Director of UNCG’s Public History Program Dr. Anne Parson’s book “From Asylum to Prison: Deinstitutionalization and the Rise of Mass Incarceration after 1945” has been honored with the 2019 Outstanding Book Award from the Disability History Association (DHA), an international non-profit organization that promotes the study of disabilities throughout history.
Published in 2018 by UNC Press, “From Asylum to Prison” charts how the politics of mass incarceration shaped the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric hospitals and mental health policy making.
Throughout the book, Parsons reveals that the asylum did not die during deinstitutionalization. Instead, it returned in the modern prison industrial complex as the government shifted to a more punitive, institutional approach to social deviance.
Parsons shows how the lack of community-based services, a fear-based politics around mental illness, and the economics of institutions meant that closing mental hospitals fed a cycle of incarceration that became an epidemic.