« The Democratic Party and the War on Terror | Main | Three Views of National Security and the Constitution »

January 16, 2007

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c031153ef00d8350d6dfb69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Harcourt: "The Mentally Ill, Behind Bars":

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Toxic Reverend, Environmental Technologist

Presently, I am working on the book, "American Roulette: the Red White and Blue of crime in America".

Homicide Charges For Corporations
One District Attorney with ten convictions, no losses, of
reckless homicide convictions against corporations.
But none of the people responsible.

WHAT IS "RED COLLAR CRIME?

They are white collar crimes when people die and there are usually no criminal charges against the "Corporate Executives", responsible (162). Such crimes are often "Cloaked in a Veil of Secrecy"(1), as documented in an article about Firestone tires and GM gas tanks (1). In these two instances alone (1), over 400 families took the out of court settlement in exchange for sealing the records. Allowing more American's to die, because they did not put a stop to it. They "sealed the records".

This is not just about "Corporate America".

American Roulette;
"Forget the revolver. We use products and services"
American Roulette - based on "Red Collar Crime"

Roach

Why the high rates of institutionalization followed by low rates?

Clearly, our notion of mental illness is both braoder and narrower than it once was. There was a time when "difficult" women were hospitalized, sometimes against their will, by the actions of their husbands and parents. Think Frances Farmers, whose memoir of the ordeal is quite moving. But today, with our culture of medication, nearly anyone with the blues or hyperactivity of any kind is being medicated.

It seems to me that the same skepticism that is raised against IQ studies can be and has been raised against the idea of mental illness. There is no easy way to say X is merely annoying behavior and Y is mental illness. Depression, addiction, "borderline" personalities, narcissism, and schizophrenia all exist on a continuum. For many people and personality types, mental illness is just an acute expression of eccentricities.

The whole concept of psychopathology overlaps with moral reasoning and the question of community mores. It's a murky question whether when science categorizes things--species, health vs. not healthy, rational vs. not rational--it's not really engaged in pure science because these judgments do not involved "falsifiable hypotheses" but rather classification decisions that are more metaphysical in nature. That is, science informs them but the judgmetns are not properly speaking "science" with all that such a conclusion entails.

The moral judgments of mental health taxonomy are hidden within notions of "functioning." Mental health definitions must, by necessity, be social. The extreme view "I'm OK, You Suck" cannot work, because so many mentally ill people do not only deny that they have a problem, they think so long as they are happy with themselves--whether as serial killers, living in their own feces or whatever--then your problem with them is totally irrelevant.

There must be a community based notion of mental health that is also respectful of individual difference. That community-based notion must not draw a false distinction between "science" and pedestrian reasoning about morality and values, because any notion of functioning must take into account the needs of the community, of parents, of children, of spouses, and the like. The old regime of forced institutionalization was fraught with abuse; at the same time, the new system, embracing a value-neutral notion that even mental illness itself might just be another "lifestyle" is a problem too. It's a problem because, at the end of the day, we as a community won't tolerate certain things, and truly violent and selfish people who hurt others will be locked up, whether in a prison or a hospital.

Psychology must transcend its pretention that it is a hard science, at one and the same time misunderstanding its own methods and devaluing the kinds of reasoning about functioning found in traditional moral and religious settings. Psychology, to grow, must become more secure. In this sense, its advice to individuals is good advice for the profession itself: grow up, consider other ways of doing things, develop compassion, and learn from the meta-fact that men and women have had to consider the hows and whys of how one another tick since social life began.

Joan A. Conway

Again this is often a political matter in such states' as Texas, known for their faulty public policies.

carol smith

i do think that everybody deserves another chance in life.let us be reasonable.
............................
carol smith
Florida Drug Rehab

Michael F. Martin

No wonder fashion, music, and art were so funky in the '70s!

:-)

This is fascinating research. How have state government officials responded?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.