Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
COELHO, Maria Thereza Ávila Dantas. Conceptions of normality and mental health among prisoners in a correctional institution in the city of Salvador. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2009, vol.14, n.2, pp. 567-575. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232009000200025.
Although in Brazil some recent studies analyzed the concepts of normality and mental health, there are still no investigations dealing with this question among prisoners. Thus, this work aims specifically at investigating this subject in this segment of the population. The methodology used in this study was collection of data and practical analysis according to the theory of systems of signs, meanings and practices. We verified that the interviewees associated normality and mental health with the behaviors considered normal and sane in the scientific literature. The inverse occurred in relation to the concepts of abnormality and insanity. A relevant aspect of this study was the prisoner's approach to criminal violence. At the same time they considered such type of violence as characteristic of an abnormality or illness, they did not consider themselves abnormal or violent for having committed a crime. This aspect seems to point to the existence of two different perspectives: one considering criminal violence as abnormal or insane and another that admits the coexistence of a moment of criminal violence with normality and mental health.
Keywords : Health; Normality; Criminal violence; Prison.