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Are mental instututes really just another means of "keeping the peace"?

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posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 04:31 AM
Think of a prison, the individual is there so that they no longer pose a danger to soceity, and, they are also paying a penalty for their actions. Serving time is seen as a lesson and a deterrent for pursuing any illegal activity.

Now, think of a mental institution - it is exactly like a prison, only that the beds have straps, the rooms look different, and the occupants are given drugs routinely. Interesting, since a regular prison does not mandate any drugs, and instead of "patients" the inhabitants are called "inmates".

So, what is the real difference between an inmate at a prison and an inmate at a mental institution? You could say, well, the prisoners are there because they have committed crimes against the law. Well, tecnically, the patients are in the institute because the law requires them to be there.

So, both are there due to the "law"...

Another difference though is sentencing - an inmate knows how long he has to wait until he can be released, unless of course it is a life sentence. A patient is there indefinitley until he or she is "better" - and many do serve "life sentences".

Defining when they are "better" a patient might be re-classified and thus "released" to soceity, and similarly, an inmate might be given parole.

Despite the slight differences, they are both prisons and they are both terrible.

However, a murderer obviously needs to be put in a prison - but why not in an asylum - is he not "insane" for committing murder?

Can you see how the line is really blurred and both are really one and the same in practice, only the pretences are different?

Yes, marry the two and we have "criminally insane"...

What exactly is the law on institutionalisation? A book, yes, a book of "problems" that the doctor uses to class individuals, and if one matches particular categories, the individual is forced to "serve their time" in an institute where they can be "helped" with a vast array of medications.

What exactly is the law on penitentiaries? Another book, a book of laws and defintions of what is "illegal" and the requirement to serve time and hopefully be deterred from any further criminal act.

Here are some things that you can do if you want to end up in prison:


And here are some things you can do if you want to end up in an institute:

Talking to ones self
Being overtly emotional
Not believing in what is "rational" - whatever that may be
Out of touch with "reality" - whatever that may be

Really, can we just now say that an institute is a prison for a kind of criminal act?

What criminal act would they be?

The answer is a "conspiracy" about the extent to which modern society maintains itself.

I believe that they are a threat to the workings of social order, a repugnant means of taking out those whom do not "fit" that is practically the same as imprisoning those whom do not conform to societal norms - indeed, they classify what is "normal" and measure potential "inmates" "to the book".

That is all it is, really, those whom are not "normal" and will not conform are being held in pseudo-prisons.
edit on 3-12-2014 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 04:35 AM
Keeping the peace? In a mental institute? Pretty sure that's an oxymoron. I see "peace" as being left alone, no manipulation, no bull#, no NLBS, no greed, no intolerance and no hate. Pretty much what any "institue" is not or being concerned about the catalyst that can get me there. #, I'd be surprised half of us on ATS didn't get rounded up to the funny farm if I actually thought anyone actually listens. ......hmm, see there you go, I just said I write (talk) and feel no one listens yet, I talk anyway. Does that make me a candidate for institution? Think of all the peace my fellow members would receive to get me off these boards. :p

But I agree with your observations and conclusion.

edit on 3-12-2014 by Rosinitiate because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 04:39 AM
a reply to: Rosinitiate

The "average citizen" is highly intolerant, even when it comes to things that are generally harmless such as talking to ones self in public. Too many people talking to themselves would be a problem that would disturb the populace, and as such the "perpetrators" are imprisoned so that "peace and order" - at least in the outside world - can be maintained.
edit on 3-12-2014 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)

edit on 3-12-2014 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 04:41 AM
You argue from an interesting perspective.

The line is indeed blurred.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 04:42 AM

originally posted by: SystemResistor
a reply to: Rosinitiate

The "average citizen" is highly intolerant, even when it comes to things that are generally harmless such as talking to ones self in public. Too many people talking to themselves would be a problem that would disturb the populace, and as such the "perpetrators" are imprisoned so that "peace and order" - at least in the outside world - can be maintained.

The average citizen is highly "ignorant" and ignorance breeds intolerence. That's why disinformation is so useful.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 05:39 AM
a reply to: SystemResistor

Greetings- When I was a cop in Ca. I could take anyOne that I deemed to be a "threat" to theirSelf/another/public and they'd be "held" for up to 72 hours. (5150 W & I code). It should also be noted that Law Enforcement are the ONLY ONES that can do it. Doctors may only 'suggest' . In most of the 100+ cases that I was involved with it was usually drive the "Patient" (Remember they haven't broken any laws and are NOT a PRISONER) to be seen at "Mental Health" and once they were deemed "Not a risk" they were released. These contacts wouldn't be on an arrest log as they were 'civil' and not 'criminal' and maybe that is where the question is?

