OPG Aversa Judicial Psychiatric Hospital: prison and identity
“Is it possible to protect the right of health to a person in detention?”. The words of Basaglia have accompanied me constantly during my journey in the judicial psychiatric hospital (O.P.G.) of Aversa. I tried to make visible the paradoxical condition of the inmates dragged into the ambiguity of these structures, half prison and half asylum. In this place, mental illness and social exclusion are often combined, multiplied and distinction between them can be confused. The men I have met have a hard time remembering their own stories. Memory, personal rhetoric, appear denied in the name of therapy aimed at solving the psychiatric clinical condition that first generated the antisocial behaviour. The ability for an individual to adapt to their new life, in loosing personal freedom because of the strict regulations, typical of the prison system, presents a serious obstacle for the individual to maintain one’s own identity.
Back in 2015, Italy has closed forensic psychiatric hospitals and converted them to fully-residential services.