From surveillance to support. Some notes on dangerousness and control in psy-chiatry. The closing of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Italy emphasizes the importance of the debate on the issue of dangerousness in mental illness, and contributes to link psychiatry and control. These issues are addressed in their clinical aspects through references to some first person accounts, to various periods of the history of psychiatry, to some writings by Franco Basaglia on this subject, and to the way they are faced by the new Italian psychiatry. Though the concept of dangerousness as a stable trait is today unacceptable, it is undeniable that there are situations in which we feel that a danger looms ahead. Mental illness can be one of these situations, when a subject loses control of his acts. The link between control and care in psychi-atry still exists despite the closing of mental asylums, but it is still present not only in a new con-text, but in a transformed way. Clinical psychiatry must face this issue in order to avoid that its boundaries and contents are determined by the Court’s decisions.
Keywords: Community Psychiatry; Dangerousness; Control; Surveillance; Sustain