If I were to choose, I'd go with the psychotropics and drool as opposed to a shiv/shank and crappy tattoos filled w/Hep C but I'm funny that way... Always boiling down to "Going to hurt Self/others"

Here in Flori-Duh it is called the "Baker Act"


posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 05:45 AM
a reply to: SystemResistor

In the pre-cell phone days I had a bipolar friend who had a habit of talking to herself in public. She said she just carried a unworking tape recorder around and people thought she was making a tape. Now all people need is a used cell phone as a prop and they can talk to themselves in public all they want.

Mental institutions are often storehouses, although many patients (inmates?) have to go to one when they stop taking their medicine and become violent. In the olden days (pre cell-phone?) many sane people were locked up in these institutions as a form of extra-legal imprisonment.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 05:53 AM
a reply to: SystemResistor

Also remember: That in the U.S. the prison industry is a $3B/yr business, how much $$$ per yr. goes to Corrections™ and how much $$$ goes to Mental Health? I've been retired for 10 years now and from what I've seen the police have become an arm of the military™ so KNOWING how the military™ think, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that "MANY" of the folks that are currently incarcerated in PENAL institutions should actually be in MENTAL institutions and I'd bet there are numbers to back that up?? Before, these folks would've ended up getting therapy but now they're punching license plates.. See how many folks that are clinically "mentally ill" yet instead of doing their "time" at MeadowHills they are at San Quentin™

We closed all the "mental institutions" because it wasn't 'politically correct' or some other EXCUSE and replaced them with PRISONS.

Is Your local jail run by a business? like CCA™ if it is, check the local newspaper's 'Police Log' and see how many folks were actually 'booked' into jail on offenses that before would be released on a citation. Any 'misdemeanor' can be handled with the issuance of a citation, but if it is a 'private jail' they are 'booking' folks and YOU are paying for it...


posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 06:05 AM
a reply to: SystemResistor

They are places of treatment and medical aid for those afflicted with mental illness and a place of safety for both the public and the mentally ill themselves.

By its very nature, mental illness can make sufferers dangerous to themselves and an unsuspecting public.

But, institutions are a dying thing. In the UK, most of them save for the few that house and treat criminally insane people have been closed down and the land sold off to developers to build gated housing communities for the wealthy.

The former patients are pretty much left to their own ends and is rosily called 'care in the community'...which is ironic, because much of the community don't care for them, and neither do the mentally ill themselves.

Mental healthcare and as a by-product public safety concerns took a major back seat to profits to be made from selling the former hospitals to fat cat developers to rake it in.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 06:29 AM
Well let me go ahead and step in and tell you how very very incorrect many of your assumptions are

MY NOTE: The following is not true of EVERY single US State...but a good deal of them. I will be speaking for region 6, 10, and 11 and most of the Midwest

I'll bullet point them if you life

1. Institutions rarely require mechanical restraints. There are multiple methods we try well before taking someone down or hitting them with Haldol/Geodon/Zypexa...You can't believe how many people we are capable of talking down without even laying so much as a finger

2. The 'law' requiring a patient to be admitted psychiatrically is correct in much less of the cases than you think. We admit people voluntarily so many more times than involuntarily. When a patient is admitted voluntarily they have many rights including the right to request immediate discharge. In fact, in many cases, if the patient is not directly in line with the four potentials, we cannot legally keep them

The four potentials are the reasons we can hospitalize someone

Suicidal WITH intent/plan/attempt to end their life
Homicidal WITH a specific target/plan/intent
Psychosis beyond the baseline of the patient
Inability to care for self...and by this I mean someone hasn't eaten, slept or bathed in weeks not just missed a meal

In fact, it is quite hard to admit someone against their will. Another fun fact ((for Illinois and other states)) If a patient is deemed dangerous enough to admit involuntarily AND has an open warrant, pending case or open felony or misdemeanor, we CANNOT by law admit that person against their will because criminal law supercedes civil law

