By: Dave Kingsley
Involuntary Institutionalization & Human Rights, & Humane Treatment
Individuals institutionalized involuntarily in prisons, nursing homes, immigration detention centers, and juvenile facilities, are vulnerable to abusive, neglectful, and often deadly treatment. These groups of U.S. residents are overwhelmingly institutionalized under conditions in which authorities, professionals, staffs, and other inmates control their daily routines and other living conditions. They may be subjected to psychotropic drugs, which deprive them of liberty and cause them mental and physical health problems, to violence from other inmates and staff, and medical procedures, which may occur with or without their consent.
In addition to forcible and invasive medical treatment, needed and even preventative medical care is often withheld. As my previous blog post suggested, leading, establishment bioethicists have theorized – shamefully I might add – that withholding beneficial medical care from the elderly would have a positive effect on the U.S. economy by lowering government budgets. They conclude, therefore, that it is morally justified and medically ethical to intentionally shorten the lives of t elderly and disabled Americans.
The desire of religious and governmental institutions to exercise control over the bodies of human beings under their control has been a threat to human rights throughout history. Power and control are fundamental principles underpinning forcible sterilization, involuntary psychotropic protocols, denial of birth control/abortion, and torturous incarceration. Indeed, a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy or even to use contraceptives such as the “morning after” pill will probably be outlawed in the U.S. within a mere month or two by a Supreme Court, religious extremist, majority.
The elderly, women, ethnic minorities, immigrants, and impoverished classes are a threat to the power and economic interests of white (Euro-American) patriarchal ruling elites. Therefore, as a ruse in protecting their power and economic domination, establishment elites have devised methods for undermining attempts by the powerless classes to organize and influence change in power relationships.
Criminalizing & Institutionalizing the Poor and Powerless is Profitable
Institutionalization, along with abusive and neglectful treatment of inmates, involve blunt instruments such as drugging, restraining, and hitting. However, these conditions are facilitated by misfeasance and nonfeasance on the part of government agencies and legislators. Furthermore, the efficiencies of these management techniques are compatible with privatization. Over the past century, industrialists have recognized opportunities in the commoditization of human bodies in nursing homes, ICE detention centers, prisons, juvenile facilities, and other institutions for the powerless.
Hence the real estate housing inmates and government funds for managing and controlling human bodies within four walls have proven to be quite lucrative. Investors in prisons, ICE detentions centers, and nursing homes have become fabulously wealthy (or have added an extraordinary amount to their family wealth). Given the corrupt nature of politics, shameless and blatant purchase of legislators’ approval for the ongoing atrocity of institutionalization for the sake of enriching the already rich, transforming inhumane institutions will be a heavy lift. We must end them – not mend them through sham recommendations from commissions controlled by the power elite.