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This article aims to problematize discourses about protection and care that have surrounded compulsory hospitalization by evidencing its use as a control and punishment mechanism that increases the social vulnerability of young drug users. For such, we analyze lawsuits involving juveniles who were consigned to psychiatric institutions for drug addiction treatment as a protection measure in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. The analysis of the materials has evidenced discourses that have circumscribed young drug users and constructed this population as potentially dangerous subjects as well as a population category at risk. In this sense, we point out how compulsory hospitalization has emerged out of the lawsuits as a tool for prevention of juvenile delinquency. Keywords juvenile delinquency, drug use, psychiatric compulsory hospitalization, public security, risk certain truths about the “addicted youth” which have sup- Introduction ported the legitimization and updating of the compulsory This study considers the process of increasing judicialization hospitalization strategy. of mental health care provided to young drug users. It aims to The analysis of the materials has evidenced discourses analyze how compulsory hospitalization of the youth has that have circumscribed young drug users and constructed been used as a tool for public security and violence preven- this population as potentially dangerous subjects as well as a tion. We attempt to problematize discourses about protection population category at risk. In this sense, we point out how and care that have surrounded compulsory hospitalization by compulsory hospitalization has emerged out of the lawsuits evidencing its use as a control and punishment mechanism as a tool for prevention of juvenile delinquency, as most of that increases the social vulnerability of young drug users. the reasons for hospitalization are not linked to health issues, For such problematization, we have relied on theoretical but rather to the field of public security. and methodological tools of social psychology from a post- structuralist perspective, particularly related to Michel The Construction of the Addicted Youth Foucault’s thought. We have considered the author’s analysis of discourses and the emergence of knowledges in articula- as a “New” Social Problem tion with mechanisms and technologies of power. We discuss Ten years ago, there was no case in the State. We estimate that the emergence of the “addicted youth” as a social problem there are 50 to 60 thousand crack users nowadays. that has invited psychology and law to produce a range of knowledges and strategies of intervention and management This statement by the former Health Officer of the State of Rio of this population. This affects both the conduction of public 1 Grande do Sul is representative of the ways in which the rela- policies and the ways through which the juveniles are sup- tionship between youth and drug use has been presented as a posed to see and relate with themselves and the others. The research has been based on the analysis of lawsuits involving juveniles who were consigned to psychiatric insti- 1 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil tutions for drug addiction treatment as a protection measure Corresponding Author: in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. Through the Carolina dos Reis, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Capão analysis of documents, we have attempted to identify the da Canoa, 20/201, Bairro Ipanema, Porto Alegre, RS, Cep relationships established between fields of knowledge and 91760-170, Brasil. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org mechanisms of power that contribute to the maintenance of Creative Commons CC-BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open new problem to be faced by different social actors. Ten years violent” identity. This is how young drug users have been ago, crack was hardly found and sold in the State, and the characterized as a big social problem, and these are the strat- population was significantly smaller; however, the even rarer egies designed to solve it. As we stated before, although vio- mental health services intended to assist children and adoles- lence and youth drug use are nothing new, this problem now cents were already overcrowded with users of lolo and other emerges as a novelty. Therefore, innovation is not in this narcotics. Hence, neither the existence of a large number of issue itself, but rather in the relationships established with it. drug users in the State, which has undoubtedly become even We emphasize that, even though the meanings attributed to larger, nor the need for health services to assist such popula- “drug addicted youth” are historically marked, some fields of tion can be seen as something new. Therefore, it is strange that knowledge that have corroborated the construction of such youth drug use has emerged as a huge problem affecting soci- meanings try to delete historicity by attributing an essential- ety today and demanding action from the State government as ist character to their statements as discoveries of a nature that well as answers from some fields of knowledge. has been the basis of a social and individual problem rather Silva, Hartmann, Scisleski, and Pires (2008), aiming to than a discourse that constructs the drug user subject (Reis, evidence changes in what has been defined as pathology in Guareschi, & Carvalho, 2014). children and adolescents, analyzed records of São Pedro Psychiatric Hospital patients from its foundation in 1884 to Method 1937. They also performed a comparative analysis address- ing the present situation and concluded that drug addiction is Research Context now the main symptom found in hospitalization records, and poverty and referral by the Judiciary are prevailing charac- To discuss such issues, we considered a research that ana- teristics of the hospitalization processes. Poverty and this lyzed lawsuits filed in different cities in Rio Grande do Sul judicial policing device have remained constant over the against juveniles who were consigned to psychiatric institu- years and are still found in the hospitalization procedure, tions for drug addiction treatment as a protection measure. thus evidencing that the relation between juridical and psy- chiatric knowledges about childhood and youth has a long Instruments tradition. Hospitalization has appeared as a mechanism to guarantee the public order and ensure the organization and Fourteen lawsuits involving 12- to 18-year-old female and hygienization of poverty: There are records of children and male subjects were analyzed from March to July 2011 in two adolescents hospitalized because of something known as big cities in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, which have special- “behavior