3. Defining "better" is very simple...when they no longer meet the four potentials for imminent risk...period...

4. A patient is NEVER held indefinately unless they are specifically sent to a ward for criminal insanity. Even in a state hospital, the most intense admission we can make, the best I have ever had someone stay was 3 months...a long time yes, but that was because they persistently represented an extreme danger....not indefinite 202M.pdf

5. the 'book' as in the NOT the reason we hospitalize ANYONE EVER. Millions of people come to the hospital and their psychiatrists and therapist with every diagnosis in the book but they are not BY LAW allowed to be hospitalized without meeting the potentials. An active diagnosis of schizophrenia is not a admittable permission. I see many people daily who are profoundly bipolar, schizophrenic and depressed and they do not get hospitalized unless they are an imminent risk...period

Fun fact...people who have actually attempted suicide have been released from an emergency room without psychiatric admission due to the legal standards for imminent risk

6. The 72 hold per police is in fact legal in some states but not here. A police petition is actually reasonably worthless to me. The only thing it means in this region is that a absolute best he can be held 24 hours or until a licensed professional such as myself releases him

Also, no offense, 95% of the police petitions I see are absolute garbage or illegal due to failure to properly fill them out. And when they are properly filled, they are almost always very, very weak narratives. Weak narratives get shut down immediately here. I work on training police to file strong petitions...they suck at it...again no offense to any officers here 05.pdf

1. If you have been brought to this facility on the basis of this petition alone, you will not be immediately admitted, but
will be detained for examination. You must be examined by a qualified professional within 24 hours or be released.

7. Patients are allowed to refuse any and all medications unless they are actively harming themselves, others, or are actively and acutely psychotic. In fact, 'fast-tracking' happens a lot. Fast tracking is sending a patient to a psychiatric admission where he immediately states that he refuses to take any non-emergency medications and refuses to continue medical care once released. At that point, if said patient is not actively dangerous, he is often fast tracked. I have on countless occasions hospitalized a patient to have him be released in under one hour

8. "Talking to ones self
Being overtly emotional
Not believing in what is "rational" - whatever that may be
Out of touch with "reality" - whatever that may be "

None of these are admissible unless the patient is well beyond baseline and well into the danger zone. I have patients that talk to themselves the entire time I try to interview them but if it is not abnormal for him or if it does not represent extreme danger then the patient is released. "Overly emotional" is absolute BS. Unless they are despondent to the point that they tell me they will end their life today, they cannot be forced to a floor. Rationality/reality is subjective and any good therapist/psychiatrist/MD will see/know the difference.

9. Absolutely 100% incorrect...those who are not 'normal' ((which is super offensive IMO)) are not hospitalized and held. Normal is not your decision, my decision even as a professional, or anyone's really. It is all, 100% about imminent risk...nothing more

10. Rosinitiate is partially correct...admissions/floors are honestly relatively worthless because many times the second people are released, and usually in VERY short order, they throw their scripts right in the street. ATS a candidate for admission? please...these folks are normal as sunshine in Florida...I imagine now there are several people you have met or run into that endure hefty mental illnesses that you don't even know about...why? Because they are normal. These people are NOT defective. They just hurt...and we do all we can to ease the hurt.

11. The average person is intolerant...or in my opinion ignorant, rude and offensive. OH NO A PERSON IS TALKING TO HIMSELF!!! Call the police! He's gonna shoot up a store! BULL...CRAP...think of the many shootings we have here. Even if we could psotively attribute every single one to mental illness, how many tens of millions of people does that leave who are mentally ill that live their lives and move on just fine?

12. JimNasium - I will of course absolutely not speak for California. In our region, any mentally capable adult can file a petition to have a person assessed by a professional. A doctor, police, a therapist and even a friend of a patient can make a petition and when it is signed, that patient is now required to be evaluated. So no, here, the police are not even close to the only people who can. The only issue is that no petition in this region can be filed on any minor child.


any person 18 years of age or older may present a petition to the facility director of a mental health facility in the county where the respondent resides or is present.


posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 06:34 AM
a reply to: Rosinitiate

I'm sure the op means 'maintaining the status quo' & not keeping the peace.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 06:35 AM
13: JimNasium again...Prison is a massive industry...and so is psychopharmacology...but the actual act of admitting someone is a massive money sink for the hospital unless they play their cards very well. But yes psychopharmacology is huge business. Also...Amen Jim....In my short 3 years I've seen way too many places closed...

