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Involuntary Commitment as “Carceral-Health Service”: From Healthcare-to-Prison Pipeline to a Public Health Abolition Praxis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2022

Abstract

Involuntary commitment links the healthcare, public health, and legislative systems to act as a “carceral health-service.” While masquerading as more humane and medicalized, such coercive modalities nevertheless further reinforce the systems, structures, practices, and policies of structural oppression and white supremacy. We argue that due to involuntary commitment’s inextricable connection to the carceral system, and a longer history of violent social control, this legal framework cannot and must not be held out as a viable alternative to the criminal legal system responses to behavioral and mental health challenges. Instead, this article proposes true alternatives to incarceration that are centered on liberation that seeks to shrink the carceral system’s grasp on individuals’ and communities’ lives. In this, we draw inspiration from street-level praxis and action theory emanating from grassroots organizations and community organizers across the country under a Public Health Abolition framework.

Type
Symposium Articles
Copyright
© 2022 The Author(s)

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