Library Collections: Document: Full Text


Creator: E.R. Johnstone (author)
Date: December 1902
Publication: Journal of Psycho-Asthenics
Source: Available at selected libraries

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Dr. Polglase: I do not know that I have ever had such a case. I should not force him to do it at once.


Mr. Johnstone: Hasn't it a had effect on the boys who do that work regularly to have their employment looked upon as a punishment? Why should not they say, 'Why must I do this every day when I am good, if it is a punishment for a had boy?"


Dr. Polglase: It would have a bad effect unless you made an explanation.


Mr. Johnson: We say to a boy that he has proved by his conduct that he is not in the right place for him; that he belongs in division "Six" and so in he goes. If I want to be very forcible I have his clothes marked "6."


Dr. Fernald: Is not that the best way, simply to transfer them to a low grade department without any words? Let them draw their own inference. That takes the bravado out quicker than anything else. In regard to punishing feeble-minded boys I never could see why we had any moral right to administer punishment to a feeble-minded boy more than to an insane person. In no country in the world would corporal punishment be tolerated for the insane. Presumably the mistakes of the feeble-minded are due to mental irresponsibility and is it not unfair to punish them for that? It is a short cut, there is no question about that, but I never have been able to see the difference between them and the insane in that respect.


Dr. Wilmarth: If punishment is to improve the child why should you not punish him as you would your own children?


Dr. Fernald: That would apply to adults.


Dr. Wilmarth: It is to strengthen the child's will. When it is done in a kindly spirit, a just spirit, a spirit of love toward the child and solely for its good and the child so recognizes it then it strikes me that punishment is justifiable.


Dr. Rogers: There is all the difference in the world between the adult and the adolescent. Penologists have agreed that with very rare exceptions it never pays to whip an adult, while it might be beneficial to whip a child. When we speak of an insane person we refer to an adult.


Dr. Fernald: Nothing hurts an institution more than to whip an inmate.


Dr. Keating: The errors committed by the insane are from delusions. I do not think the infraction of rules by boys is from delusion; it is usually from cussedness. Why should you not punish a boy who knows that he is doing wrong? In the case of the boy I whipped it hurt me more than the boy and I think that impressed him. I did it only as a last resort.


Dr. Simcoe: My observation has been that there is as much whipping in insane asylums as in feeble-minded institutions. The employes do it. I have had four years' experience in a State asylum for the insane and I dare say that there is more punishment going on in insane asylums that the superintendent knows nothing about than ever was in a feeble-minded institution.


Mr. Johnstone: You may not know how much is going on in the institution of which you are superintendent.


Dr. Simcoe: I am a firm believer in not letting institutions get too big, for a superintendent cannot know what is going on in a big institution. I was raised in an insane asylum town and I knew what was going on when I was growing up.


Dr. Rogers: After all I think we agree on the essential points. An irresponsible person, be it child or adults should certainly never be whipped. It is only in those rare cases in our work where we recognize responsibility, and then only as a last resort, that it should ever be employed. In the case I mentioned there had been months of patient effort, and a variety of minor methods of discipline employed without avail before the dose was administered.

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