From Deinstitutionalisation in Psychiatric Hospitals to Mass Incarceration and Abolition

Daniela Kantorova, Sona Kalenda

OBJECTIVES: This article aims to provide an overview of deinstitutionalisation in psychiatric hospitals and its unintended outcomes that led to trans-institutionalisation of people with severe mental illnesses in other types of institutions. THEORETICAL BASE: The process of deinstitutionalisation in the USA is linked with the rise of mass incarceration, although deinstitutionalisation cannot be considered its cause. This article views deinstitutionalisation from an abolitionist framework that supports human rights. METHODS: We are providing a contextualising, historical overview of deinstitutionalisation in the USA in hopes that it will inform the process of deinstitutionalisation in the Czech Republic. OUTCOMES: Given these experiences it is apparent that deinstitutionalisation can lead to trans-institutionalisation, and that preventative measures are needed. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Our findings can be used for planning and the implementation of transformative processes and deinstitutionalisation of all types of institutions. It is necessary to (1) secure an accessible network of wrap-around services in the community; (2) prepare a thorough individualised plan for people leaving an institution; (3) form functional interdisciplinary collaboration; (4) collect data about the number of incarcerated people with mental illnesses, (5) advocate for access to affordable housing; and (6) advocate for stable sources of funding for creation of necessary services.

deinstitutionalisation, transinstitutionalisation, abolition, mass incarceration, decarceration

p. 5-21

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