WNPR

Should We Bring Back Asylums?

May 2, 2018

Old asylums give us the creeps. The reality of asylums may pale in comparison to the horrors we conjure in our minds. Yet, they were awful. They were dark and dirty and overcrowded. Diseases were rampant and deadly. Staff was abusive. Food was scarce and inedible. Death and suicide were common.

So, why does President Trump want to bring them back? 

That's what he told thirty-nine governors attending a White House meeting on gun safety after the February shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

While the president may be misguided as to the link between violence and mental illness, he raised an important issue. Should we bring back institutions to care for the seriously mentally-ill who otherwise bounce between emergency rooms, prison, and the streets? Some think so. Others fear a return of the abuses that led to their destruction. 

Today, we talk about the history and future of asylums and a person who spent time in one and doesn't want to go back. 

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.