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NCJ Number: 50366 Find in a Library
Title: PATUXENT EXPERIMENT
Journal: BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PSYCHIATRY AND THE LAW  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(1977)  Pages:SYMPOSIUM ISSUE,P 116-133
Author(s): P P LEJINS
Corporate Author: University of Pittsburgh
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CREATION OF THE PATUXENT INSTITUTION (MD.) EXPERIMENT IN INDETERMINATE SENTENCING AND CHANGES IN CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY THAT LED TO TERMINATION OF THE EXPERIMENT ARE CONSIDERED.
Abstract: THE PATUXENT EXPERIMENT WAS BEGUN IN 1955 AS AN INTENSIVE CORRECTIONAL TREATMENT PROGRAM FOR MENTALLY ABNORMAL CRIMINAL OFFENDERS. SINCE PROTECTING SOCIETY FROM THESE PERSONS WAS A MAJOR OBJECTIVE, SENTENCED PERSONS COULD BE DETAINED IN THE INSTITUTION FOR AN INDETERMINATE LENGTH OF TIME UNTIL THEY WERE CONSIDERED 'SAFE.' THE ORIGINAL EXPERIMENT WAS TERMINATED IN 1977. THE BACKGROUND FOR THE EXPERIMENT IS TRACED FROM EARLY THEORIES OF CORRECTIONS. SOCIOLOGICAL CRIMINOLOGY IN THE UNITED STATES IS DISCUSSED IN RELATION TO CULTURAL FACTORS WHICH PROVIDED A CLIMATE SUITABLE FOR ESTABLISHING THE PATUXENT INSTITUTION. THE EXPERIMENT WAS A LOGICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE BELIEF IN CONTROL OF CRIME THROUGH CAUSE REMOVAL AND OF THE MEDICAL PSYCHOANALYTICAL THEORIES OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR TREATMENT. SENTENCED PERSONS COULD BE CONFINED IN PATUXENT IF A COURT HEARING CONFIRMED THE INSTITUTION STAFF'S JUDGMENT THAT THE OFFENDER WAS A DEFECTIVE DELINQUENT. INITIAL CONFINEMENT WAS FOR 2 YEARS, AT WHICH TIME THEIR PROGRESS COULD BE REVIEWED BY AN APPROPRIATE COURT. AN INSTITUTIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW STUDIED INDIVIDUAL CASES ANNUALLY, AND AN ADVISORY BOARD HELPED DETERMINE POLICY. THE TREATMENT PROGRAM CONSISTED OF INDIVIDUAL DEPTH THERAPY, GROUP THERAPY, ADMINISTRATION OF CERTAIN DRUGS, AND USE OF A PROGRESSIVE TIER SYSTEM FOR CLASSIFYING INMATES IN REFERENCE TO PROGRESS TOWARDS RELEASE. NO THOROUGH EVALUATION OF THE TREATMENT PROGRAM WAS PERFORMED; HOWEVER, RECIDIVISM RATES FOR FORMER INMATES DIFFERED LITTLE FROM THAT OF PERSONS RELEASED FROM OTHER PRISONS. IT IS ALSO SUGGESTED THAT THE PATUXENT EXPERIMENT CONTRIBUTED NOTHING TO THE METHODOLOGY OF TREATING MENTALLY ABNORMAL DANGEROUS OFFENDERS. IT DID SERVE TO CONFINE DANGEROUS OFFENDERS, THOUGH PROBLEMS WITH PREDICTING DANGEROUSNESS ARE NOTED. IT IS ARGUED THAT THE EXPERIMENT WAS TERMINATED NOT BECAUSE OF INHERENT FAULTS, BUT DUE TO A CHANGE IN PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD CORRECTIONAL TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS. THIS INCLUDES A DISENCHANTMENT WITH THE CORRECTIONAL MODEL OR MEDICAL MODEL FOR HANDLING CRIME PROBLEMS, A DISILLUSIONMENT WITH PSYCHIATRIC MODELS, AND A DEVELOPING EMPHASIS ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS, INCLUDING CONVICTED OFFENDERS. (DAG)
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Correctional institutions (adult); Criminology; Indeterminate sentences; Maryland; Patuxent Institution; Psychology; Sociology; Theory
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50366

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