"The New Asylums" is a documentary that focuses on the stories of about five different mentally ill inmates who are incarcerated in an Ohio state corrections facility. Though most of the inmates in the documentary committed petty crimes such as purse snatching, a crime that will result in a maximum of three years imprisonment, many of them spent the better half of twenty years behind bars. The blame for their extended stay in prison can likely be put on their mental illness. It must be extremely difficult to be isolated in a prison cell no bigger than a medium sized bathroom for years while also being held prisoner by a mental illness such as chronic paranoia. The video shows examples of certain mental episodes the patients experience, the medicine they take and why it is important to take, the consiquences given if rules ...view middle of the document...
There therapist would ask the inmates questions about their progress and many of them could not answer on a positive note. One inmate, in fact, seemed to have tried to commit suicide numerous times by slashing his wrists and arms, but fortunately failed. These therapy sessions are a type of social control within the prison. They aim to keep deviant and criminal behavior at bay by hopefully giving the inmates a sense of importance. Another form of social control within this Ohio prison is the set of rules and guidelines the inmates must follow in order to expect a timely release. As we see in the video, this goal is not often reached by the inmates with a mental illness. It is hard enough for them to remain sane, but to do it in the confinements of a jail cell must be next to impossible.
Deviance is a behavior that violates the the standards of conduct or expectations of a group or society (Wickman 1991:85). Carl McEachron is a prime example of a person with such behavior. It was reported that he had been very aggressive with the prisons staff “by spitting on them and throwing body waste at them . Finally after thirteen years of this continuous deviant behavior Mr. McEachron was diagnosed with having a mood disorder and an antisocial personality disorder. He made lots of progress and finally made parole in 2005. Another example of deviant behavior depicted in the video was when an inmate refused to “cuff-up” after being told numerous times to do so. His behavior resulted in the “SWAT” team rushing in by force and making him. As a result, the inmate got to spend some quality alone time in what the Ohio corrections facility calls solitaire confinement.
I think this documentary was a real eye-opener, in that federal government and state government should invests in more possible minimum security state hospitals for the mentally ill. Such asylums might play a very positive role in the therapy of the incarcerated mental inmates.