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Conscience and Convenience was quickly recognized for its masterly depiction and interpretation of a major period of reform history. This history begins in a social context in which treatment and rehabilitation were emerging as predominant after America's prisons and asylums had been broadly acknowledged to be little more than embarrassing failures. The resulting progressiConscience and Convenience was quickly recognized for its masterly depiction and interpretation of a major period of reform history. This history begins in a social context in which treatment and rehabilitation were emerging as predominant after America's prisons and asylums had been broadly acknowledged to be little more than embarrassing failures. The resulting progressive agenda was evident: to develop new, more humane and effective strategies for the criminal, delinquent, and mentally ill. The results, as Rothman documents, did not turn out as reformers had planned. For adult criminal offenders, such individual treatment could be accomplished only through the provision of broad discretionary authority, whereby choices could be made between probation, parole, indeterminate sentencing, and, as a measure of last resort, incarceration in totally redesigned prisons. For delinquents, the juvenile court served as a surrogate parent and accelerated and intensified individual treatment by providing for a series of community-based individual and family services, with the newly designed, school-like reformatories being used for only the most intractable cases. For the mentally ill, psychiatrists chose between outpatient treatments, short-term intensive care, or as last resort, long-term care in mental hospitals with new cottage and family-like arrangements. Rothman shows the consequences of these reforms as unmitigated disasters. Despite benevolent intentions, the actual outcome of reform efforts was to take the earlier failures of prisons and asylums to new, more ominous heights. In this updated edition, Rothman chronicles and examines incarceration of the criminal, the deviant, and the dependent in U.S. society, with a focus on how and why these methods have persisted and expanded for over a century and a half despite longstanding evidence of their failures and abuses....

Title : Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America (Revised Edition)
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ISBN : 9780202307145
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 482 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America (Revised Edition) Reviews

  • Kathrina
    2019-03-23 13:27

    Thoroughly accessible and comprehensive historical review of paralleling Progressive (1900-1940) reforms in incarceration, juvenile delinquency and psychiatry. What was born out of an optimistic intention to do good -- parole, probation, community integration -- when translated into institutional practice caused more harm than had existed before. The final chapter examines the Norfolk "experiment," a facility for convicts shaped entirely by a medical model, transforming the concept of prison from punitive incapacitation into a medical model of rehabilitation. What Rothman makes clear is that any social control directed through coercion is entirely incompatible with reform and rehabilitation; When punitive measures are required to coerce particular behavior, a worse punitive measure must be in place to back it up. In only a matter of a decade or two, Norfolk was constructing a tier of solitary confinement cells in an environment which had once claimed that the higher the boundary wall, the more freedom and agency could be exercised inside. This is an important read for anyone interested in understanding where some of the weakest links in the American criminal justice system (and the field of mental health) were forged.