Response to “The Modern Asylum”

Ashley Taylor, Doctoral Candidate in Education, Syracuse University responds to Christine Montross’ Feb. 18 Op-Ed “The Modern Asylum” in the New York Times

In her Op-Ed “The Modern Asylum” Christine Montross implies that there is a necessary choice to be made between providing safety and care to individuals with intellectual, cognitive, and mental health disabilities on the one hand, and securing their autonomy on the other. In doing so, she fails to acknowledge the contingency of inadequate care and social support, factors entirely changeable through improved policy and adequate organizational funding. The problem lies with a lack of substantive commitment to and belief in community care not in the inadequacies of community care itself. It is curious that so often when people with disabilities are treated with disrespect, neglected, or abused the response of the medical community is to further their marginalization. How can we profess to have these individuals’ best interests in mind when we continue to fall back on old and devastating methods of “care?” There is no such thing as a “Modern Asylum.” It is time that we learned this.