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For at least four decades, U.S. prisons and jails have aggressively turned to psychotropic drugs—antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedatives, and tranquilizers—to silence inmates, whether or not they have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. In Silent Cells, Anthony Ryan Hatch demonstrates that the pervasive use of psychotropic drugs has not only defined and enabled mass incarceration but has also become central to other forms of captivity, including foster homes, military and immigrant detention centers, and nursing homes.
Silent Cells shows how, in shockingly large numbers, federal, state, and local governments and government-authorized private agencies pacify people with drugs, uncovering patterns of institutional violence that threaten basic human and civil rights. Drawing on publicly available records, Hatch unearths the coercive ways that psychotropics serve to manufacture compliance and docility, practices hidden behind layers of state secrecy, medical complicity, and corporate profiteering.
Psychotropics, Hatch shows, are integral to “technocorrectional” policies devised to minimize public costs and increase the private profitability of mass captivity while guaranteeing public safety and national security. This broad indictment of psychotropics is therefore animated by a radical counterfactual question: would incarceration on the scale practiced in the United States even be possible without psychotropics?
- rightsThe publication of this book was assisted by a bequest from Josiah H. Chase to honor his parents, Ellen Rankin Chase and Josiah Hook Chase, Minnesota territorial pioneers.
The University of Minnesota Press gratefully acknowledges financial assistance for the publication of this book from the Dean of the Social Sciences and the Center for African American Studies at Wesleyan University.
Portions of the Introduction were previously published as Anthony Ryan Hatch and Kym Bradley, “Prisons Matter: Psychotropics and the Trope of Silence in Technocorrections,” in Mattering: Feminism, Science, and Materialism, ed. Victoria Pitts-Taylor (New York: New York University Press, 2016), 224–44. Portions of chapter 4 were previously published as Anthony Ryan Hatch, Marik Xavier-Brier, Brandon Atell, and Eryn Viscarra, “Soldier, Elder, Prisoner, Ward: Psychotropics in the Era of Transinstitutionalization,” in Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 17. Fifty Years after Deinstitutionalization: Mental Illness in Contemporary Communities, ed. Brea L. Perry (Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Publishing Group), 291–317; reprinted with permission of Emerald Publishing Group.
Copyright 2019 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota
- publisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
- publisher placeMinneapolis, MN
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- rights holderRegents of the University of Minnesota