II. Criminal lunatics.—A brief note as to this class of patients will be of interest. Professor Meyer has very decided opinions as to their care and treatment. He fears that the practical outcome of advanced theories would be to change asylums into prisons—a change that would by no means possess the charm of novelty. According to some authorities the term “criminal lunatic” should be limited to such persons as were criminal before they became insane; others would include all insane persons who have committed an offence against the penal laws; some have even stretched the phrase to include all those whose mental condition would lead one to expect impulsive misdeeds, moral insanity, etc. The Academy of Medicine of Belgium gave an authoritative opinion on this subject in 1889. In answer to the inquiries of the Minister of Justice regarding criminal lunatics and criminal asylums, they resolved that these classes should be regarded as criminal, and should be relegated to a special institution— 1. Any insane person who has committed a criminal act. 2. Any criminal who has become insane after sentence. 3. Any insane person confined in an asylum who has committed or attempted a criminal act. In the special asylum, accommodation would be provided for all those insane persons presenting on examination homicidal irresistible and violent impulses, or similar evil habits.
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