‘Old’ and ‘new’ institutions for persons with mental illness
Treatment, punishment, or preventive confinement?
in Incarceration and human rights
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This chapter examines the gross human rights violations that have occurred, and continue to occur, in 'old' psychiatric institutions. During the second half of the twentieth century, however, many of these old institutions were closed as part of a social compact with mentally ill persons and their families to provide community care. The deinstitutionalisation movement resulted in new places of confinement for this population: jails, prisons, and homeless shelters. The chapter explores the new realities of criminal confinement of persons with mental illness. Despite countless promises for a better life by national commissions, governments, and the international community, there has evolved a vicious cycle of neglect, abandonment, indignity, cruel and inhumane treatment, and punishment of persons with mental illness. Governments and civil society, in all parts of the world, have treated persons with mental illness horribly in old and new institutions.

Incarceration and human rights

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2007

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