From sanctuary to snake pit: the rise and fall of asylums

from New Scientist

Most people associate the word “asylum” with squalor and brutality – an impression strengthened by portrayals in books and films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – but they were originally designed to be places of sanctuary. Christopher Payne visited and photographed 70 such institutions across the US for his book Asylum: Inside the closed world of state mental hospitals, which documents how their fall from grace reflects changing attitudes to mental illness

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