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Screw, a guard's view of Bridgewater…

Screw, a guard's view of Bridgewater State Hospital

by Tom Ryan

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Tom Ryan's Screw is a report on the time he spent as a guard at Bridgewater State Hospital, an institution that was supposed to be a place where those with mental illness to be housed and receive treatment. Rather than receive the care that the courts or their doctors recommended, however, Ryan asserts that the patients were abused. Screw is an interesting exploration of the institutional culture of a mental hospital in the 1970s.

Full review: http://libwen.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/screw-a-guards-view-of-bridgewater-state-... ( )
  juliayoung | Dec 31, 2010 |
I checked this out from my college library for a research project. They had to bring it over from the depository, which sent a quiver through my nerdy spine.

This book is brutal, very easy to read, interesting and compelling and without question shocking and violent. It was written by a man who worked as guard at the Bridgewater Hospital as he studied psychology at a near by university. Bridgewater, if you weren't aware, is a prison for the criminals judged mentally deficient. The inmates ranged from normal folks, that had been convinced by their lawyers that hospitals were better than prisons, all the way to schizophrenic and extremely retarded men.

But this isn't a hospital that is equipped or inclined to improve the health of it's patients. The story in this book, reconstructed from Ryans journals, reads like the Stanford Prison experiment on crack cocaine. The guards take frequent and unprovoked pleasure in tormenting their charges mentally and physically. They drive the most mentally unstable to grotesque acts of masochism and work hard to drive the few sane prisoners to insanity.

The name "Screw" is taken from prison slang. Among inmates, guards are known as "Screws" because that is what they do to the inmates. This is a painful demonstration of the extremes of prisoner/guard roles. Not for the faint of heart but truly edifying. ( )
1 vote fundevogel | Jun 22, 2009 |
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