Securitization of Mental Health: An Analysis of Ellen Richardson and the ‘Indiscriminate Disclosure’ of Mental Health Records

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Martin, William




This thesis applies theoretical contributions of Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben to provide a framework for understanding the disclosure of mental health information to U.S. authorities for the purpose of traveller screening at preclearance locations. Exploring the implications of biopolitics and governmentality, I investigate the case of Ellen Richardson, a Toronto woman who was denied entry to the U.S. for having a failed suicide attempt on her Special Interest to Police record. Beginning with Foucault’s (1995) work in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, this thesis explores the depths of governmental control and regulation as they pertain to the collection and disclosure of sensitive mental health information. This thesis examines how mental health has become a ‘risk’ metric to determine a person’s inadmissibility and points to the growing reliance on police intelligence on attempted suicide to infer a history of mental illness as the source of contention.






Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Legal Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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