"What if I don't take my meds?" Amy Klassen's research has the answer

January 6, 2017 by Sherri Klassen

Congratulations to Doctoral Candidate Amy Lynn Klassen who recently published an article about the governance of non-compliant psychiatric patients under the law, and its implications for understanding capability and risk. She thanks SSHRC for funding the research that resulted in this publication. The full article is currently behind a paywall. For those with access, it is available online ahead of print from Theoretical Crimonology. Below is the citation and abstract.

Amy Lynn Klassen (2016) Spinning the Revolving Door: The Governance of Non-Compliant Psychiatric Subjects on Community Treatment Orders. Theoretical Criminology: Published Online Before Print, May 2016 DOI: 0.1177/1362480616646623

This article examines the enactment of community treatment orders (CTOs) in Alberta, Canada to illustrate how civil law is used to constitute and govern psychiatric patients in the community. I argue that the logic of CTOs constitutes the psychiatric patient as a fractured subject who is simultaneously capable/incapable of making medical decisions and at risk/risky. These paradoxical characterizations highlight how depictions of rationality and choice are contingent on consenting to a pharmacological regime designed to normalize these patients. This construction functions to eliminate opportunities for rationally informed types of non-compliance and promotes hospitalization as the only way to manage harmful, risky and non-conforming individuals. I contend that CTOs are a flawed instrument of regulation that cannot manage ‘legally’ capable but non-compliant individuals.