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September 7, 1935

The Individual Criminal: Studies in the Psychogenetics of Crime

JAMA. 1935;105(10):823. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760360071032

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This volume is an earnest bit of work consisting of a minute analysis of five criminal cases, all from St. Elizabeths Hospital, and hence all under the cloud of mental disease. The cases are each analyzed from the standpoint of the past experiences of the offender, and to the author's interpretation of factors concerned in the case he adds a second discussion consisting largely of a differential diagnosis. The cases are not typical either of the everyday offender or of the psychotic. They are borderline cases, diagnosed with difficulty and probably with some psychoneurotic substrata, a feature much overstressed by those who know psychiatry but not criminals. Each case is interesting because much of the "interpretive" part consists of a running life story. Nevertheless, sociological documents such as the "Jack Roller" seem to be of more significance in revealing the mental mechanisms of criminals and the etiologic factors entering into

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