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OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DIRECTED BY SIGM. FREUD
EDITED BY ERNEST JONES
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
A. A. BRILL
H. W. FRINK
ISSUED QUARTERLY Subscription 30s. per Volume of Four Parts, Post Free,
the Parts not being sold separately Bound Copies of Volumes I, II and III, 37s. Post Free.
VOLUME IV, 1923
RANK, OTTO: Perversion and Neurosis.
MCWATTERS, R. C.: A modern Prometheus.
Lists of Contents of Vols. I, II & III will be sent on Application
THE INTERNATIONAL PSYCHO-ANALYTICAL PRESS
i Gower Street, London, W.C.I
DELINQUENCY AND MENTAL DEFECT (I).
By W. NORWOOD EAST.
It is proposed in this paper to deal briefly with a few points concerning criminal actions in association with mental deficiency. At the outset it should be recalled that for a considerable time past the fact has been recognised that in dealing with criminals, individual consideration is essential before any hope of success in treatment can be anticipated. This is appreciated by the judicial and prison authorities, no less than by others. From time to time one comes across passages in the writings of medical men and persons interested in sociological problems, which show that the authors still believe in the old legend that judicial authorities generally have in mind the desire and intention to inflict punishment on offenders indiscriminately, whereas in fact, punishment by means of imprisonment is usually, in modern times, the last resource of those who in a judicial capacity are responsible for the safety of the community. The writer, who has no reason to suppose his experience is uncommon, is frequently asked when in the witness-box what is, in his opinion, advisable in the best interests of a prisoner whom he cannot testify is insane or mentally defective, and for whose future the best provision is not obvious. And this question is put in the highest criminal courts as well as in courts of summary jurisdiction, and may refer also to the length of imprisonment under medical observation which seems desirable. To anyone in constant attendance in criminal courts the inclination to utilise the knowledge and experience of mental diseases acquired by the medical witness is obvious, a fact well known to many offenders, who at times enter prison with a psychological diagnosis ready to hand. Such was a case recently under observation and upon whose mental condition the court called for a report; the accused was remanded for a series of impudent and skilful frauds, and when arrested hoped to escape punishment, and deportation to his own country, because he informed me a medical man abroad had told him he was anti-social, which he was, and paranoidal which he was not.
? A contribution to the Symposium presented at the Joint Meeting of the Educational Section and the Medical Section of the British Psychological Society, April 25th, 1923.
Med. Psych. III