At the session of the International Medico-Legal Congress at Chicago last autumn some twenty papers bearing on various aspects of criminal anthropology were brought forward. They were nearly all by Americans, and for the most part have not yet been published. It is announced that they will appear in subsequent issues of the “Medico-Legal Journal.” Dr. G. H. Hill dealt with the disposal of the criminal insane; ex-Judge H. M. Somerville with their improved condition in relation to the law; Dr. W. B. Fletcher with the establishment of houses of detention for the alleged insane prior to commitment; Dr. F. C. Hoyt dealt with sexual perversion from the medico-legal standpoint; Dr. F. E. Daniels read a paper advocating the castration of habitual criminals and sexual perverts, a proposal not accepted by subsequent speakers, who advocated hypnotic treatment or isolation; Dr. N. O. B. Wingate dealt with journalistic “suggestion” as a factor in the production of crime, arguing that those persons who sow the seeds of contagion of mental diseases should be treated in the same way as in the case of physical contagion; Mr. G. T. Davidson, a New York lawyer, read a paper on the criminal aspect of suicide, protesting against a recent law in the State of New York which has made attempted suicide a felony, punishable by fine and imprisonment, and pointing out that confinement (unless accompanied by skilful medical treatment) can only intensify the moral misery and physical disturbance of would-be suicides; Dr. E. S. Talbot dealt with race degeneracy as exhibited in abnormalities of the jaws and teeth; Dr. Harriet Alexander read a paper on anthropometric researches among prostitutes; Dr. F. Lydston on anthropometric researches in the criminal class, and also on crimes among negroes; and Dr. J. G. Kiernan read a paper on simulation and conspiracy as tests of sanity, and another on psychiatry and criminal anthropology. A general account of the proceedings is given in the “Medico-Legal Journal” for last September (only recently issued), and some of the papers are reprinted in fall.
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