14. Finally, MisterX...well said except the part about making someone dangerous by nature. That is in a small number of cases. So many millions live with mentall illness and will never hurt a fly, themselves or anything. But oh my yes is it disgusting how little we care for the is pandemic...and yet we refuse to talk about it...instead let's throw a apill at them

We need to move immediately to empowerment and health...

Thanks y'all

Sorry to blow up a bit...And I am still new, licensed yes, but learning super fast. 3 years years in emergency mental health/therapy and well over 600 patients will give you ground floor knowledge very very fast

be well...and care for others


posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 07:06 AM
a reply to: KyoZero

Great post. In old Soviet Russia people were put in an institute when they had no issues whatsoever besides thinking something the government didn't like, but psychiatry and (severe) psychiatric issues are real. Sure modern psychiatry still lacks in many aspects but anyone who says something like the op probably hasn't ever lived with a psychotically depressed person, just to name something. There may be those who're put in a psychiatric hospital unjustfully but that doesn't take the very real reality of psychiatric problems away.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 08:10 AM
a reply to: Pitou

Oh most certainly. And even America up until the 60's and 70's were institutionalizing people and using the old catch-all of borderline personality disorder. Those poor people would indeed spend their lives locked away and sedated and tortured in many cases. And all it took back then was mom or dad to say "my daughter is sick...and there she goes...bye bye

But things are so very different now

Yes the mental health system in this country sucks horribly but part of it comes from the arms-length and silent way we gawk at people when we learn -GASP- they are bipolar/schizophrenic/depressed whatever

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 09:40 AM
a reply to: KyoZero

Yes, like I typed, My experience was towards Ca. and Fl. In Ca. We'd get dispatched to the hospitals to place the 5150 Welfare and Institutions Code, it was the Cop because in 'many' cases the pt. didn't want to go and their 'rights' would be violated for "their own good".. (I'm from the Gov't. and I'm here to help, it's for Your own good...) I've been retired for 10 years so changes like HIPPA, change in Dep't. policy.. I'd also wager that in Ca. it is/was the Cop to take out any chances of a lawsuit again, a "civil detainment" vs. "criminal detainment". I totally agree on the shoddy reporting 100%. If You cannot articulate the reason behind violating someone's free movement/rights, then there is no reason behind the detainment. Any "boiler plate" reporting will catch up sooner or later.

My guess is with HIPPA and all the other crap it is even more difficult getting the folks the proper treatment. But look at how "We" (society) treat our water supply, what is something each of Us actually "needs" to survive? Yet We know more about the moon/space then We do about our oceans/seas..

3 years or gray hairs? And each case is separate and none of them are "routine". I wish You the most success and You come out "the other end" no worse for wear.. (PTSD sucks...)


posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 07:51 PM
a reply to: JimNasium

ah no worries friend. Emergency mental health care is my position while I finish all the appropriate education and hours to get my full Clinical license...then I am off to work on my own...therapy is what I was meant to do

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 08:37 PM
Well, I don't entirely agree, Kyo Zero. I don't think people fear those who are depressed or anxious or OCD or anorexic. I think people fear those who are schizophrenic--those who are bipolar--those who are possibly violent. And it is these types of people that tend to be locked away in community mental health units. Well, them and some old people with dementia who did something kooky. And honestly, if they aren't being better taken care of elsewhere, then good.

Don't get me wrong, I know all schizophrenics aren't then same--I actually have a friend who has that disorder. But he takes his meds and graduated from Loyola and is now getting published. He's really a smart guy. He just has his times when the voices kick in and he needs to be left alone for a while. Not the kinda guy that's gonna get locked away. I've never seen him be anything less than peaceful. Certainly not violent or deluded.

Then there are those who are prone to violence--but who haven't yet committed any horrible crime. If they aren't getting treatment or don't have a good support system in place then I hope that they end up in a mental healthcare unit. Because then at least they can be protected from hurting themselves or others.

Yes, our mental healthcare system still sucks but at least it's a far cry different from the days when the eugenicists were allowed to run absolutely wild. Changes need to happen but thank goodness we don't have any more Pennhursts going on as far as I know.

posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 10:19 PM
I myself was placed into an institution...

