The past year has not been notable for any special events in American psychiatry, though the usual amount of activity has existed. There has been no retrogression, and signs of a better future ahead as regards political control of charitable institutions have appeared in quarters where they are most welcome. In Illinois, for example, where for ten years past politicians have controlled the institutions, recent events have made reform in this regard a political issue, and both parties are, so to speak, tumbling over each other in their zeal to utilise it to their own advantage. The scandal that excited this was not abuse of patients or bad financial management, for neither of these has been proven, but the assessment of employés for political purposes, which has at last aroused the public conscience. The outcome can hardly fail to be good, and we may hope at least for a better state of affairs than existed even before the politicians took control. It is a slow work educating the public as to the political neutrality of hospitals for the insane, but it is being done, and the prospect is that they will before very long be as free from the abuses of partisan politics in Illinois as in any of the older states of the Union. I have spoken of this matter in previous letters, but it is right that I mention it again, for it is the chief fault of our public institutions, and the one that is more than everything else responsible for their failings.
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