Dr. Christine Montross
Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration
The Book Stall presents Christine Montross, MD in an online Crowdcast event, discussing her new book, Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration. Several years ago, Dr. Montross set out to investigate why so many of her patients got caught up in the legal system when discharged from her care–and what happened to them after. Waiting for an Echo is a riveting, rarely seen glimpse into American incarceration. It is also a damning account of policies that have criminalized mental illness, shifting large numbers of people who belong in therapeutic settings into punitive ones. This event is free but registration. Please support our independent bookstore and our free programming by purchasing Waiting for an Echo from The Book Stall.
About the book: The stark world of American prisons is shocking for all who enter it. But Dr. Christine Montross’s expertise–the mind in crisis–allowed her to reckon with the human stories behind the bars. A father attempting to weigh the impossible calculus of a plea bargain. A bright young woman whose life is derailed by addiction. Boys in a juvenile detention facility who, desperate for human connection, invent a way to communicate with one another from cell to cell. Overextended doctors and correctional officers who strive to provide care and security in environments riddled with danger. In these encounters, Dr. Montross finds that while our system of correction routinely makes people with mental illness worse, just as routinely it renders mentally stable people psychiatrically unwell. The system is quite literally maddening. Our methods of incarceration take away not only freedom but also selfhood and soundness of mind. In a nation where 95 percent of all inmates are released from prison and return to our communities, this is a practice that punishes us all.
About the author: Dr. Montross, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in General Nonfiction, is an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a practicing inpatient psychiatrist. She is an award-winning poet and the author of Body of Work and Falling into the Fire.