Crime: Its Cause and Treatment eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about Crime.
under expert control until he gained the strength for his battle with life; or had a new environment been provided under scientific direction as in the case of a hospital patient, society would then take another view and do all it could to help him.  New comrades and associates would surround him to show him the way, and they would make his burden lighter.  Instead of this, he comes out with his ability to adjust himself to life lessened.  If a crime is committed in his community he is blamed or at least suspected.  He is known to the police and often “rounded-up.”  This directly interferes with his employment, places him at a disadvantage with his associates, and drives him into the company of others who feel that the world is against them and that a life of crime is all there is left to follow.  It is not hard to see how men come to be “repeaters.”  It is hard to understand when they do not.

XXXII

ISOLATION AND STERILIZATION

The growing belief that crime comes largely from the subnormal has created a more or less definite demand for the isolation of the moron before the commission of crime and for the sterilization of certain misfits, especially after conviction.  Both of these methods are very drastic, and while society must and will adopt any way that seems to be necessary to protect itself, still before accepting such drastic remedies it should be very clear that the danger is sufficiently great to justify the means, that the desired result will follow and that no other means will bring about the end.

In this discussion it should be remembered that the mental classification of children and grown-ups is only in its infancy, that much that is freely stated is still in the realm of theory, and that time and patience in making investigations and classifying facts are most important in arriving at correct results.

The really intelligent are as abnormal as the defective.  The great masses of men are rather mediocre, and those above and below are exceptions.  This depends on how broad is the class included in the normal.  There are no sharp divisions anywhere; above, the normal shades imperceptibly into those of unusual intelligence, and below it fades just as gradually into the sub-normal.  While defectives are more apt to commit crimes, in the main this is because their environment is too hard for their machine.

The sub-normal are probably more tractable and less disposed to the emotions that lead to criminal acts than are the more intelligent.  Their crimes are especially noticed because they seem to be without any serious motive and often shockingly brutal.  City life most readily uncovers the sub-normal.  This is true because the strain is far greater in the city than the country.  There are exceptions to this rule, particularly those portions of the country that are barren and unproductive territory into which the venturesome and obvious unfits are drawn.

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Crime: Its Cause and Treatment from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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