A Psychoanalytic Response to the Effects of Forced Isolation in the Age of Mass Incarceration
In this presentation, acclaimed social justice activist and psychiatrist Terry Kupers will examine the practice of solitary confinement through a psychoanalytic lens, stimulating thought and discussion about current practices of punishment within the correctional system. Dr. Kupers’s presentation will highlight the psychological devastation wrought by the experience of solitary confinement and the invisibility of the disenfranchised within the broader culture.
As inmates are exiled from society, they are stripped of their personhood and relational rights and deprived of the basic sustenance of existence — their presence in the mind of another. The extreme sensory deprivation of solitary confinement works to erase the inmate from the outside in, leaving only despair in its wake. Dr. Kupers’s work on solitary confinement illuminates the violence of enforced isolation and its lasting effect on the psyche: the traumatic imprint of culturally sanctioned neglect. Through his staunch commitment to bringing solitary confinement to the foreground, Dr. Kupers challenges the dehumanization of prisoners and questions the psychic function of mass incarceration and enforced isolation.
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:
- Identify the psychological effects of solitary confinement on prisoners.
- Identify how the disenfranchised are made invisible within the broader culture, and the psychological impact of their invisibility.
- Effectively advocate for the rights of prisoners.
Terry A. Kupers, M.D., MSP, is a distinguished life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He provides expert testimony in class action litigation regarding the psychological effects of prison conditions. Dr. Kupers is author of Prison Madness (1999), co-editor of Prison Masculinities (2002), and Contributing Editor of Correctional Mental Health Report.
No refunds for this event.