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The medical reports of physicians connected with jails, prisons, asylums and alms houses, are generally confined to a few statistics and dispensary-like reports, that have little intrinsic value to science. To-day the prison physician finds a new continent suddenly opening before him, of the medical study of crime and the criminal. His services as dispensary physician are insignificant compared with the possible facts and discoveries within his grasp.
The publication of the second volume of Lombroso's great work on criminals, and the papers and discussions of the Second International Congress of Criminal Anthropology at Paris last year, has suddenly given the prison physician prominence. To day he occupies the most enviable position for original work, in solving some of the great questions of mental science and sociology. Criminality has a distinct symptomology and pathology; crime has a biological factor, and the criminal has an anatomical, physilogical, and psychological nature. The
THE MEDICAL STUDY OF CRIMINALS.. JAMA. 1890;XV(19):687–688. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410450023004