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Mental health in Guyana’s Prisons: a direct legacy of the country’s colonial history?

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posted on 2022-05-17, 11:14 authored by Clare AndersonClare Anderson

The mental health of those who live and work in Guyana’s prisons is at the heart of our three-year research project on the relationship between the nation’s colonial past and the mental health and substance abuse disorders of prisoners and prison staff in the present. Much like the recent Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) ‘Survey of Individuals Deprived of Liberty: Caribbean 2016-2019’ notes, examining the living conditions in prisons across six Caribbean nations, including Guyana, is important because “they directly relate to the well-being of individuals who are deprived of liberty.” In our own work on the history of prisons in Guyana since the 1830s we have identified many examples of how infrastructure shaped living conditions and impacted realities such as overcrowding; inadequate access to water, healthcare, training and education; poor sanitation; and a lack of visits. This intensified what criminologists call “the pains of imprisonment”, understood as the impact of incarceration on the physical and mental well-being of individuals.


MNS Disorders in Guyana's Jails, 1825 to the present day Economic and Social Research Council



In the Diaspora, Stabroek News, April 26, 2021

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School of History, Politics and International Relations


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