In Italy, as in most other countries where such institutions exist, the admissions to criminal lunatic asylums have increased enormously in recent years. Thus, in spite of the opening of two new asylums of the same class, the original criminal asylum of Aversa, which in 1876 contained nineteen patients, in 1898 contained 209. This increase Penta ascribes, in part, to a real increase in lunacy, but much more to wider knowledge of the nature of insanity, and more particularly of the close connection between mental disease and crime. In face of this condition of things, the future of the criminal lunatic asylum becomes an urgent problem. Penta's opinion is that a multiplication of these institutions is undesirable. He thinks that they should be reserved for incorrigible degenerates who, with or without co-existing insanity of thought, are insanely criminal in conduct. Curable or less dangerous cases he would send to ordinary asylums, or would treat them in special annexes to prisons. The creation of such annexes, after the model of the section for insane criminals in the Moabit Prison at Berlin, he regards as the most effectual way of dealing with the problem.
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