disorders,” rather than for mental health. ized courts focused on the protection of children and adoles- It is not by chance, then, that the emergence of this new cents’ rights; hence, cases addressing this specific issue problem is associated with the spread of the image of “drug would be more easily found. The cities were chosen due to addicted youth” linked to violence caused by lack of emo- the fact that they have special courts for lawsuits related to tional control, drug abuse, or the need to obtain money or the protection of children and adolescents’ rights, which other things that may be used to buy more narcotics. facilitated the search for court cases that address this specific Furthermore, this young population, marked by drug addic- issue. The criterion used to establish the amount of lawsuits tion, has been described as socially vulnerable and character- to be analyzed was data saturation (Bauer, 2002). This crite- ized as either victims or protagonists of such social problem. rion emerged during the analysis of the lawsuits and has been In addition, drug-related criminality became one of the most regarded as an important analyzer on its own merit. Through discussed topics on the last decade, comprehending both pre- the documents—written by professionals from health, social ventive and repressive actions, as well as costs and benefits care, and education services—that compose the lawsuits, the implied in social protection. lives of those young drug users have been translated into a Freitas (2009) has pointed out that increased juvenile vio- technical language, which is characterized by writing stan- lence and drug use often make us seek for their foundational dardization and repeated use of some explanatory models. cause. The effect of this is that experts and productions by Moreover, certain selectivity marks the episodes of the fields of knowledge such as psychology, psychiatry, psy- youths’ lives in the documents, which both highlight actions chopedagogy, social service, and law, among others, by pro- regarded as drawbacks in their behavior and justify the need viding explanations, contribute to the very construction of the for other hospitalizations. As the cases under review were problem they attempt to elucidate. This perspective of knowl- not bringing any new data to the research process, this situa- edge production is based on the belief that there is a nature to tion was taken as data saturation. be cured and recovered in those young individuals. In an attempt to rehabilitate the subject regarded as devi- Procedures ant, psychology and law have ended up contributing to the construction of a way of being a drug user subject who is The analysis was conducted by the authors as part of a mas- marked by an alleged “drug addicted/dependent/vicious/ ter’s research in social and institutional psychology. The dos Reis and Guareschi 3 lawsuits were consulted at Youth Courts in both cities. We juveniles?” and “What kinds of practices do they mobilize selected lawsuits involving juveniles in the age group previ- around such population?” ously mentioned who had compulsory hospitalization deter- mined and no formal record of misdemeanor. We attempted Presentation and Analysis of Results to focus on practices used in the name of care. Therefore, we tried to distantiate from those directly linked to punitive The presentation of research findings includes a detailed practices of the social-educational system. The documents description of the lawsuit structure and its contents, as well were randomly selected from lawsuits with the described as excerpts of the lawsuits. We understand that the very characteristics that were available in the Courts during the structure of the lawsuit produces a certain way of talking period under consideration. about those youths and their families that highlights their dif- The documents were examined and manually copied at ficulties and problems and exclude the healthy and positive the Courts, as neither the removal nor the reproduction of the relations they have established along their lives. materials was authorized. The excerpts from lawsuits pre- sented in this study were modified to avoid their identifica- The Admission tion, preserve the subjects and their family’s anonymity, and respect judicial secrecy. Likewise, the professionals’ identity, The lawsuits under consideration, in general, are filed by and specificities of both the institutions involved and the cit- either the Department of Public Defense or the Public ies in which the materials were collected have also been pro- Prosecutor’s Office—Childhood and Youth Division. In the tected. This research was approved by the Research Ethics first case, the adolescent’s family voluntarily requests assis- Committee. tance from the justice system along the hospitalization pro- cess. The family regards this as necessary when the adolescent refuses treatment or there is shortage of beds in mental hos- Analysis of Materials pitals and the family cannot find an adequate place for treat- The analysis was conducted from a Foucauldian perspective, ment in the city health network. inspired by the analysis of discourse and the emergence of The admission to hospital occurs through the Department knowledge in its articulation with power mechanisms and of Public Defense if the family is unable to afford the cost of technologies. We tried to identify relationships between a lawyer; in this case, the family has to prove its eligibility by fields of knowledge and mechanisms of power that affect the presenting a determination of indigence or an unemployment maintenance of certain truths about the so-called “drug certification. The Public Prosecutor’s Office, in turn, as the addicted youth” that have supported the legitimization and agency in charge of protecting children and adolescents, can updating of the compulsory hospitalization strategy. also request public defense services. In general, the Child Particularly, we attempted to highlight the articulations Protection Council or other services belonging to the health established between the fields of health and justice that have and social assistance network refer cases of violation of provided the compulsory hospitalization practice with both rights to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Besides that, foundation and acceptability. although the lawsuit is filed by the Department of Public To do that, we analyzed all the documents that compose Defense, the intervention by the Public Prosecutor’s Office is the lawsuits by considering the following questions: how and also required to ensure the lawsuit validity. Thus, the pro- when did the drug use by adolescents start to be described as cesses are initiated by the statement of financial failure of the a social problem? Which professionals, fields of knowledge, family and their admitted inability to take care of the and institutions have been