I decided to leave home due to tensions at home, and the threat of being asked to move out if I did not change my "behaviour", so, I took it upon myself to leave. I managed to make it to a relatively small town. The police were alerted because I was staying in the same place for too long, and I was politely told to "move on". Later on, I was confronted by my family members that had found me, I refused to get into the car with them, and I explained that they had no right to force me. However, because I have a mental illness, the police gave me no option, either go with my parents or go with them. They did not read my rights, and took me to the hospital where I was given medication. At the institute, lo and behold, I found plenty of regular people and teenagers that appeared normal to me, but were also detained, most probably for "unacceptable behaviours". I feel that if prosecution is not an option, then any behaviour that seems unacceptable (i.e. raising ones voice or becoming emotional when confronted by the police) is an excuse to be taken to hospital. What I also saw were others whom were simply homeless, the institute being used as a means to detain them. I had no option but to return home because they could not just release me because of "duty of care"...

Even showing natural frustration can be taken as a mental illness, and it is the reason they need to detain you.

It was shocking because I was being physically forced into my parents car, and the police were just standing by and watching. Refusing to go with them, they took me in the police car. I understand that many runaways and homeless are detained in institutions, probably a common method used to maintain order, crossing a "grey line" and in my case over-stepping it.

When it comes to the medication, I was told that they could not force me to take it at home, however, if I were to stop or refuse taking it, it is most likely that my attitude of resistance would be taken as a sign of psychosis, and thus the ambulance would be called. I have even been threatened with "calling the ambulance" if my behaviours are "unacceptable".

You just need to have an emotional outburst to be considered "unwell" - and that includes raising ones voice, crying, speaking incoherently - to me this is natural, it is human, and the response should be understanding and compassion, however, now-a-days you have an "illness".

Obviously, the threats to kick me out of the house were a farce, and they did not expect me to actually do it - emotional manipulation in other words.

Now, there is just an uneasy "silence" that I get, they did not expect me to take it literally, I now feel even more confined and restricted by the entire situation, unable to express myself because of the fear of being hospitalised, and confined and unable to really attempt to live independently.
edit on 3-12-2014 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 02:29 PM
a reply to: rukia

I am not sure...and please please point out if I missed it...did you mean this?

Yes the mental health system in this country sucks horribly but part of it comes from the arms-length and silent way we gawk at people when we learn -GASP- they are bipolar/schizophrenic/depressed whatever

In this case I was talking about keeping people at a distance, as in ignoring/despising and such

Eveni if not...and I am sure I am missing something in my post

Several violence/homicide studies show that typically 5-9% of homicides are attributable to those with untreated schizophrenia

And yes I am one who believes that 1 homicide is 1 more than tolerable. Of course at this point we have to wonder what to do with those who suffer schizophrenia and become violent. At that point we should consider a maximum security psychiatric admission...and mainly because that person harmed or killed someone. But the problem I have ((and this is not directed at you)) is that people hear schizophrenia and think OMG a future murderer...or to a lesser degree "here is a person who is unable to ever function again" which is again rather offensive and ugly. Properly medicated, damn near anyone with a disorder can do all anyone else can do

So yeah definitely I am for protecting others but we run into this hideous fine line where we have to decide who that is suffering schizophrenia needs to be locked up, and who doesn't. And for those who plain refuse to be medicated or at least involved in therapy, what now?

It sucks....completely...that part is sure

posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 03:13 PM

originally posted by: SystemResistor
I myself was placed into an institution...

I am going to start by saying I do not doubt this story...and repeat again that I speak only for my regions

The easy quick part is that far and away, I do all I can to keep homeless members out of institutions. In fact, in this area, homeless men do all they can to "pretend" to have mental illness come winter so they have a place to stay.

Anyway...I have yet to personally see the whole "outburst/raising a voice/crying" turning into an admission. We've had crappy parents bring a hyper child to me to demand they be hospitalized only to tell me later that they need a break. This is followed by my reminder that while I feel for their situation. I do not give parent's a break by sending a ten year old to a two week psychiatric admission and neither does my team. Unfortunately in this area, parents have a bit more rights than I do and they can in a way almost force me to do it. It's pretty sickening.

Now the police...they hate my guts ((except a few))

They hate my guts for exactly the same reason. They bring some kid in who Tweets "I hate my life" and fill out their crap petition. Then they come to me and say "Wow this girl REALLY needs to be hospitalized" to which I respond, "That's a shame"

Of course I do diligence. I interview her and watch for actual signs of a girl on the brink of danger versus someone who is just beat down and hurting. But if she/he isn't in danger...then the police can't rant and rave all the want but I am not hospitalizing someone who is "upset"

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