Sarah Whetstone & Teresa Gowan



Carceral Rehab as Fuzzy Penality: Hybrid Technologies of Control in the New Temperance Crusade

The steep escalation of mandatory drug rehabilitation since 1989 has incorporated “strong-arm” rehab as a central node of carceral control. This article draws on ethnographies of three Midwestern male residential rehab facilities that reflect three dominant treatment paradigms, which result in different forms of confinement. In closest relationship to the local drug court, Arcadia House exacts strict disciplinary confinement and full-time cognitive behavioral therapy designed to forcefully break down the “criminal addict” and “habilitate” him into “Joe Taxpayer.” The powerful faith-based organization Victory Ministries similarly takes on the fundamental remaking of the individual, though through a longer process of spiritual education and labor discipline intended to transform addicts into hard-working evangelical Christians. Finally, the hospital facility Healing Bridges, with its classically neoliberal, biopolitical technologies of control, illustrates the many ways in which carceral versions of rehab deviate from more medicalized middle-class understandings and experiences of it.
By analyzing carceral rehab and its related technologies of control, we aim to delineate a diverse field demonstrating varied modes of the carceral.

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