chapter  123
4 Pages

Disability in Prisons

WithColin Goble, Sally French

This chapter discusses disability as it is addressed in prisons. The perspective taken is a “rights based” one underpinned by a “social model” approach to disability. This approach was developed from the 1960s onward as a radical critique of professionalized care and service systems provided for disabled people. An important part of that critique was a challenge to large institutional models of service provision, such as the “mental subnormality hospitals” that persisted until the 1980s.1 These and other similar institutions were identified as oppressive environments where, at best, disabled people lived impoverished and meaningless lives or, at worst, were subjected to multiple forms of abuse. All of these faults are associated with what Goffman characterized as “total institutions.”2