Monday, September 15, 2008

Newsweek :: A Procession of Them

A Procession of Them
By Eugene Richards
Psychiatric institutions around the world
Photographs by Eugene Richards

Basic human rights often seem not to apply to the mentally ill or mentally retarded. This was the conclusion of photographer Eugene Richards, who wandered the world to document the animalistic conditions of psychiatric institutions in Paraguay, Armenia, Mexico, Hungary and Kosovo for his new book, A Procession of Them . Most of these institutions mix patients together without regard for condition or temperament, leaving the dangerous ones free to prey upon other patients, including children and even a few perfectly sane castaways, who simply have nowhere else to go. Some of the worst abuses are being reined in, thanks to the efforts of Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI). Here, at a facility in Asuncion, Paraguay, nearly 50 residents hold their mattresses in a courtyard while their rooms are hosed down.

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