Hospital observation of the alleged insane and mentally defective is so little made use of in this country that a restatement of its advantages, based on an experience of ten years of its operation in Massachusetts, may be helpful in extending the practice, particularly as the field of its usefulness there has become widened during this period to an extent which prevails in no other state.
The advantages of hospital observation in criminal cases over the practice of occasional examinations at the jail or prison must be plain to all. It is not an uncommon experience with psychiatrists to find evidence insufficient under these conditions. I have reported1 an instance of this in which the late Dr. Jelly and myself, after a number of examinations, were on the point of pronouncing the prisoner to be not insane and therefore responsible, when still another interview was decided on. Then for
STEDMAN HR. OPERATION OF MASSACHUSETTS' LAWS FOR HOSPITAL OBSERVATION IN CASES OF ALLEGED MENTAL DISEASE AND DEFECT. JAMA. 1915;LXV(7):618–621. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580070052014
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