Clare Anderson, Martin Halliwell

Mental health care in Guyana's jails before and after Independence

  • Law

AbstractThis article considers the intersecting geographical, social, medical and political frameworks necessary to construct an understanding of mental health in Guyanese prisons, historically and in the present day. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to integrate archives, modern records and interviews, it looks first at colonial and independent state management of mental health impacts with respect to sentencing, incarceration and rehabilitation. It moves on to reflect on recent efforts to provide co‐ordinated policies and practices at national level to tackle more effectively moderate to severe mental health conditions. Here it shows that, as in the colonial period, prisoners and prison officials are typically neglected. Overall, our appreciation of the importance of what we term the coloniality of incarceration and public health enables us to deepen an understanding of the development and ongoing significance of approaches to mental ill health in the modern state, following Guyana's independence from colonial rule in 1966.

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