Event Date and Time
2309 Parren J. Mitchell ASY Building

"The Pharmacy Prison"

by Dr. Anthony Ryan Hatch, Assistant Professor of Science in Society, Wesleyan University

2:30pm-3:45pm in 2309 Parren J. Mitchell ASY Building

(Reception immediately following in 1101 Parren J. Mitchell ASY Building)


It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the extent to which prisons and jails in the United States might be overprescribing psychotropic drugs for the purposes of controlling prisoners. To tackle this question, “The Pharmacy Prison" analyzes the findings of several major government performance audits of prison pharmacies to understand how prisons function as operate as major conduits for drugs, especially psychotropics, in the era of mass incarceration. Prison pharmacies are plagued by chronic management problems including poor record keeping and inventory systems, inadequate drug formularies, lack of space and well-trained personnel, and minimal oversight. This analysis positions the absence of official knowledge about the institutional practices that may govern unjust psychotropic distribution against the bureaucratic realities of prison pharmacy management practices.

About the Speaker

Anthony Ryan Hatch is a sociologist whose teaching and scholarship examine questions about science , technology, and inequality.  His specific areas of specialization are science and technology studies, medical sociology, critical social theories, and political sociology.  His new book, Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America, examines how a new biomedical concept called “metabolic syndrome” constitutes a new way for scientists to study and treat metabolic health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, a way of reproducing biological and genetic concepts of race and ethnicity, and a political strategy that obscures how institutionalized racisms shape human metabolism. 

Professor Hatch’s current project focuses on the uses and meanings of psychotropic drugs in institutionalized mental health care settings in the United States. This project, tentatively titled, “Silent Cells: Psychotropics and Instituionalized Life,” investigates how psychotropic drugs function as technologies of biosocial control in an era of mass incarceration.

His research is published in Issues in Race and Society; Criminal Justice Studies; Routledge Handbook of Science, Technology, and Society; Mattering: Feminism, Science, and Materialism; 50 Years After Deinstitutionalization: Mental Illness in Contemporary Communities.  You can also watch his 2016 Wesleyan Thinks Big talk, titled “On Serving Others: Labor and Justice in the New Gilded Age.”

Professor Hatch’s recent courses include Cultural Studies of Health, Metabolism and Technoscience, Life and Death: Relations of Biopower and Necropower, Antipsychiatry, and TechnoPrisons: Corrections, Technology, and Society.

Professor Hatch earned is AB in Philosophy at Dartmouth College and his MA and PhD in Sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park.  He spent years  working in community-based public health research at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory  University in Atlanta.


Dr. Anthony Hatch picture