Deinstitutionalization Movement Essay

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History The movement to relocate patients from large State Hospitals back into their communities began in the 1960's. Changes in civil rights legislation and the introduction of more effective medications converged, resulting in a massive movement of mentally ill people. In retrospect, we can see that this decision, however well-intended, left many people in far worse conditions that they had endured back in the asylums. When discharged from large institutions homelessness, poverty, inadequate treatment, stigma and social isolation await far too many of them. Before the 1960's, mentally ill patients were institutionalized, an action taken to protect them from their own misguided actions, as well as to protect society (Etter, Birzer & Fields, 2008). Cohen (1985) illustrated multiple master changes in deviancy control, dating back to pre-eighteenth century, where the place of control shifted from communities as primary institutions to closed, segregated institutions in the nineteenth century. These segregated institutions linked the practice of rehabilitation emerging in Jacksonian America in response to social changes which began at the the end of the 18th century (Cohen, 1985). There seemed to be a collective patriotic enthusiasm to be free from the European monarchical heritage and a repugnance over the spectacle of public physical punishment (Cohen, 1985). The Great Incarcerations of the 19th Century were shown to be part of a design in which thieves were sent to prisons and lunatics into asylums (Cohen, 1985). The 18th century ideologies of the “body being used as the object of intervention” shifted as a new army of technicians, such as wardens, educators, psychiatrists and criminologists, took over the role of executioner and proceeded to provide and justify theories to explain the use of mind as the redefined object of intervention (Cohen, 1985). By the

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