.

Of the 79 people, all were deeply concerned about the system. Nobody really wanted to go into the emotional heavy lifting – but each was willing to do it for the purpose of hoping they could help fix it. These were not easy conversations – for the subject is emotionally traumatizing to talk about for all of us.

  • I found out that it is deeply disturbing to the soul. So nice people want to avoid the conversation.
  • It is distasteful.  It is cruel and ugly.  It is unspeakable in many ways.
  • It boggles the mind that we are doing this in the 21st century when we have other options.
  • I found out that people who get arrested go through dramatic arrest shock and jail trauma that causes deep mental, physical and emotional distress – people cannot comprehend what just happened to them.
  • And it happens before they ever even get to 1st Appearance. Before they meet any Public Defender, before bail. There is no safety zone at all.But I get ahead of myself…this 1st podcast is simply to introduce why I did the work. Below is the chart that emerged afterwards.

    In future podcasts, I will explain more…


Joy Gilfilen is the creator of The Joy Method and host of JoyTalks a podcast series for personal, business or civic leadership education. Joy has been an entrepreneur for over four decades, and has developed The Joy Method for helping others achieve quantum leadership excellence while living in world that is under high stress, compressed pressure and accelerated change. Joy is a speaker, author, producer and especially loves to help people succeed who are striving to change their world!

Shawn Gallaway presents an extraordinary and highly personal concert where he tells the story of his evolution from a young boy growing up in a family that expected him to excel in sports and business into a man who discovered he was an artist instead.  So it is a singing story of his life, as he moved from one transition of life to another as he evolved into a nationally recognized and internationally known troubadour!  He is a singer, songwriter and artist who pioneered conscious music, and transformational music helping to bring peace to the world!

Joy Gilfilen as the host and executive producer of this concert invited Shawn to share his process as a leadership artisan growing up, for it is a story of perseverance, manhood, and emotional maturation in a time where many feel that artisans are “less than” – when in fact, artisans are the true emotional leaders of change.

Shawn performs several of the songs he has written and performed for some of the other master teachers of our time.  One of his signature songs is I Choose Love – which has earned many awards!

“No one shall be given a sword until they know how to dance.” – Ancient Celtic wisdom.

This powerful one-day workshop is by Joy Gilfilen, in tandem with Shawn Gallaway, a transformational healing artist, singer and songwriter from Nashville. Shawn has trained all over the world, and is skilled in the performance arts and in facilitating gender reconciliation and restoration workshops. He does men’s and women’s relationship work as well as cultural work with trauma recovery and deep conflict resolution.

– Move beyond old relationship and leadership patterns, myths, beliefs and projections into equality and the sharing of power.

– Sit in circles of men, circles of women and combined circles to share, listen and learn from each other and to communicate and hold space with respect, honor and dignity

– Exceptional for those who desire to heal the deep wounds of patriarchal/matriarchal/oligarchal conditioning between men/women/leaders

– Experience honoring and celebrating our unique differences and gifts, embracing diversity, creating equality, safety and trust in today’s relationships while becoming aware of the balanced Divine Femine and Divine Masculine energies within

Shawn will be here for a concert the night before and will be working with his friend, Joy Gilfilen to facilitate this workshop. It is an ideal workshop for anyone wanting to identify, integrate and then tap into their profound divine intelligence to get better results in their lives. And it is especially good for people who are activists, leaders, or entrepreneurs seeking to find their way, or to blaze their trails in a challenged world.

Come join us! The all-day workshop fee is $100 and you can register by clicking here, or message Joy Gilfilen on FB. A limited number of scholarships are available upon request if you can demonstrate your desire/need and the space is available.

Bring your own lunch because we will stay in circle for the entire day.

