Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
376 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 51.00 mm, 4
- ISBN: 9781517904432
- Published: June 2020
This vital addition to carceral, prison, and disability studies draws important new links between deinstitutionalization and decarceration
Prison abolition and decarceration are increasingly debated, but it is often without taking into account the largest exodus of people from carceral facilities in the twentieth century: the closure of disability institutions and psychiatric hospitals. Decarcerating Disability provides a much-needed corrective, combining a genealogy of deinstitutionalization with critiques of the current prison system.
Liat Ben-Moshe provides groundbreaking case studies that show how abolition is not an unattainable goal but rather a reality, and how it plays out in different arenas of incarceration—antipsychiatry, the field of intellectual disabilities, and the fight against the prison-industrial complex. Ben-Moshe discusses a range of topics, including why deinstitutionalization is often wrongly blamed for the rise in incarceration; who resists decarceration and deinstitutionalization, and the coalitions opposing such resistance; and how understanding deinstitutionalization as a form of residential integration makes visible intersections with racial desegregation. By connecting deinstitutionalization with prison abolition, Decarcerating Disability also illuminates some of the limitations of disability rights and inclusion discourses, as well as tactics such as litigation, in securing freedom.
Decarcerating Disability’s rich analysis of lived experience, history, and culture helps to chart a way out of a failing system of incarceration.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The Case for Intersecting Disability, Imprisonment, and Deinstitutionalization
1. The Perfect Storm: Origin Stories of Deinstitutionalization
2. Abolition in Deinstitutionalization: Normalization and the Myth of Mental Illness
3. Abolition as Knowledge and Ways of Unknowing
4. Why Prisons Are Not “the New Asylums”
5. Resistance to Inclusion and Community Living: NIMBY, Desegregation, and Race-Ability
6. Political and Affective Economies of Closing Carceral Enclosures
7. Institutional and Prison Reform Litigation: From Politicization to the Governable Iron Cage
Epilogue: Abolition Now
"Ben-Moshe outlines how people fought for a new paradigm in mental health treatment before. Beginning in the 1960s, widespread deinstitutionalization sparked by disability activists shut down asylums across the country. Many see this movement now as a failure because it led to more people with mental illness being herded into jails and prisons. But Ben-Moshe argues that this was a pivotal step in abolition by grassroots organizing."—Teen Vogue
"Examining decarceration and deinstitutionalisation within the same frame is vitally important...the book challenges us to think about the range of carceral facilities that exist."—Race & Class