Tranquil Prisons: Chemical Incarceration under Community Treatment Orders

Tranquil Prisons: Chemical Incarceration under Community Treatment Orders

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By Erick Fabris
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
240 Pages
ISBN 9781442612297
Published Aug 2011
Online discount: 15%
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ISBN 9781442643765
Published Aug 2011
Online discount: 25%
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442696891
Published Aug 2011
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Antipsychotic medications are sometimes imposed on psychiatric patients deemed dangerous to themselves and others. This is based on the assumption that treatment is safe and effective, and that recovery depends on biological adjustment. Under new laws, patients can be required to remain on these medications after leaving hospitals. However, survivors attest that forced treatment used as a restraint can feel like torture, while the consequences of withdrawal can also be severe.

A brave and innovative book, Tranquil Prisons is a rare academic study of psychiatric treatment written by a former mental patient. Erick Fabris's original, multidisciplinary research demonstrates how clients are pre-emptively put on chemical agents despite the possibility of alternatives. Because of this practice, patients often become dependent on psychiatric drugs that restrict movement and communication to incarcerate the body rather than heal it. Putting forth calls for professional accountability and more therapy choices for patients, Fabris's narrative is both accessible and eye-opening.

Erick Fabris is a lecturer in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University.


1 Chemical Incarceration

2 Mad

3 Restraints and Treatment

4 On the Ground

5 Psychiatric History and Law

6 Biocarceration

7 Transinstitutionalization

8 Dreams of Escape

9 In the Present


‘I commend Erick Fabris on his achievement with Tranquil Prisons, an engaging combination of scholarship, analysis, and call to action and mobilization. It is rare for a “survivor account” to provide such a systematic investigation into an aspect of contemporary psychiatric practice. I must emphasize the importance of Tranquil Prisons for those within the policy, practice, and academic communities. Well organized and accessible, it should also prove a useful text for lay readers.’

Erica Burman, Department of Psychology, Discourse Unit/Research Institute of Health and Social Change, Manchester Metropolitan University

‘Erick Fabris is very well versed in the literature surrounding the use and abuse of community treatment orders (CTOs). In Tranquil Prisons, he embarks on a clever theoretical and methodological journey into the topic while illustrating the issues, debates, and experiences behind surface realities. Infused with Fabris’s own personal experiences, Tranquil Prisons is a major contribution to research.’

Jana Grekul, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta

Tranquil Prisons is an important contribution to the studies of mental health and related institutions. It would make an excellent read for the general public, government administrators or researchers, academics, and postsecondary courses that deal with health and illness, social control, social organization of health, or legal studies at the sophomore or senior levels of study.’

Gary Barron, Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol 37:03:2012