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Article
September 14, 1929

THE RÔLE OF PSYCHIATRY IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Author Affiliations

Director, Division for the Examination of Prisoners, Massachusetts Department of Mental Diseases; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine BOSTON

JAMA. 1929;93(11):830-834. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02710110016004
Abstract

That psychiatry is steadily coming to occupy a position of importance in the administration of criminal justice is a fact which is readily susceptible of demonstration. Psychiatry, a relatively new specialty of medicine, has made rapid strides within the past decade or two in various fields of human conduct, such as the school, the factory and the home, and that branch of the law which deals with conduct considered offensive to the social group has not been an exception to this progress; for psychiatry has developed from a confinement within the walls of the mental hospital to dealing with the motivations of abnormal behavior, and to an attempt to readjust the patient's conduct on a basis that will be socially acceptable.

The criminal law formerly disregarded almost entirely the nature of the offender, meting out the "penal equivalent" of the wrong he had committed against society. Lombroso, however, by his

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