called to speak about, guide, and adolescent. solve the drug use problem? Which strategies, procedures, and techniques have been created to solve the so-called prob- The Lawsuits lem? How is it related to Brazilian political, economic, and cultural issues? Pleadings By looking more carefully at the contents of the lawsuits and the documents that compose them, we noticed the exis- A lawsuit consists of different procedures and stages. First, tence of a strategic relationship among the juridical, psychi- the Department of Public Defense or the Public Prosecutor’s atric, and pedagogical fields which contributes to the Office writes a document, which is composed of three parts formation of a “protection network” around different aspects comprehending of juveniles’ lives. In this sense, by examining the docu- ments, we sought to problematize this provision of protec- a. Description of the basic facts of the case: it is the tion and care by considering the contradictions that pervade construction of the case, or maybe a characterization the maintenance of discourses about protection in the of the situations presented as a case. It is a summary research materials. This led us to ask additional questions of certain points of the narrative of the adolescent’s such as “What do these lawsuits make us say about those and his or her family’s lives in what makes them the 4 SAGE Open object of Justice and State action. Reports of viola- custody of the baby of a young drug user—signed by a psychologist, a social worker, and the coordinator of the service) tion of rights in the subject’s lives are highlighted. Therefore, when we wonder what those lawsuits say It has been three years since the teenagers quit school. They about the juveniles, it is possible to point out vio- have refused health care. Their mother exerts no control over her lence, neglect, abandonment, aggression, absence, children. One of them has already committed offenses against failures, abuses, and misdemeanors that would jus- property. They remain on the streets and occasionally return tify the insertion of that family in the Justice System home to eat and sleep. (Excerpt from pleadings written by the and even their insertion in multiple State protection prosecutor) institutions, which comprehend social assistance, health, and education, among others. In general, this The notion of risk is constructed not only in relation to the first part of the lawsuit contains literal excerpts taken juvenile’s life; this risk, which can still be limited to the fam- from appraisals and reports written by physicians, ily, may be potentially spread to the public sphere. psychologists, advisors, and social assistants. These excerpts, which are displaced from their original The teenagers were in the shelter due to parental neglect. Since contexts, stress how indispensable and urgent the 2007, they had been living on the street, begging and intervention of the Judiciary in that subject and fam- compulsively using crack. At home, they were attacked by ily is. their mother, who was also a drug addict. They were hospitalized and returned to the streets, and the outpatient treatment was discontinued. The institutional attempts to The juvenile is drug addicted and uses crack, which potentializes reinsert the adolescents in their family as a measure of his aggressive behavior. Besides that, he steals objects to sell protection have been unsuccessful due their addiction, which and obtain drugs. He is totally out of control, thus risking his causes them to return to the streets. The therapeutical plan has life and his relatives. The family life is unbearable. His indicated the necessity of detoxification treatment in a guardian has to stay permanently at home to prevent him from Therapeutical Community for a period of at least six months selling her belongings. According to her, the juvenile becomes and return to their grandparents’ house. Both girls have already aggressive when he does not have money to buy drugs. While undergone outpatient treatment, which has proved to be under the effect of the substance, he becomes extremely violent insufficient. (Excerpt from pleadings written by the prosecutor) and aggressive to his family, both verbally and physically. The juvenile does not accept to undergo voluntary treatment, and The second case evidences a story of family failure, and says he is not a drug user. Although he does not acknowledge his the home environment appears as an unbearable space that state of hopelessness and extreme necessity, in an extreme lack of control, his life as well as his relatives are at risk. His causes the adolescents to go to the streets and use drugs. The hospitalization is indispensable and, after detoxification, he family is shown as a driving element leading those juveniles must be referred to a drug rehabilitation centre. (Excerpt from to drug abuse. However, the family is not the focus of the pleadings written by the prosecutor) intervention; in this story, it appears as a symptom, rather than a cause. The picture shows violence, aggression, and lack of con- As Donzelot (1986) pointed out, interventions in those trol, a desperate family that does not know what to do and families have become a real fight between services and users. ask for the State assistance. There is a warning of early mis- There is always the assumption that the family is trying to demeanors, such as stealing family belongings. The word fool the professionals and they are always willing to show already often appears in the lawsuits to warn of the develop- that they are not naive. ment of harmful behaviors from a premonitory perspective. The mother spoke the truth under pressure. She must be It is noteworthy that the adolescents are subjects in development; mentally impaired due to long-term drug abuse. (Statement that is why removing them from the environment in which they taken by the social worker at the Justice System) are becomes imperative e urgent. (Excerpt from Pleadings written by the prosecutor) The adolescent gave birth to a boy. She arrived visibly altered and was aggressive, in poor hygienic conditions, without The mother was visibly under the influence of psychoactive identification documents, and refused to give information. She substances when she was admitted to hospital, and she has been arrived with another woman, who claimed that she only knew involved in prostitution and drug abuse since she was 8 years that the girl was a crack user; she was responsible for the old. She had already been hospitalized and should have gone to adolescent’s hospitalization. The woman said that the girl had a therapeutical community where her son could stay with her, medical care during pregnancy but had no proof of it. The but she fled to avoid losing her boyfriend. As a teenager, she adolescent said that the woman was her sister and would take had been using drugs and wandering on the street. She was