The lunacy laws of some states—and particularly the District of Columbia—are strikingly deficient. While the makers of these laws manifestly knew little of the needs and condition of the unfortunates for whom they sought to provide, the fault must not be charged in whole to them. These legislators acted in accord with the then existing views of the people, and, we may assume, in response to the dictates of their own best judgment. But the knowledge of the people at large on this subject, and that of the legislators in particular, was vague, and the whole face of the problem was charged and surcharged with doubt and suspicion. In place of actual knowledge, there were the long existing traditions that the insane were "mad," that they could be cared for only in strong rooms under constant restraint, and that their very presence was to be shunned
FENNING FA. VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION TO TREATMENT AND CUSTODY IN HOSPITALS FOR THE INSANE. JAMA. 1912;LVIII(15):1104–1107. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04260040120005
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