Mental for Mental Health Jails: A Critical Geography and Political Economy of Mental Health Jail Construction in California

Susan Kim : Geography, Global Poverty and Practice minor

Mentor: Victoria Robinson, Ethnic Studies and American Cultures

As the historic prison boom of the past thirty years comes to a halt in California, a nascent jailr boom has snuck onto the scene. Forty out of fifty-eight counties in California are in various stages of building or renovating jails, the most pronounced characteristic among these new jail projects being their emphasis on mental health treatment.  Susan will conduct secondary and archival research, interviews with various stakeholders, and observation of political events concerning jail expansion and mental health to investigate the political, economic, and social forces facilitating the newest expression of carceral expansion in California— the mental health jail. Her investigation comes during a unique window of opportunity to shift mental health and criminal justice policy due to declining incarceration and increased public enthusiasm for community-based alternatives to incarceration.