care of the child; contradictorily, the woman said she was just referred to shelter and medical treatment for drug addiction. Her a friend. The child was born with congenital syphilis. (Report younger brother, who is under the tutelage of their oldest brother, provided by the hospital in which a young drug user gave birth has already shown behavior problems. (Report addressing the to her child—signed by the psychologist and the social worker) dos Reis and Guareschi 5 The doctor said that the boy wanted to be admitted to the necessary. The patient should stay under medical custody until Psychiatric Clinic just because it has a swimming pool. He his rehabilitation. (Excerpt from pleadings written by the suggested that the boy should go to a shelter, saying it was not a prosecutor) case for admission. (Report from the Social Assistance Service, denouncing the attitude of a doctor who refused to hospitalize an request for search and seizure to preserve the adolescent’s adolescent—signed by a psychologist, a social educator and the physical and psychological integrity and assess his mental coordinator of the Service) condition. If the need exists, hospitalization for substance abuse treatment should be immediately determined. The officer may require assistance from the juvenile’s mother or enforce the b. Presentation of rights: it points out the rights that law. (Excerpt from pleadings written by the prosecutor) have been violated and need to be guaranteed. In this part, the right to health and some excerpts from both We should highlight that the possibility of using law the Federal Constitution of Brazil and the Child and enforcement is mentioned in the presentation of requests. Adolescent Statute are presented to give legal sup- This characterizes the adolescent as a potentially dangerous port to the intervention. subject, but it is also evidence of authoritative restriction of freedom exerted on those subjects. Somehow, the adoles- Federal Constitution of Brazil—1988 cents are expected to react to the compulsory hospitalization, Art. 227. It behooves the family, the society and the State to but the meaning attributed to this reaction implies the impos- guarantee children, adolescents and youth, with total priority, sibility of objection beforehand. Such backlash just reaffirms the right to life, health, food, education, leisure, work, culture, their loss of control over drug use and non-acknowledgment dignity, freedom and family and community life, besides of the need for treatment, thus preventing them from adher- protecting them from all kinds of neglect, discrimination, ing to forms of care other than the compulsory hospitaliza- exploitation, violence, cruelty and oppression. (Brasil. tion, besides emphasizing the characterization of their Presidência da República. Casa Civil, 1988). (Excerpt from behavior as aggressive. pleadings written by the prosecutor) The production of those texts has been supported by psy experts and other social workers who together potentialize Child and Adolescent Statute—1990 the moralizing effect of knowledges and institutions. By mentioning moralization, we draw attention to the non- Art. 7 Children and adolescents have the right to protection, life neutrality of science productions and their ethical and politi- and health by means of effectuation of public social policies cal articulations with other social factors that have given that allow birth and development with health and harmony, with dignified living conditions. (Brasil. Presidência da more importance to some discourses rather than others. República, 1990). (Excerpt from pleadings written by the Ultimately, psy and social sciences provide the basis to sup- prosecutor) port views of those subjects and their families as the ones who pose risk, and the Judiciary acts in accordance with this On one hand, Article 227 of the Federal Constitution is support. Hence, it is possible to understand that juvenile hos- used to justify the right to health by means of compulsory pitalization is not performed by the Judiciary only; rather, hospitalization; on the other hand, this kind of health protec- there is a network of actors, and the more this network is tion puts other rights at risk, such as the right to freedom and articulated, the more legitimate it becomes. family and community living. This implies that, among those rights, there is a “greater good,” which is to keep biological Certifications of Veridicality health, despite the forms of discrimination, violence, cruelty, and oppression that the compulsory hospitalization may gen- Appraisals by Experts erate. If the guarantee of constitutional rights were the only Following the analysis of lawsuits, we examined a range of issue at stake, we should be discussing programs of compul- documents that seek to evidence the alleged truth about the sory housing, compulsory employment, compulsory nour- juveniles and their families’ reality. In these documents, ishment, compulsory culture, and compulsory leisure, as there is an attempt to certify the need for judicial intervention mentioned by Dartiu Xavier (2011). Health is a right, but to fulfill the requirements presented in the pleadings. There compulsory hospitalization is not; rather, it is a duty for those are reports, appraisals, evaluations, and social studies carried juveniles. out by the experts who were in contact with the families, mostly through public services. These materials have pointed c. Presentation of requests: it states the objective of the out the failure of extra-judicially provided care. The materi- lawsuit. The Judiciary is required to authorize als include the following: compulsory hospitalization by means of law enforcement, if necessary. Afterwards, referral to a drug rehabilitation centre 1. Monthly and biweekly reports of approach to the for a six-month stay, at least, with law enforcement, if homeless, 6 SAGE Open 2. Documents issued by the Child Protection Council, f. Shelter dropout (several), 3. Statements by Councils for the Defense of the Rights g. Body injury, and of Children and Adolescents, pointing out the need h. Report by Special Police Stations for Children and for hospitalization and State intervention in the ado- Adolescents due to small thefts. lescent’s family, 4. Records of meetings held in the Public Prosecutor’s There are also requests for information directed to the Office with several services of the protection Justice Court, including the following: network, 5. Testimonies by professionals from the health, social i. Body injury (offense), assistance and public security network in the Public j. Protection actions (sheltering, inclusion in programs Prosecutor’s Office, of support, treatment, and guidance), and 6. Monthly follow-up records from shelters, k. Withdraw from parental control. 