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NCJ Number: 50760 Find in a Library
Title: PATUXENT - INSIDE THE 'CLOCKWORK ORANGE' PRISON
Journal: CORRECTIONS MAGAZINE  Volume:3  Issue:4  Dated:(DECEMBER 1977)  Pages:33-41
Author(s): M S SERRILL
Corporate Author: Correctional Information Service, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Correctional Information Service, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TREATMENT PROGRAM AT THE PATUXENT INSTITUTION, MARYLAND'S MAXIMUM-SECURITY PSYCHIATRIC PRISON, AND THE CONTROVERSY THAT LED TO MAJOR CHANGES IN THE LAW GOVERNING THE INSTITUTION ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: ON JULY 1, 1977, AFTER YEARS OF CONSTANT BATTLE BETWEEN PATUXENT AND ITS CRITICS, THE ONE-DAY-TO-LIFE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE TO PATUXENT WAS ABOLISHED, THE TERM 'DEFECTIVE DELINQUENT' WAS ELIMINATED FROM THE PATUXENT LAW, AND RESIDENCE AT PATUXENT WAS MADE VOLUNTARY. PATUXENT INSTITUTION HAD BEEN AN OBJECT OF CONCERN AMONG LOCAL CIVIL LIBERTARIANS SINCE IT OPENED IN 1955, BUT IT ONLY BECAME THE FOCUS OF NATIONAL ATTENTION IN THE LATE 1960'S AND EARLY 1970'S. REFORMERS WERE CRITICAL OF THE INSTITUTION'S BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION PROGRAMS, AND ALSO CHARGED THAT INMATES WERE BEING BEATEN AND SUBJECTED TO LONG CONFINEMENT IN PUNISHMENT CELLS. THE INSTITUTION WAS INFAMOUS AMONG INMATES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AS A PLACE WHERE A MAN COULD BE LOCKED UP UNTIL HE DIED IF IT WAS DETERMINED THAT HE HAD NOT BEEN 'CURED' OF HIS CRIMINALITY. IN FACT, INMATES HELD AT PATUXENT BEYOND THEIR REGULAR PRISON TERMS SUED AGAIN AND AGAIN, BUT THE COURTS RULED THAT COMMITMENT TO PATUXENT WAS A CIVIL PROCEEDING AND THE INMATES THEREFORE WERE NOT PROTECTED BY CRIMINAL LAW. IT WAS NOT SO MUCH THE HISTORY OF PATUXENT'S OPERATION THAT HORRIFIED MANY REFORMERS; RATHER IT WAS THE IDEA THAT THERE SHOULD BE SUCH AN INSTITUTION AT ALL. THE TREATMENT PROGRAM AT PATUXENT--GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY, A GRADED-TIER SYSTEM OF PRIVILEGES, AND CONVENTIONAL ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION--HAS REMAINED THE SAME FOR 22 YEARS, AND THERE ARE NO PLANS TO CHANGE IT BECAUSE OF THE NEW LAW. ALTHOUGH THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE HAS BEEN ABOLISHED AND ADMISSION TO PATUXENT IS VOLUNTARY, IT IS STILL THE INMATE'S PERCEIVED PROGRESS IN THERAPY AND OTHER PROGRAMS--NOT THE CRIME HE HAS COMMITTED--THAT IS THE IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE DECISION TO RELEASE OR NOT TO RELEASE HIM. (PATUXENT HAS ITS OWN PAROLE BOARD AND PAROLE SUPERVISION STAFF.) PASSAGE OF THE LAW CHANGING THE RULES AT PATUXENT WAS SPURRED BY THE FINDINGS OF AN INDEPENDENT STUDY OF THE INSTITUTION, WHICH CONCLUDED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT PATUXENT WAS NOT COST EFFECTIVE. PATUXENT OFFICIALS MAINTAIN THAT ELIMINATION OF THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE WILL FORCE THE RELEASE OF DANGEROUS INMATES. BECAUSE PATUXENT INMATES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE AT ANY TIME, OFFICIALS EXPECT MANY INMATES SERVING LONG TERMS IN MARYLAND'S REGULAR PRISONS TO VOLUNTEER FOR ADMISSION TO PATUXENT. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Behavior modification; Indeterminate sentences; Maryland; Patuxent Institution; Psychiatric services; Reform; State correctional facilities; State laws
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50760

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