Submitted by: Natacha Reyes Escobar
Dr. Sonja Snacken, Vice-Rector of International Relations of the Free University of Brussels (VUB), delivered a lecture entitled "Extreme dependence on penal and health institutions”. Such lecture revolved around an interdisciplinary research programme that highlights human rights in situations of extreme dependence.
Among the topics adressed, the professor highlighted the need to take into account the dignity of patients with mental disorders and those who meet penitentiary sanctions, in current legislation.
Many issues related to the treatment of these people affect the way they are seen by society, for example, public and political discussions, religious and ideological differences and reports in mass media.
Snacken presented a comparative analysis among prison detention centers and health rehabilitation centers. Within the analogies used, she highlighted the construction of architectural structures with similar security systems, which guarantees the permanence of patients and prisoners, and leads to their loss of autonomy and stresses differences in power relations.
She also pointed out the importance of specialized medical assistance, which allows those affected patients to overcome dependency relationships, to receive help to perform daily activities, while allowing the development of psychosocial reports.
These institutions help maintain the identity of patients or prisoners through the link with the outside by allowing visits and other types of social interactions; at the same time they practice similar principles such as maintaining patient/prisoner privacy, Snacken explained.
The realization of these studies requires multidisciplinarity, since it juxtaposes specialties such as education in criminology, law, sociology, psychology, psychiatry and philosophy, as well as their integration to achieve common objectives and solid intestinal results.
Translator: Lilia Sanz Gmez