7. Enrollment certification, 8. School Reports, We were faced with records of violation of rights suffered 9. School attendance notification, and committed by juveniles in their inclusion in health, jus- 10. Appraisals by psychiatric clinics, tice, public security, and social assistance network for the 11. Expert appraisals of psychiatric hospitals and clinics sake of protection, care, and safeguard of children’s and ado- lescents’ rights. On one hand, these documents do not reveal in which hospitalizations occur, new information about the clinical reasons for hospitaliza- 12. Communications of Involuntary Hospitalization in tion; on the other hand, they reinforce the image of those Psychiatric Clinics and Hospitals, adolescents as both victims and perpetrators of violent acts. 13. Medical appraisals of emergency care services point- ing out the need for hospitalization, 14. Psychiatric appraisals, Hearings 15. Psychological appraisals, We also found reports of hearings with families, juveniles, or 16. Social assessment, professionals from the health and social assistance network. 17. Psychosocial study carried out by teams from the The service network includes Councils for the Defense of the shelters and the Judiciary, Rights of Children and Adolescents; Committees to Combat 18. Inter-professional report by the team from the Child Labor; City Halls; Departments of Social Assistance Juvenile Court, and Education; Health Services, such as Centers for Children 19. Reports by Health and Social Assistance Offices, Psychosocial Attention, Psychiatric Clinics, and Hospitals; 20. Reports by Centers for Children Psychosocial Social Assistance Offices; Approach and Sheltering Services; Attention, Child Protection Councils; Special Police Stations for 21. Letters by Health and Social Assistance Officers and Children and Adolescents; Department of Investigation of Coordinators, Drug Trafficking; Tourism, Industry, and Trade Offices 22. Notifiable Diseases Information System, (which are called when storekeepers complain of disturbance 23. National Form for adoption of children of young or in situations related to child labor exploitation). drug users, The presence of the families and juveniles in the hearings 24. Letters from hospitals and clinics informing family should be highlighted, as the role they are supposed to play is abandonment, very limited. The family, as Donzelot (1986) would stress, 25. Institutional records of shelter stay due to family attends the hearings because it is required to do so, but cer- abandonment in psychiatric clinics and hospitals, and tainly not to perform any role; after all, it is supposedly because 26. Shelter statement of school dropout and return to the of the family that the juvenile is found in that situation. The streets. family authority has already been neutralized by the presence of the judge, and psy experts and other social technicians are expected to provide explanations; thus, the family is given the Police Reports and Requests for Information place of deference, supplication, confession, or waiver. We also found requests to the Public Security Office of Rio Some reports of family hearings are closed with the fol- Grande do Sul for information about the juveniles. The lowing sentence: “They are aware of what may happen.” An requests may include the following information: unwary reader might wonder what may happen. For sure, the court records are not supposed to be read by unsuspected a. Abandonment of disabled people, subjects, but rather by those who are aware of what may hap- b. Lack of child support, pen to families that do not subject themselves to legal and c. Abortion, social norms expressed in that hearing device. d. Threat, The adolescent subject to be protected, however, is treated as e. Indecent assault/Lewd act, a “defendant” or “accused” in the hearings. For the juveniles, dos Reis and Guareschi 7 the hearing provides an opportunity to test their character: They another right such as freedom. The acknowledgment of hos- should accept everything that is said about them in the way it is pitalization as an actual punitive practice and a freedom stated; otherwise, they will be seen as unable to recognize their restricting action would ironically provide those juveniles acts as wrong. Anyway, they will be objects of actions regarded with more possibilities of defense. Thus, we consider that as applicable by the protection network; in other words, they this may mean the suspension of those juveniles’ rights for will be “aware of what may happen.” the sake of their protection. Judge’s Decision Bailiff Report It is necessary to mention the judicial decision, which is sup- After the search and seizure warrant, a bailiff writes a report posedly the most anticipated moment of this whole process. informing the judge about the result of his or her action. In We can say supposedly because the lawsuits addressed in this several reports, it becomes apparent that the lawsuits are research are expected to be judicially judged as either requir- detached from the juvenile’s realities, even in terms of time. ing protective action through compulsory hospitalization for These situations show contradictions between the reports drug addiction treatment, or not. However, along the lawsuit, composing the lawsuits and the situation found by the bailiff the juveniles usually end up being admitted to and discharged when presenting the hospitalization warrant. from several psychiatric institutions for drug addiction treat- On the date of warrant presentation, the boy was in another city ment through other paths, such as involuntary hospitalization visiting his mother. (Excerpt from a bailiff report) (triggered by either the juveniles’ families or some health or social assistance service—in these cases, the juveniles are I certify that the adolescent was not on the street as it was hospitalized even against their will when they are regarded previously informed, but living with his father, attending school, as an imminent risk to their own lives or their families); the working as an apprentice at his father’s business and did not juveniles are convinced by such services or their relatives to require hospitalization. (Excerpt from a bailiff report) spontaneously go to psychiatric emergency services, and then they are referred to hospital; or, as it often occurs, they He was peacefully led to hospital. (Excerpt from a bailiff report) are taken to the psychiatric institutions by the police. Despite the hospitalization, the juveniles usually return to While I was searching for him on the streets, his brother told me drug use, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Department that the juvenile had already been taken to the hospital by law of Public Defense, or other professionals assisting them under- enforcement officers. (Excerpt from a bailiff report) stand that the lawsuit must not be closed, as other hospitaliza- tions may be required. In this sense, when the sentence is At the time of the warrant presentation at the