Caged: The Rising Use of Prison and Jail for Women's Mental Health Care

Jamie Hein : Interdisciplinary Studies Field

Mentor: Victoria Robinson, Ethnic Studies and American Cultures

Between 1977 and 2016, the U.S. women’s imprisonment rate increased over 800%. In California, while the rate of men’s incarceration has decreased over the past decade, the number of prisoners who suffer from mental illness has risen significantly. It is imperative to explore these numbers as they pertain to women’s institutions, and to understand why racial and ethnic minority women with mental illness and substance abuse issues are more likely to be channeled into prison and jail than treatment programming. By carrying out archival research and interviews in Chowchilla, CA and the Bay Area, Jamie will examine the relationship between the dissolution of psychiatric institutions/asylums, the development of community mental health systems that were supposed to replace them, and increased women’s incarceration rates in California from the 1950s - present.