Apart from its intrinsic value as a notable contribution to a subject of very great scientific importance, Dr. Goring's essay is of much interest as an example of the immense possibilities of the prison population as a field for biological and bio-social research. The material which forms the basis of the paper has been drawn from the data accumulated in the extensive anthropological survey of the convict population, which has been in progress for some years past under the direction of the Prison Commissioners. It consists of a series, collected by the author, of 723 family histories of convicts, concerning which definite information was given in each case as to the occurrence or non-occurrence, in parents and children, of pulmonary tuberculosis, and of a series, similarly collected, of 1,433 histories in which corresponding information was given with regard to insanity. The author claims that this material may be regarded as a random sample of the general population as far as the diseases under consideration are concerned, and that it therefore supplies the direct evidence needed to control the conclusions of Pearson and Heron, which were partly based on assumptions as to the prevalence of these diseases in the general population.
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