By Claudia Malacrida
Utilizing infrequent interviews with former inmates and staff, institutional documentation, and governmental records, Claudia Malacrida illuminates the darkish background of the remedy of “mentally faulty” young ones and adults in twentieth-century Alberta. concentrating on the Michener Centre in purple Deer, one of many final such amenities working in Canada, a different Hell is a sobering account of the relationship among institutionalization and eugenics.
Malacrida explains how keeping apart the Michener Centre’s citizens from their groups served as a sort of passive eugenics that complemented the lively eugenics application of the Alberta Eugenics Board. rather than receiving an schooling, inmates labored for very little pay – occasionally in houses and companies in pink Deer – less than the guise of vocational rehabilitation. The luck of this version led to large institutional development, persistent crowding, and negative dwelling stipulations that incorporated either regimen and amazing abuse.
Combining the robust testimony of survivors with an in depth research of the institutional impulses at paintings on the Michener Centre, a distinct Hell is vital examining for these drawn to the annoying earlier and troubling way forward for the institutional remedy of individuals with disabilities.
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Extra info for A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta's Eugenic Years
I will discuss educational experiences within the institution more fully later, but for now it is sufficient to note that sense training was rarely a springboard to occupational therapy or a higher level of vocational training for inmates, and traditional literacy and numeracy education was a rare privilege afforded to only a few inmates. In addition, calling inmates trainees obfuscated the reality that little training occurred within the institutional walls; rather, much of what was counted as education – as I will examine more fully in the chapter on work and exploitation in the institution – was little more than repetitive, unpaid labour carried out under the rubric of vocational training.
He focused on the family background of an inmate of the Vineland Training School whom he named Deborah Kallikak, a serene, attractive, and intelligent-looking young woman. This was a considered choice: through choosing such a normal-seeming subject, Goddard sought to show the hidden, seductive, and recessive qualities of feeble-mindedness (Rafter, 1997; Smith, 1985). In Goddard’s highly successful book, he was able to “prove” the lines of heritability by going back to the patriarch of the family, one Martin Kallikak who, through a liaison with a feeble-minded barmaid had produced 480 illegitimate, alcoholic, epileptic, or criminal descendants, culminating in Deborah Kallikak, an institutionalized mental defective.
Further, significant evidence shows that the Alberta eugenics cases were predominately among people who came from single- parent families, families dealing with addiction or poverty, Catholics, new immigrants, and people of Aboriginal or Metis backgrounds (Christian & Barker, 1974; Grekul, Krahn, & Odynak, 2004). In the rest of this chapter, I explore issues of ethnicity, Nativity, family construction, and socio-economic status as they relate to the personal qualities of the Michener survivors and then-extant Alberta eugenic ideals.
A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta's Eugenic Years by Claudia Malacrida