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On Recent Proposals Regarding Habitual Drunkards and other Offenders

  • A. Wood Renton (a1) and D. Yellowlees

Mr. Wood Renton.

Viewed from the Legal Standpoint.

Within the last two years no less than three Parliamentary Reports, dealing with the problems presented by the familiar phenomena of inebriety and recidivism, have been published,∗ and a measure † designed, and, to a large extent, calculated to carry the main recommendations embodied in these documents into effect, has been read a second time in the House of Lords, under the pilotage of the then head of English legal administration. These facts show that public opinion has at length been thoroughly aroused as to the necessity for fresh legislation on the subject of habitual drunkenness and crime, and render any preliminary historical sketch of the growth of the movement, which is apparently at last on the eve of attaining its objects, superfluous. If there is any member of the medical or legal profession who is still in ignorance of the process by which the problems in question have been brought to the stage of perfect ripeness for legislative solution, he may be referred with confidence to an admirable summary of the Parliamentary history of legislation affecting inebriates by Mr. Legge, the Secretary to the Inebriates Committee, 1891, which forms the 6th appendix to the minutes of evidence taken by that body, and is reproduced, with some additions and alterations, as Appendix M in the evidence taken by the Scottish Committee of 1894, and to the three Parliamentary Reports which have suggested the present review (see note, sup.).

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Cf. “Report of Departmental Committee on Habitual Offenders, Inebriates, etc., (Scotland),” 1895, c. 7,753. “Minutes of Evidence,” 1895, v. 7,753–1. “Report of Inebriates (Departmental) Committee,” 1893, c. 7,008. “Minutes of Evidence,” 1893, c. 7,008–1. “Prisons (Departmental) Committee,” 1893, c. 7,702.

Lord Herschell's Inebriates Bill, 1895, P.P. 122.

Cf. Rule 5 of the “Model Rules of 1888.” If any patient admitted into or detained in the retreat shall be found to be, or shall while in the retreat become insane, the licensee shall immediately give notice thereof by registered letter to the inspector, to the person by whom the last payment for such patient was made, and to one at least of the persons who signed the statutory declaration under section 10 of the Habitual Drunkards Act, 1879, and also to the relieving officer of the union or parish in which the retreat is situated, to the intent that the patient so being or becoming insane may forthwith be placed under proper care and control as a lunatic.

Committee of 1891. Evid. 1893. C. 7008–1. Ans. 894.

The Committee look for the necessary money to—(1.) The labour of the settlers, put at about £14,000 a year, assisted by an annuity of £10,000 from the Imperial Exchequer; (2.) A Labour Settlement Fund arising out of fines now paid by prisoners after their admission to prison, and those lost for want of prosecution; and (3.) If necessary a levy for the deficit on fines and pledges received by local authorities in Scotland.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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On Recent Proposals Regarding Habitual Drunkards and other Offenders

  • A. Wood Renton (a1) and D. Yellowlees
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