The United States houses only five percent of the world’s population but over 20% of its prison population. There has been a dramatic increase in carceral numbers over the last several decades with much of this population being people with mental illness designations. Many scholars attribute this phenomenon to the process of deinstitutionalization, in which mental health institutions in the U.S. were shut down in the 1950s and ‘60s. However, disability scholar Liat Ben-Moshe argues that this is a dangerous oversimplification that fails to credit the deinstitutionalization movement as an abolitionist movement and to take into account shifting demographics between institutions and prisons/jails. This study considers how mass incarceration in the U.S. stems from a trend of isolating and punishing BIPOC and people with disabilities at disproportionate rates as it explores lived experiences at the intersection of mental health and incarceration. Findings inform an abolitionist agenda by highlighting the near impossibility of rehabilitation and treatment in an inherently traumatizing space.
- "No Justice" Inside Ableist White Supremacy: Narratives of Mental Health and Failed Treatment Experiences Within the U.S. Carceral State