upstate artist

This is the administrative extension of the original 1892 building of  Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, New York State’s first forensic asylum, in Beacon.  More asylum than prison, Matteawan’s care model was based upon the Moral Treatment principles that were the backbone of the 19th century asylum system as developed by Kirkbride, Dix, Stribling, and others.  However, the asylum was eventually emptied, and patients deemed “not guilty by reason of insanity” in the state are now treated more or less like prisoners.  And ironically, the rest of the sprawling complex in Beacon has now been transformed into a part of the medium-security Fishkill Correctional Facility.  The treatment of violent criminals and the mentally ill in America has merged in more ways than we should be comfortable with.