state:
Indiana
Local history:
Intersections of Mass Incarceration and Mental Illness
Why are prisons the nation’s mental hospitals?
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis | Indiana Medical History Museum
National Traveling Venue:
Central Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library
40 East St. Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204-1131
April 20, 2017May 14, 2017

NJ: Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention

Exhibit on view through December 15th.

Project for Empty Space

2 Gateway Center

Newark, NJ 07102

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Indiana: Intersections of Mass Incarceration and Mental Illness
Why are prisons the nation’s mental hospitals?
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis | Indiana Medical History Museum

In the early 1800's, Americans opened hospitals to care for people with mental illness, removing patients from their communities for treatment into often-overcrowded hospital wards. Indiana's first mental hospital, Central State, opened in 1848. This facility's 1994 closure was part of a nationwide process called the deinstitutionalization that began in the 1960's. Policymakers, politicians, and phsychiatrists worled intensively to create community-based mental health care. However in Indiana, like most of the country, these facilities were inadequate to the need. Today, encounters between people with mental illness and law enforcement result in more people with mental illness recieving care in correctional facilities than in state hospitals. The stress and isolation of incarceration often causes people's mental health to deteriorate. Policies including mental health counts, which Indianapolis advocates pioneered, divert people with mental illness from correctional facilities. Improving conditions in prisons and jails and providing treatment upon release could break the cycle.

Our Point of View

In this project, we discovered the complexities of our topic; it involves the history of mental illness, the penal system, current events, and people marginalized by society. Our research included meeting with people directly impacted by serious mental illness and incarceration. Because of the stigma associated with mental health and incarceration, we strive to represent the stories of people impacted by these topics respectfully by using intentional language and imagery that maintains their dignity and privacy.

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Indiana: Intersections of Mass Incarceration and Mental Illness    Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Why are prisons the nation’s mental hospitals?
Indiana: Intersections of Mass Incarceration and Mental Illness
Why are prisons the nation’s mental hospitals?
  Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

National Exhibition Venue    Central Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library

Public Dialogues and Events
| April 20 – May 14, 2017

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
“"As a longtime criminal justice professional, I take some responsibility for the status quo and am taking steps to reduce and eliminate mass incarceration."”  — Indianapolis Public Library Patron
“I know multiple people who have been incarcerated for white collar crimes, but I feel like their stories are often separate from what we think about who goes to prison and why.”  — Anonymous Exhibition Visitor

States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities—to open national dialogue on what should happen next. Click on a state to learn more.

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