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From Asylum to PrisonDeinstitutionalization and the Rise of Mass Incarceration after 1945$
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Anne E. Parsons

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640631

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640631.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
From Asylum to Prison

Anne E. Parsons

University of North Carolina Press

The introduction reviews the relevant histories of prisons, mental health policy, and the social welfare state. It highlights how recent scholarship has not connected the history of mental hospitals to the broader history of imprisonment. From Asylum to Prison frames historic mental hospitals as part of a broader carceral state and charts how the rise of mass incarceration shaped the closure of mental hospitals. Law and order politics served to criminalize mental health conditions and substance abuse. New prison construction in the 1980s took money away from mental health services and prisons absorbed many functions of the former mental health system. Finally, this history of deinstitutionalization offers lesson for people working to reduce mass incarceration in the twenty-first century United States. The introduction closes with a discussion of people-centered language and key terms such as institutions, carceral state, and mental illness.

Keywords:   carceral state, decarceration, deinstitutionalization, mass incarceration, mental health policy, mental hospitals, prisons, social welfare

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