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Student Research Guide: Deinstitutionalization, Criminalization and homelessness of the mentally ill: Home

by Jose Silverio

Introduction to the Topic

Deinstitutionalization began in the late 1950s as information began spreading about how mistreated in state institutions(asylums leading to reform as better care for the mentally ill in state institution and a focus on quality out-patient community care, as well as placing stricter laws on involuntary commitment. My research mainly focuses on how Deinstitutionalization has led to the criminalization and homelessness of the mentally ill. My Thesis Statement is, though deinstitutionalization has ushered reform for better care in mental institutions, the incarceration and homelessness of the mentally ill can be attributed to deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. 

Some questions that helped me guide my research topic:

Is mental illness a pressing issue?

How did deinstitutionalization affect the mentally ill and schizophrenics?

How do present day mental health policies and institutions compare to past policies and institutions?


Keywords for searching the topic


  • Deinstitutionalization
  • Mental Illness
  • Homelessness
  • Prison
  • Incarceration
  • Deinstitutionalization
  • Tran institutionalization
  • Deinstitutionalization Movement
  • Transfer 
  • Discharge
  • Criminalization
  • Stigma
  • Criminalize
  • Mistreatment
  • Mentally ill
  • Jail
  • Psychological Disorders  
  • SMI (Seriously Mentally Ill)
  • Policies 
  • Laws
  • Strategies
  • Programs
  • Institutions

Best Databases/Search Engines

Start Your Research Here


"Involuntary Commitment of People with Mental Illnesses: Should states revise laws to make it easier to commit people with mental illnesses involuntarily?" Issues & Controversies, Infobase, 18 Apr. 2011,

This article was definitely a good starting point, I already knew that to involuntary commit someone was difficult to do, but this article gave me a perspective on how involuntary commitment is affecting the mentally ill and that lead me to choosing the topic of deinstitutionalization.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, January 1). Deinstitutionalization in the United States. Wikipedia.

This article while short provided the basic idea on what deinstitutionalization aimed to do, also provided JFKs intentions and also why deinstitutionalization movement stated which aligned to what I wanted to research. I allowed me to get to know what deinstitutionalization is.

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