This question of the punishment of the insane is one which has gone through certain stages. You will remember that in Edinburgh I read a paper in which I laid down three propositions. The first was that no insane person should be punished with the same severity as a sane person; the second was that some insane persons ought not to be punished at all; and the third was that the majority of insane persons ought to be punished for a large number of their wrong-doings. To these I added a fourth as a rider, that, as a matter of fact, punishment is already largely used in the treatment of dealing with insane persons. To this it was retorted that certain measures are taken with respect to insane persons, which, if they were taken with respect to sane persons, would be punishment, but as taken with respect to insane persons they are not punishment. In other words, we do punish the insane, but we shrink from acknowledging that we do so. Now there is one aspect of this question which I have put several times, and regarding which I have never yet been answered in any way, and I desire to put it again, and in order that there may be no mistake about it I will put it in a very concrete form. Our excellent Treasurer is entrusted not only by us with the finances of this Association, but he is also entrusted by his county with a share in the management of the county affairs, and it is within the bound of possibility that Her Majesty might entrust him with the Commission of the Peace, if he has not already been so entrusted. It may happen that at the trial of a prisoner—we will say supposing a man has thrown a pint pot through a pane of glass—he will come before our Treasurer, and he will be fined a certain sum of money, or, in the alternative, will be awarded certain imprisonment; we will say he is fined 5s. or seven days. Then our Treasurer quits the bench and goes back to his own institution, and finds there a patient who has thrown a mug through a pane of glass, and he says to that patient, “You have destroyed this pane of glass, you will have to pay for it;” or “your pocket-money will be stopped for the amount.”
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.