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April 6, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(14):972. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470140042012

A writer in a sociologic publication1 finds that one method of punishment for crime is defective in so many ways that a radical change is demanded, and suggests one so radical and revolutionary that it is strange it has so far escaped comment. Punishments are not reformatory because the mass of criminals are not reformable, and it is impossible with present means to secure the needed environment among the aggregations in our prisons. The old retributive idea of punishment is being abandoned, and while the sequestration of the criminal is still a need for the defense of society, the question what is to be done with him becomes more and more a problem. We are getting to a state in which we can not work our criminals to advantage because the trades unions forbid it, and we can not keep them in idleness and confinement because that means mental

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