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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

Print version ISSN 0104-5970On-line version ISSN 1678-4758


DINIZ, Debora  and  BRITO, Luciana. Madness and crime: Zefinha, the longest confined woman in Brazil. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos [online]. 2016, vol.23, n.1, pp.113-130. ISSN 0104-5970.

Living in a forensic hospital for the last 38 years, Josefa da Silva is the longest female inhabitant surviving the penal and psychiatric regime in Brazil. This paper analyses dossier, judicial proceedings, interviews and photographs about her. The psychiatric report is the key component of the medical and penal doubling of criminal insanity. Twelve psychiatric reports illustrate three time frames of the court files: abnormality, danger, and abandonment. The psychiatric authority over confinement has moved from discipline to security, and from disciplinary security to social assistance. In the arrangement between the penal and psychiatric powers, the judge recognizes the medical authority over the truth of insanity. It is the medicine of the reasons for Zefinha’s internment that altered over the decades.

Keywords : crime; insanity; forensic hospital; anthropology of mental illness.

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