Shawn has trained and performed with trailblazing masters such as Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Robert Holden and many other spiritual teachers and healing artists. He has produced theme songs for many of the Hay House authors…and one of his featured songs on You Tube “I Choose Love” has garnered over a million hits. Shawn has produced multiple CD’s and DVD’s – including ChoicePoint – a concert CD produced at the Muse. He has performed for International Peace Day in London, and all over the world, especially serving the Unitarian, CSL, Unity and similar fellowships.

Please come join us…it will be life-changing, memorable, healing, provocative and inspiring. You will meet a whole different kind of joy..(pun intended). Our world will be a better place that you will have linked your inner masculine and your inner feminine inside to an understanding of what is happening in the world around you.

Join Shawn Gallaway live in Bellingham at “Joy’s Freedom Concert”! He will be performing songs from his new “Freedom Cries – Restoring Sacred Manhood” album, plus other inspiring songs and theme songs. He has written and performed theme songs for trailblazing organizations like New Energy Movement, Unify, InterPlay and for Hay House authors like Gregg Braden and Robert Holden among others! Shawn will be premiering the “Joy Riders” freedom song for Joy Gilfilen, host of the new online civic leadership platform – JoyTalk!

From Nashville, Shawn Gallaway is an internationally known singer-songwriter, visual artist, author, screenwriter, ceremonial healer, workshop facilitator and energy worker. Shawn has six CDs, two DVDs and a screenplay to his credit, including “ChoicePoint – Uniting Creatives with Love and Vitality” filmed and produced locally here at the Conway Muse! Shawn has been a local supporter of the Restorative Community Coalition’s drive for jail reform, sustainability and social justice.

Shawn’s “I Choose Love” song, music video and global movement continues to encircle millions the world over, igniting the hearts of people everywhere to consciously move with Love in their lives.

Shawn recently released his CD “Freedom Cries – Restoring Sacred Manhood” along with his new single and video “Let’s Play”and the CD “On The Way” which includes the theme song for!

Shawn has shared the stage with authors Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Robert Holden, and with rock and pop masters Orleans & Friends. Shawn has also had the high honor of being present for the showing of his I Choose Love music video during the bestowing of the 2009 International Freedom Award by the National Civil Rights Museum to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. World and social change leaders like Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and activist Archbishop Emeritus Desmund Tutu have also embraced the song I Choose Love, reaffirming in their own mission its spirit and calling.

Saturday, Shawn will be teaming up with Joy Gilfilen to produce the “Leadership and the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine” Workshop from 9-5 PM at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship. Sunday he will be performing “I Choose Love” – an international hit – at Unity Spiritual Center during their morning service.

Friday Concert Tickets – $20 at the door.
CD’s and DVD’s will be available – $20

BUY NOW to reserve your ticket!

Focusing on Healing Trauma, Inspiring Recovery, Education

RECLAIM LIVES is a short public relations video produced for the Restorative Community Coalition.  Our goal was to encapsulate what the Coalition does for the community in common terms.  It shows especially why restorative justice and reentry solutions must include many different levels of recovery services.

This video was produced in tandem with some most extraordinary students from Western Washington University and with the help of volunteers at the Restorative Community Coalition.

ChoicePoint: Uniting Creatives with Love &Vitality

Shawn Gallaway presents an extraordinary and highly personal concert where he tells the story of his evolution from a young boy growing up in a family that expected him to excel in sports and business into a man who discovered he was an artist instead.  So it is a singing story of his life, as he moved from one transition of life to another as he evolved into a nationally recognized and internationally known troubadour!  He is a singer, songwriter and artist who pioneered conscious music, and transformational music helping to bring peace to the world!

Joy Gilfilen as the host and executive producer of this concert invited Shawn to share his process as a leadership artisan growing up, for it is a story of perseverance, manhood, and emotional maturation in a time where many feel that artisans are “less than” – when in fact, artisans are the true emotional leaders of change.

Shawn performs several of the songs he has written and performed for some of the other master teachers of our time.  One of his signature songs is I Choose Love – which has earned many awards!


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