shelter, the issued, it ends up being added to previous hospitalizations; in teenager had already been admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital. (Excerpt from a bailiff report) rare occasions when hospitalization requests are denied, this will be just one less hospitalization in a series, as this proce- It is interesting to highlight that in several lawsuits this dure may be performed through other paths. cycle of documents is often repeated, thus resulting in sev- eral Search and Seizure Warrants and, consequently, several Search and Seizure Warrant or psychiatric hospitalizations, although none of them seems to Coercive Conduction for Treatment be able to bring the lawsuits to an end. In the most severe case, the adolescent was hospitalized 15 times in a 15-month Finally, concerning the documents in common with most of period and she was kept secluded for 21 to 30 days each time. the lawsuits, there is the search and seizure warrant, with This means that she stayed in hospital for practically 1 year conduction to medical assessment and, if recommended by a and 3 months. Due to that, she missed 2 school years and did physician, further referral to psychiatric hospitalization in a not want to go back to school anymore. This is strong evi- specialized clinic or hospital. dence that drug use is not the object of intervention; rather, it is just an excuse to keep the teenagers regarded as an incon- Compulsory hospitalization is applied in cases of addiction to venience to the public order away from the streets. narcotics or intoxicants when treatment is necessary or when it is convenient to the public order. Measure of caution required while the symptoms last; medical assessment; urgent Discussion of Results coercive conduction warrant supported by law enforcement; the medical appraisal must be presented to the judge. (Excerpt The Safeguard of Good Development and taken from a search and seizure warrant written by the judge) Prevention to Violence Considering a “coercively” guaranteed right, we could The analysis of the lawsuits has enabled us to see that state think of the possibility of defense of those subjects by means interventions in those juveniles’ lives take actions considered of Habeas Corpus to ensure the compulsory condition of as aggressive, violent, or possible harbingers of acts of 8 SAGE Open delinquency as a focus of concern. At no time are clinical particularly in work places, by establishing the distribution reasons for health care taken into consideration in the docu- of rewards together with thousands of small punitive dam- ments; rather, they address problems related to housing con- ages. If credit is a central aspect of contemporary ways of ditions, economic situation, school problems, and so on. The life, the promotion of economic insecurity makes the sub- logic underlying the promotion of biopolitical strategies such jects modify their behaviors to be able to keep themselves in as compulsory hospitalization is the risk and violence pre- the labor market and have access to a better financial situa- vention. According to Lemos, Nascimento, and Scheinvar tion. “The demonization of others, the creation of folk devils (2010), the concept of risk is a reference that underpins gov- and moral panics is thus an ever-present possibility” (Young, ernmental public policies of conducts. The notion of risk, 2002, p. 279, emphasis in original) that contributes to understood as a predictable and quantitative object, allows broaden the subjection to those control strategies: to differ- the construction of statistical measurements that end up entiate themselves from subjects seen as regarded as delin- shaping risk as a preventable fact. Debates about risk associ- quent, dangerous, deviant, the others bend to the market ated with a generalized feeling of insecurity that has guided dynamics. Here, we can see political, economic, and social ways of life in the contemporary society have increased the articulations with the identification of young drug users as a demand for security mechanisms. risk population. Scientific knowledges, particularly those of medical and All those control tools—those affecting individual sub- psychological sciences, would contribute to the identifica- jects, those directed to risk groups, and those that act on the tion of risk elements. The notion of risk groups is an effect of whole population—are not exclusive; on the contrary, they that, as the identification of certain subjects in the population coexist and potentialize one another. It is necessary to con- mass has favored interventions with characteristics of social sider that crime control estimates are not limited to money control and moral slant. Therefore, such control strategies act expenditure; they also involve moral economy and political not only on individual bodies but also on population groups values. The war on drugs, for instance, would be contrary to acknowledged as risk groups. This leads to the sophistication that logic, as it is excessively costly and its effectiveness is of techniques in the field of crime control (Azambuja, Reis, disputable. However, another factor is included in the esti- Guareschi, & Hüning, 2013). mates: the construction of the image of danger around the Young (2002) has analyzed this displacement from crimi- subjects that use drugs. For Garland (2008), nality and drug use control in a distinct subject, with distinct The process of switching between these [allegedly] contradictory causality, to the construction of tools to control the whole rationalities [the one that primarily takes into consideration the population. For the author, such tools involve the production costs, and the one that does not tolerate criminality], of moving of strategic measurements and estimates that assess the fac- from one discursive register to another, is very much a political tors causing increased drug use and criminality, the priorities process. It is governed not by any criminological logic, but of governmental intervention, the different effects and mean- instead by the conflicting interests of political actors and by the ings that penalties will have to each population group, the exigencies, political calculations and short-term interests that population displacements generated by a given intervention, provide their motivations. In its detailed configuration, with all and crime rates, among others. its incoherence and contradictions, the field is thus a product of Garland (2008) has stated that today the agents that con- the decidedly aleatory history of political maneuvers and trol crime have to speak the economical language of cost/ calculations. (p. 400) benefit. According to Garland, the costs of crime are usually estimated, and so are the costs of crime prevention, law In this sense, although psychological, psychiatric, and enforcement, and prison regimes. This way of thinking has juridical sciences