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How long does a person have to spend in prison before they become institutionalized?

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Quick Answer

Several factors impact an individual’s likelihood to become institutionalized while in jail, but no consensus exists on the length of time it takes. Institutionalization occurs when a person adapts to the social norms of the institutional setting so completely that it interferes with his ability to function in society.

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Full Answer

The three most important factors in determining whether an individual becomes institutionalized are the length of time that the person spends in jail, the quality of that person's time in jail and the age at which the person is incarcerated. Some people spend decades in the prison system without becoming institutionalized.

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