CoPALC seminar – 23/09

Mental Health, Neurological and Substance Abuse Disorders in Guyana’s jails, 1815 to the present day

The CoPALC group is really pleased and honored to welcome Pr. Clare Anderson and her team for the last session of the franco-brazilian chair. Pr. Anderson is a key researcher in the penal colony field, and published in 2019 “Global history of convicts and penal colonies.”

This interdisciplinary seminar offers a series of intersectional insights into mental health and substance use among prisoners and the people who work with them in Guyana. It begins with an exploration of the impact of innovations in jail discipline on ideas and experiences of incarceration during the British colonial period, showing that the colonial state used prisons as a form of governance and social control, including labour management. It will then argue that the colonial era’s creation of a criminal justice system underpins the form and function of incarceration that is still in evidence today.
Drawing on research in archives (colonial and post-colonial), and interviews with prison staff and prisoners, the seminar will move on to reflect on the contemporary challenges posed by deleterious mental health conditions amongst the prisoner community and their connections to wider societal issues and lived experiences of both staff and inmates. By drawing out key themes of identity politics, religion, race, class, and gender, the seminar is also interested in comparative perspectives on custodial care, medical interventions, mental health awareness and community services across the Caribbean and in Britain and the United States.
This seminar is based on the ongoing collaborative work of researchers at the University of Guyana and the University of Leicester, in partnership with the Guyana Prison Service: Mental Health, Neurological and Substance Abuse (MNS) Disorders in Guyana’s Jails: 1825 to the present day.


Estherine Adams, Queenela Cameron & Shammane Joseph Jackson (Univesity of Guyana), Clare Anderson, Tammy Ayres, Emma Battell Lowman, Deborah Toner & Kristy Warren (University of Leicester)

Link to YouTube channel

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