|Current trends in deinstitutionalisation in Canada, marked by massive cuts to funding for psychiatric facilities and health care more generally, have many folk deemed "mentally ill", receiving inadequate care. As well as the closing of hospitals, drugs have been de-listed, services have been privatized, fees charged and waiting lists having been extended. The result, in many cases, has been popular imagery of a new version of "criminal" has made a prominent showing of recent. This work proposes to investigate contemporary images of the schizophrenic as "criminal", portrayed by Toronto's print media. It is proposed that, as a consequence of a discourse mounting around an imaginary "violent" schizophrenic, shifts towards incarcerating patients in jails are going largely uncontested. Through an assessment of newspaper articles published in the past three years, we can compose an understanding of this new discourse of the mental patient as criminal. Where earlier historical representations presented the "mentally ill" in a variety of deviant ways, it has only been recently that the imagery has been reinforced by an apparent increase in "criminal activities" perpetrated by mentally ill persons. Seen alongside government cuts to spending, it becomes apparent that patients are experiencing a re-definition that extends beyond the boundaries of professional control. Rather, the mental patient as criminal is a definition that has developed directly out of issues of government financing, cost cutting and privatization. This paper attempts to investigate the rationale behind shutting down mental hospitals and exposes the resulting emergence of the patient-criminal as a normative social type. Further, it will attempt to address the inhumanity of sending persons deemed mentally ill to prison as a result of government belt tightening.
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