Constructing monsters: correctional discourse and nursing practice.

Dave Holmes, Cary Federman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article presents the results of a nursing research that aimed at describing the practice of nursing in an extreme environment where social control and psychiatric nursing care are inextricably enmeshed with one another. The study results indicate that the Correctional Psychiatric Centre (CPC) is a site where two antagonistic discourses (that of the hospital and that of the prison) are contending for the human resources in place. Given that the asylum and the prison are as such two distinct institutions, the correctional psychiatric centre constitutes an ideological space that results from the fusion of both the psychiatric and penal apparatuses. However, characteristics commonly attributed to prisoners, such as 'lying', 'dangerous', 'monstrous' and 'manipulative' are superimposed on the nurses' common theoretical representation that a patient is a person to whom care is provided. Monstrosity was a term regularly employed to describe particular types of inmates. The literature on monsters in quite informative in order to understand the impact of such a representation of forensic psychiatric nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-962
Number of pages21
JournalThe international journal of psychiatric nursing research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003


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