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UT to host book launch and panel discussion focused on disability and incarceration

A book launch and panel discussion for Disability Incarcerated, co-edited by Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, assistant professor of disability studies for The University of Toledo, will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. in Libbey Hall. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

The book seeks to broaden the definition of incarceration as it relates to those with disabilities. It considers not just prisons and jails, but psychiatric hospitals, institutions, nursing homes and more.

“We wanted to expand the definition of what incarceration is,” Ben-Moshe said. “People are not just placed in prisons and denied rights, living opportunities and decision-making power of their own lives. There are a variety of places that do the same thing.”

Disability Incarcerated also examines the effects these types of places have on individuals with disabilities. Ben-Moshe said that they not only look at disabilities that are defined by doctors, but other issues as well.

“There are a variety of ways that disability can manifest itself in these settings,” she said. “Not all of them can be labeled by a doctor.”

Ben-Moshe also explained that individuals who don’t have a disability when they become incarcerated might develop one. She said this is especially true with Supermax prisons, where prisoners often spend 23 hours each day without interaction with others.

“You basically live in a closet for 23 hours a day,” Ben-Moshe said. “It’s supposed to be a disciplinary thing that lasts for 30 to 60 days depending on the place, but, unfortunately, it has become a widespread phenomenon where people live there for decades.”

Ben-Moshe worked with co-editors Dr. Chris Chapman, assistant professor of social work for York University in Toronto, and Dr. Allison Carey, associate professor of sociology for Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, to publish the book earlier this year. The book includes 14 chapters written by interdisciplinary authors.

Disability Incarcerated also features a foreword by Angela Davis, an American political activist, scholar and author. It can be purchased online or at the book launch for $25.

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