Chris Uggen's Blog: map of <i>the new asylums</i>

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

map of the new asylums

frontline's the new asylums addresses the deinstitutionalization of state psychiatric hospitals and the reinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in prisons. wgbh compiled a handy interactive map of mental health care in state prison systems, complete with estimated prevalence rates and staffing levels and contact information for administrators in each state.

i can't vouch for all the sources, but the bureau of justice statistics and american correctional association estimates are likely the best available. i haven't screened the video yet, but you can see clips online or order it for $30. i'd consider using it in my deviance class to show the interpenetration of social control systems, but it might also be useful in a social problems or punishment course.


At 7:03 AM, Anonymous ryan said...

Chris, Thanks for passing that on. I’ve been looking for something like this for my Social Control course next fall. To that end, the data seem usable for a “construction of mental illness” study. I’m working with a grad student on that topic now, albeit at the micro-level. A quick and dirty look at the state figures you mentioned was interesting. Mississippi and Alabama are particularly curious, with the former having two therapists on staff and 10% diagnosed as mentally ill and the latter having 132 therapists and 24% ‘mentally ill.’ I wrongly thought those states often mirrored one another on social issues. Seems like the incarceration rate in a state might be negatively correlated with mental illness, which raises a kind-of-interesting ‘attribution of responsibility’ question.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Beth said...

The frontline video is a must for a corrections class. The video is very well done and speaks to the many sides of this issue. It also sparked a lot of class discussion.

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Jeff Draine said...

Actually, I find this documentary very one sided--seeing the whole issue from the corrections point of view; blaming desintitutionalization and a 'failed' mental health system for mental illness in prisons and providing virtually no alternatives than the 'criminalization' argument for the numbers of people with mental illness in the CJ system. They show the reentry process, but never seem to question why there seems to be virtually no interaction between the MH and CJ systems in this process.

At 11:46 PM, Anonymous chris said...

thanks ryan, beth, and jeff. i feel as though i know *way* too little about this issue.


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