I've become embroiled in a discussion about how psychiatry is being utilized within the prison system as an additional means of punishment under the guise of 'penal reform'.
No doubt psychiatry is inherently punitive when it functions in this capacity as partner to the judicial apparatus. But this is to say nothing of those innocents who find themselves incarcerated and punished in psychiatric prisons (euphemistically referred to as 'hospitals') without even having broken any laws. (This actually means the vast majority of psychiatric 'patients'.)
Psychiatry has long served as a parallel policing system designed to deal with people who have not violated any criminal statutes but are merely too outspoken about unpopular topics; too angry, sad, alienated or rebellious, or who have non-conventional ideas of how the world works and about how they wish to live their own lives; who have unusual religious or spiritual beliefs or (in many cases) are of the 'wrong' color, gender, class or sexual preference.
Psychiatry also offers up glib 'explanations' for urgent economic-rooted situations such as widespread homelessness, thus pinning the blame for these social crises on the individuals affected while the lopsided Western economic dynamic is safely absolved of responsibility.
In saying this I need to express my opinion that 'mental illness' is an accusation, not a 'diagnosis'. True medical diagnoses rely on sound investigative, scientific techniques to arrive at some possible conclusions about how to proceed.
OTOH, verdicts of 'mental illness' are rendered without valid scientific or medical basis and basically constitute a slur against the individual based on the shrink's own subjective point of view.
Psychiatry uses a mantle of false compassion and pseudo-medical language to cloak the fact that its primary reason for existence is containment, control and punishment of people for 'offenses' that will not be found in any jurisdiction's penal code.
To top it all off, this 'profession's' undisguised collusion with Big Pharma is resulting in a multi-billion dollar industry being built at the expense of the well-being of countless millions of people who find themselves immobilized, sickened and incapacitated by its nostrums.
Psychiatry is by definition a punitive institution wherever you find it - not just when it intersects with the criminal system.
Submitted by Graeme on