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April 1971

Psychiatry and the Criminal.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;24(4):388. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750100098018

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Psychiatry is the discipline within medicine which has a particular concern for the prevention and treatment of mental disease. Psychopathology refers to those mental diseases for which organic factors have not yet been discovered. This definition reflects the most widespread usage. For some, these "functional" aberrations are included with the "organic" malfunctions defined as disease. Social pathology is a more ambiguous phrase, but is generally used when societal arrangements, both formal, governmental, and informal, self-selected groups, are thought to be pathological.

What do psychopathology and social pathology have to do with each other? They are related through the catalyst of law, the ecclesiastic and feudal law of the Middle Ages and the governmental law of the centuries since.

In the historic origins as well as the contemporary manifestations, of this mingling of concepts and operations, the practitioners of medicine and the law, have both contributed. Early in our past, the

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