have emerged as knowledge carriers that effects on the criminological field regarding the very way speak in the name of youth protection, it is through this that the system views crime and criminals, by “fostering a knowledge that it is possible to precociously recognize juve- conception of social harm which is based mainly on cost, and niles as carriers of certain levels of dangerousness. If the a conception of criminal that emphasizes rational choice and State and Law Operators mobilize interventions in this popu- calculation” (p. 397), therefore, these conceptions can be lation, psychology and other social workers will provide the predicted and estimated. The managerial approach to crime risk rates on which they should act. Furthermore, it is on the focuses on prevention rather than punishment, and on risk risk factors pointed by knowledge produced by psychologi- minimization rather than on justice safeguard. cal sciences that the prevention strategies proliferating in the Young (2002) has also emphasized that the blooming of social field will operate. This occurs because the categories increasingly sophisticated technologies for actuarial popula- constructed from the risk perspective are related to subjects tion management has broadened the comprehensiveness of regarded as deviants due to their non-normative ways of liv- social control actions. Within the prevention logic, such ing, inhabiting, and using their sexuality. From this perspec- actions do not focus on risk populations; rather, they concen- tive, danger equals everything that is contrary to the norm. trate on the population as a whole. They operate as a “gentle Health, social assistance, and justice services, for example, machine” of social control spread all over the institutions, operate as risk managers, as prevention is the basis for dos Reis and Guareschi 9 triggering biopolitical strategies to govern the population. In die in the name of life. At the same time that we see invest- this sense, preventing is to pinpoint risks, and risk analysis is ments in juveniles, the final effect seems to be mostly then performed in the name of life protection (Lemos et al., directed to an effective deprotection and aggravation of liv- 2010). ing conditions, thus causing the juveniles to become involved Childhood and youth have become a priority in govern- with misdemeanors, homelessness, school dropout, and later mental policies. Investing in poor childhood means to mini- with unemployment and even death (Reis & Guareschi, mize risks. Thus, it is necessary to surveil families for them 2013). to produce healthy, politically docile children (Donzelot, 1986). Concerning the discourses that have circumscribed Conclusion the families, we can see that family life has been included in the risk order. By examining the lawsuits, it is possible to notice that repeated psychiatric hospitalizations are the primary Every child and family action regarded as deficient in relation to responses to school dropout, homelessness, and drug use. common social norms will be labeled as a risk factor by experts Both the lack of other actions by the public power and the from different fields of knowledge that act on childhood. (Lemos sequence of hospitalizations end up aggravating the juve- et al., 2010, p. 99) niles’ situation, as they drop out of the school, keep away from their families, and no longer accept to be approached by If, for the scientific knowledge, parents are the focus of social assistance workers. The admission to and discharge the problem, as families cannot conveniently undertake edu- from hospitals and clinics create an endless cycle of lawsuits. cative tasks and thus progressively condition their children For a number of juveniles, the consequences are the aggrava- to perversity, the solution provided by science is to remove tion of their life conditions and homelessness. All the law- the juveniles from their families as soon as possible. The idea suits analyzed ended when the juveniles came of age, without that childhood is a period of development legitimizes the evidencing any significant change either in the youth drug urgency of interventions and their preventive character. addiction or in their homeless situation. Some of them, after It could be stressed that this discourse about the prognosis coming of age, when they are no longer the object of lawsuits of criminality has legitimized the need for intervention by issued in the name of protection and care, become objects of the State and experts when children or adolescents are still penal actions in the name of social reinsertion. Others meet developing, as it would be at this stage that the bases of an early death due to the situations to which they were delinquency would supposedly be shaped. It would behoove exposed and still others wander aimlessly through life or the experts to diagnose the existence of a pre-delinquency develop their own different strategies to survive, despite the condition in such juveniles by means of a criterious examina- conditions they are provided by both this society and the tion (Ferla, 2009). State. Reishoffer and de Bicalho (2009) have pointed out that the presence of this “nature” in juveniles justifies the adop- Declaration of Conflicting Interests tion of extreme actions of social control and repression of The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect subjects regarded as members of a “dangerous class.” By fol- to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. lowing the biographies constructed by psy experts and other social technicians, it is possible to visualize that they are Funding organized in a way to evidence how pathological behaviors The author(s) received no financial support for the research and/or manifest themselves in those subjects and the reasons why authorship of this article. the juveniles should be repeatedly hospitalized and kept recluse as long as possible (Goffman, 1974). Notes Vera Malaguti Batista (2003), in her book Difíceis Ganhos Fáceis, stated that, although social technicians entered the 1. This statement was part of a speech given by Osmar Terra, Justice System to humanize it, their appraisals have moralis- Health Officer during the Yeda Crusius administration (2007- 2010), in a talk show called Fighting against Crack produced tic, segregating, and racist contents. For the author, techni- by the multimedia company Rede Brasil Sul de Televisão - cism disguises violence caused by the institutional South Brazil Television Network (RBS) at Barra Shopping Sul mechanism. The notions of family, work, and housing seen in Porto Alegre on June 29, 2009, as one of the actions of an through the lenses of danger would position poverty and anti-crack campaign. This action was publicized by the media social exclusion as the antithesis of family organization. company and is available at http://www.clicrbs.com.br/espe- In accordance with this logic of juvenile pathologization cial/jsp/default.jspx?uf=2&local=1&espid=158&action=notic and criminalization, we can see the early articulation of ias&id=2563380. social protection actions which aim at controlling the indi- 2. In Brazil, lolo is the popular name given to a low-cost, clan- vidual’s behavior. For the sake of life and its ascension to the destine narcotic prepared with chloroform and ether, used by highest potency, a set of mechanisms of prevention is the socially vulnerable population. Contemporarily, lolo has enlarged. However, never so many have been killed or left to been replaced by crack as the most widely used drug by this 10 SAGE Open group, which is mostly composed of homeless juveniles. Goffman, E. (1974). Manicômios, prisões e conventos [Asylums, 3. This is the largest psychiatric hospital in the state of Rio prisons and convents]. São Paulo, Brazil: Perspectiva. Grande do Sul. It still remains active. Lemos, F. C., Nascimento, M. L., & Scheinvar, E. (2010). 