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Deinstitutionalization is the label given to the reduction or elimination of long-term-stay psychiatric hospitals, or asylums, during the middle to late 1900s in favor of a community-based model of care for treating mental illness. Deinstitutionalization is not one event, rather it is a phenomenon that occurred in concert with numerous legal, social, and medical changes of the time. Critics argue that deinstitutionalization occurred without a comprehensive community-care model in place, which led to the criminalization of persons with mental illness. The largest providers of inpatient mental health services are now seen to be jails and prisons.

Original Citation

Hartsfield, J. M. (2017). Deinstitutionalization. In K.R. Kerley (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Corrections (1-4). Wiley Online. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118845387.wbeoc123