The New Asylums

1318 Words6 Pages
A lot of thoughts and observations come to mind while watching The New Asylums. This is a documentary about life in prison for people who have mental diseases, so some of the thoughts and observations are actually quite sad. Many of the prisoners shown in the documentary look sad and defeated, and they have a right to, because having a mental disease even in the real world is very hard. In prison, they are allowed to refuse their medication, although at least there are people who will try to help them. Still, it looks miserable, even more miserable than prison looks for people who aren't suffering from a disease like schizophrenia. Mental illness is often used as the punch line of a joke, but like most other punch lines, it isn't that…show more content…
In fact, it is almost like a hobby. Laws that should be in place to represent a kind of covenant between the public and the government that stands for freedom are really just “the work of the passions of a few” (Beccaria 1). This is actually pretty evident in our society because we so often see special interest groups lobbying and protesting when it comes time for lawmakers or citizens to vote on certain laws. Not everyone is interested in every law, but everyone is interested in at least a few, usually the ones that affect them specifically. So, really, we all take turns advocating for the laws and changes we want to see, which is great, except for the underrepresented minorities. The major underrepresented minority in this instance is people of color, who were shown in much higher numbers in the documentary than white inmates. An organization called Mental Health America compiled a list of statistics on African Americans, in particular, in relation to mental diseases. Unfortunately, solid statistics were difficult to obtain from self-identified African Americans because too many of them were unreachable due to homelessness or incarceration, which is very telling. The organization believes that there is no biological correlation between being black and having a mental disorder, but that stereotypes in our society and racism increase the likelihood of a black person developing a disorder. Further, only 34% stated that they
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