4. The complete list of analyzed documents is described in details Inquietações a respeito do acontecimento risco: crianças e in the results. jovens em foco [Concerns about the risk event: children and 5. The use of quotation marks does not refer to any formally youth in focus]. Revista do Ministério Público do Estado do constituted network, but to the group of actors in the fields Pará, 5(1), 91-102. of health, social assistance, education, justice, public security, Reis, C. D., & Guareschi, N. M. F. (2013). Nas teias da Rede de and others that gather around protection, care, and resocializa- Proteção [Into the web of the Protection Network]. In L. R. tion of children and adolescents. Cruz, L. Rodrigues, & N. M. Guareschi (Eds.), Interlocuções 6. The Department of Public Defense is supposed to provide free, entre a Psicologia e a Política Nacional de Assistência Social integral judicial assistance to people unable to afford a lawyer, [Dialogues between psychology and the national policy for and indigent defense is its main function. social assistance] (pp. 176-189). Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil: 7. A São Paulo city councilman in a debate about the topic EDUNISC. “Compulsory Hospitalization: A Solution or a Problem?” held Reis, C. D., Guareschi, N. M. F., & Carvalho, S. (2014). Sobre in the City Council on August 15, 2011. jovens drogaditos: as histórias de ninguém [About young drug users: The stories of no one]. Psicologia e Sociedade, 26(n. esp.), 68-78. References Reishoffer, J. C., & de Bicalho, P. P. G. (2009). Insegurança Azambuja, M. A., Reis, C. D., Guareschi, N. M. F., & Hüning, S. M. e Produção de Subjetividade no Brasil Contemporâneo (2013). Mapping out the subject of Brazilian social psychology [Insecurity and production of subjectivity in contemporary in the production of the national association of research and post- Brazil]. Fractal Revista de Psicologia, 21, 425-444. graduate studies in psychology. Psicologia e Sociedade, 25(n. Silva, R. N., Hartmann, S., Scisleski, A. C. C., & Pires, M. L. (2008). esp.), 3-12. As patologias nos modos de ser criança e adolescente análise Batista, V. M. (2003). Difíceis Ganhos Fáceis [Difficult easy gains] das internações no Hospital Psiquiátrico São Pedro entre 1884 (2th ed.). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Revan. e 1937 [The pathologies in the ways of being child and adoles- Bauer, M. (2002). Pesquisa qualitativa com texto: imagem e som cent: Analysis of the internment in Hospital Psiquiátrico São um manual pratico [Qualitative research with text: Picture and Pedro between 1884 and 1937]. Revista Psico, 39, 448-455. sound a practical manual] (P. A. Guareschi, Trans.). Petrópolis, Xavier, D. (2011, August 15). Debate Internação Compulsória: Brazil: Vozes. solução ou problema? [Debate–Compulsory Hospitalization: Brasil. Presidência da República. (1990). Lei 8.069. Estatuto Solution or problem?]. São Paulo, Brazil: Câmara de da Criança e do Adolescente. Diário Oficial da República Vereadores de São Paulo. Federativa do Brasil. Brasília, 13 julho de 1990 [Law 8.069. Young, J. (2002). A Sociedade Excludente: exclusão social, crimi- Child and Adolescent Statute. Official Gazette of the Federative nalidade e diferença na modernidade recente [The exclusive Republic of Brazil. Brasilia, July 13, 1990]. Retrieved from society: Social exclusion, crime and difference in late moder- http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/L8069.htm nity] (R. Aguiar, Trans.). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Renan. Brasil. Presidência da República. Casa Civil. (1988). Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil [Constitution of the Author Biographies Federative Republic of Brazil]. Brasília, Brazil: Senado Federal. Retrieved from http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/ Carolina dos Reis is a PhD student in social and institutional psy- Constituicao/ConstituicaoCompilado.htm chology at the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicologia Social e Donzelot, J. (1986). A Polícia das Famílias [The police of the fami- Institucional of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, lies] (2th ed.). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Edições Graal. CAPES/FAPERGS fellowship, member of the Center for Studies Ferla, L. (2009). Feios sujos e malvados sob medida: a utopia on Contemporary Policies and Technologies of Subjectivation. She médica do biodeterminismo [Ugly, dirty and evil under measure: is also a PhD student in political science at the Centre d’Étude de la Medical utopia of biodeterminism]. São Paulo, Brazil: Alameda. Vie Politique (CEVIPOL) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles Freitas, A. S. (2009). O (des)governo da razão: biopolítica e (ULB), and a member of the Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire resistência nas políticas públicas de juventude [The (dis) sur le Brésil (GRIB). government of the reason: Biopolitics and resistance in youth Neuza Maria de Fátima Guareschi (PhD, University of policies]. Trabalho Publicado por Completo nos Anais do XIV Wisconsin) is professor in the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Congresso Brasileiro de Sociologia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Psicologia Social e Institucional of the Universidade Federal do Rio Garland, D. (2008). A Cultura do Controle: crime e ordem social Grande do Sul, Brazil, and coordinator of the Centre for Studies on na sociedade contemporânea [The control culture: Crime and Contemporary Policies and Technologies of Subjectivation social order in contemporary society] (A. Nascimento, Trans.). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Renan. — Epolitcs.
SAGE Open – SAGE
Published: Apr 7, 2016
Keywords: juvenile delinquency; drug use; psychiatric compulsory hospitalization; public security; risk
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