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Columbia Law School

Health Law and Policy

Prison population

2014

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Mirror Image Of Asylums And Prisons, Sacha Raoult, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2014

The Mirror Image Of Asylums And Prisons, Sacha Raoult, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This article analyzes trends in prison rates and mental hospital rates in France since the earliest available statistics. It shows that, on almost two centuries of data and amidst an agitated political history, every asylum trend in France is "countered" by an inverse prison trend, and vice-versa. Both trends are like a mirror image of each other. We reflect on the possible explanations for this intriguing fact and show that the most obvious ones (a population transfer or a building transfer) are not able to account for most of the relationship. After these explanations have been dismissed, we are left ...