The London School of Economics: Silent Cells

Review of Silent Cells by Anthony Ryan Hatch

A critical investigation into the use of psychotropic drugs to pacify and control inmates and other captives in the vast U.S. prison, military, and welfare systems

The story of mass incarceration in the US has already been told. Journalists, activists, lawyerspoliticiansacademics: the clarion call for drastic change to American justice and penal systems has sounded clear and loud. Yet among this babel of voices, a pocket of silence has lingered. Namely, how psychotropic drugs – antidepressants, antipsychotics, tranquilisers and sedatives – have been weaponised for decades by the US carceral state to suppress the cries of those trapped in its grasp. ‘Technocorrections’ is the name given to this policy of strategically applying new technologies in the effort to reduce the costs of mass incarceration and minimise the risks that prisoners pose to society. Or, as one group of prisoners referred to it in their 1980 letter to Congress, ‘technototalitarianism’.


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