Publisher description for Punishment and madness / Toby Seddon.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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The imprisonment of offenders with mental health problems is one of the more dismaying, unsettling and controversial aspects of contemporary penal practice. It is an enduring and longstanding problem too, with concern about it dating back centuries. Prison reformers from John Howard onwards have noted with disapproval the presence of the 'insane' in penal institutions. The focus of this book is on the government of prisoners with mental health problems in England and Wales over the last 25 years. The wider context and backdrop to the book is the shift to 'late modernity' which since the 1970s has seen massive structural change in most Western societies affecting the social, economic and cultural spheres as well as the field of crime and punishment. The overall aim of this book is to investigate whether these profound transformations have also led to a reconfiguring of responses to mentally vulnerable offenders who end up in prison. Specifically, the aim is to understand how this group of prisoners has come to be viewed increasingly as sources of 'risk' requiring 'management' or containment, rather than as people suitable for therapeutic responses. The book draws on primary research carried out by the author, including interviews with key informants involved in the field during this period, such as, former cabinet ministers, senior civil servants, campaigners and academics. In conducting this investigation, the author has developed a method of research which combines and synthesizes different forms of analysis to create a novel approach to socio-historical research.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Mentally ill offenders -- Great Britain.
Mentally ill prisoners -- Great Britain.
Prisons -- Great Britain.