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August 27, 1892


JAMA. 1892;XIX(9):263. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02420090025009

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The recent great advance in scientific knowledge of criminals and criminality, has given new interest to the question of capital punishment. Practically the subject has passed from the realm of morals, sentiment and law into that of science. The old time arguments pro and con, are childish when viewed from the side of modern science. The physician who is not familiar with the practical teachings of the modern views of crime has much to learn. The question of capital punishment to-day, is simply that of brain, health and soundness of the criminal. To take the life of a diseased and brain degenerate man is no punishment, and no deterrent of crime. The original object of capital punishment is defeated in such instances. The theory of revenge and retaliation in the punishment of crime, has no support in modern civilization, the question of responsibility is a medical one, beyond the theory

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