Sexual Crimes, Medical Cures: The Development of a Therapeutic Approach toward Sexual Offenders in English Prisons, c. 1900-1950


Weston, J; (2014) Sexual Crimes, Medical Cures: The Development of a Therapeutic Approach toward Sexual Offenders in English Prisons, c. 1900-1950. Canadian Journal of History, 49 (3). pp. 395-422. ISSN 0008-4107 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjh.49.3.395

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Abstract

This article traces the evolution of forensic psychiatry in England over the first half of the twentieth century, and the growing interest within this new field in sexual offenders. Taking as its focus the little-studied field of prison medicine, it explores the role of prison doctors in promoting the idea that crime was often indicative of psychological illness, and that sexual offenders in particular were profitable candidates for medical examination. Definitions of the sexual offence and the mentally disordered offender were profoundly influenced by underlying beliefs about what constituted both normal sexual behaviour for men, and normal criminal behaviour for women. Research into the treatment of sexual offenders was thus not only responding to new medical theories, but also reflecting broader social and penological change. Although prison doctors and forensic medicine remained marginal, this article highlights the durable connections between particular sexual crimes and mental disorder that were forged. (English) [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Dans cet article, nous retraçons l'évolution de la psychiatrie médico-légale en Angleterre durant la première moitié du vingtième siècle et l'intérêt croissant envers les délinquants sexuels à l'intérieur de ce nouveau domaine. En nous concentrant sur le sujet peu étudié de la médecine de prison, nous examinons le rôle des médecins de prison dans la promotion de l'opinion que souvent le crime était un reflet d'une maladie psychologique et que les délinquants sexuels en particulier étaient des candidats idéaux pour cette étude médicale. Les définitions de délit sexuel et du délinquant déséquilibré étaient influencées profondément par des convictions sous-jacentes à ce que constituait un comportement sexuel normal chez les hommes et un comportement criminel normal chez les femmes. La recherche dans les soins prodigués aux délinquants sexuels révèle que ceux-ci n 'étaient pas dispensés uniquement en réponse aux nouvelles théories médicales mais reflétaient également un changement de pensée beaucoup plus élargie dans le domaine social et pénologique. Quoique les médecins de prison et la médecine légale sont en périphérie nous mettons ici l'accent sur les rapports durables qui se sont établis entre des délits sexuels particuliers et des troubles psychiques. (French) [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Canadian Journal of History is the property of University of Toronto Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Centre for History in Public Health
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4189941

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