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July 10, 1954

The Psychology of the Criminal Act and Punishment.

JAMA. 1954;155(11):1019. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.03690290069035

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The author is a distinguished psychiatrist. His book, written for laymen, stresses the conflict that has so long existed between the law and psychiatry. Although psychology furnishes the basis of the work, emphasis is also placed on the integration of the court, the lawyers, the jurors, the expert witnesses, and the penologist as related to the judicial proceeding; the effect and the efficacy of punishment; and the rehabilitation of the criminal.

The author describes the McNaghten rule as the impenetrable wall behind which sits entrenched the almost unconquerable prosecutor, as the monster that prevents the psychiatrist from introducing true understanding of human psychology and the psychology of the criminal act. Since every criminal act is an act of aggression, both the lawyer and the psychiatrist must have a clear concept of human aggression if there is to be cure of the psychologically ill or just punishment or rehabilitation of the

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