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Section I, Chapter VI

Table of Contents

CHAPTER VI

DELINQUENCY

Among the duties assigned to the division psychiatrist was that of cooperating with judge advocates for the purpose of establishing in every division a method of treatment of delinquents similar to that in successful operation at the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks. As a result of this, many cases of mental diseases were discovered among delinquents and the charges against them either were dropped and discharged on disability initiated, or, if the case was tried and sentence imposed, the findings of the court were approved, including discharge, and the confinement was omitted.

As in civil life, so in the Army, especially in such offenses as stealing, absence without leave, desertion, and persistent failure to obey orders, a certain proportion of offenders are mentally defective or mentally ill to such a degree that they can not reasonably be held responsible for their delinquencies. In such cases punishment is not effective; and by consigning irresponsible persons to prison for long terms, the Government is put to needless expense, the possibility of treatment is lost, and great injustice may be done individuals. For example, during the summer of 1918 the commanding officer of one of the camps in the United States was facing serious difficulties on the charges of neglect of duty about to be brought by the Inspector General of the Army. He had been frequently absent from his post, was lax in the enforcement of discipline, did not have the details of his command well in hand, organized an excessive number of entertainments, etc. Examination by a psychiatrist revealed a mild manic state, and upon the psychiatrist's report the charges were dropped and sick leave of six months was granted, at the expiration of which this officer had made a perfect recovery. Had a psychiatrist not been available, the matter would have ended quite differently, as the mental symptoms were not sufficiently pronounced to have justified the dropping of the charges, except on the recommendation of an expert. If the officer had been tried he would certainly have been convicted, which would have been a gross injustice to him, and would have postponed his recovery indefinitely.

NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DEPARTMENT, UNITED STATES DISCIPLINARY BARRACKS, FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANS.a

At the United States Disciplinary Barracks the work of the neuropsychiatric department was not confined, as it has been in some of the civil institutions where it has been used, to the detection of gross mental abnormality. On the contrary, the neuropsychiatric department was coordinated with every activity in the barracks. Each prisoner was regarded as an individual human being, and a personality survey was essential before any program was outlined for the

aBased on Report to the Surgeon General of the Army of the work of the class in disciplinary psychiatry at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kans., January and February, 1919, by Maj. Herman M. Adler, M.C., Mar. 1, 1919. On file, Historical Division, S.G.O.


132 

prisoner. At every change that was made in his treatment, whether it was the granting of privileges, transfer to other living conditions, employment, education, release, or reinstatement in the Army, the neuropsychiatric officers were first called upon to examine into the facts and to make recommendations based upon the tendencies and the requirements of the individual prisoner. Many mistakes were made in this, and as a result, no doubt, justice was not always meted out; but taken as a whole the work of these officers justified itself in view of the fact that the disciplinary barracks were able somehow to weather the storm of war and all the bad conditions suggested above.

Many features of the psychiatric and sociological department of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks combined to make it an excellent place where trained psychiatrists could be fitted for their military duties. Psychiatrists there were kept in close touch with the battalion, learned paper work, became familiar with courts-martial proceedings, and had the most favorable opportunities for studying the reactions of the psychopathic personality to the military environment. Though the facilities there were not sufficient to provide an education in psychiatry, they were unsurpassed as far as the military-legal features of psychiatry were concerned.

After a complete survey of the three Army disciplinary barracks and the conditions at some of the large camps and posts, it was decided to proceed with plans already developed in the Surgeon General's Office for training psychiatrists for the Army. That part of the training which dealt with disciplinary features was assigned to the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth.

The work of this course began on January 1 and concluded on March 1, 1919. The program for the course consisted of two main parts: First, formal instruction; second, practical work.

The formal instruction consisted of lectures given daily, except Saturdays and Sundays, which covered the entire field of psychiatry, delinquency, and crime, the causes of delinquency, manifestations of delinquency, the management of delinquents while awaiting trial in guardhouses and after sentences in the disciplinary barracks, education and training of delinquents, the restoration to duty of delinquents, parole and aftercare. Special attention was paid to the methods employed by the civil authorities as well as military authorities. Lectures were given on police work, on crime treatment in civil courts, jails, and penitentiaries, the principles of institutional management, and the various phases of expert testimony and reports. Daily clinics were held at which presentation of cases was made.

SURVEY OF PRISONERS

The practical work consisted in a survey of the prisoners. This survey had a twofold application. In the first place, it served as a means of acquainting the officers with the variety of problems presented by the prisoners and gave them training in the proper methods of examination and in the formulating of recommendations based upon the findings in the individual cases. In the second place, it procured for the Army a considerable amount of exact information in regard to the prisoners at the institution and in regard to certain


133

problems of a general nature connected with the disciplinary problem as a whole. The survey was conducted as follows:

The prisoners were brought to the examination room in groups of about 300. They were then given the group psychological examinations and their mental rating determined. This having been done, the prisoners were assigned to the psychiatric officers. At the time of each examination the psychiatric officer had before him the complete record made by the department of psychiatry and sociology, including the history, physical and mental examination, educational record, industrial record, and the entire correspondence in regard to the prisoner, as well as the records of the executive officer that contained information as to the prisoner's conduct while in the disciplinary barracks. The psychiatric officer then examined the prisoner in regard to certain traits of personality. The traits of personality used in this examination were selected with no idea of making a complete inventory of each personality, but rather for the purpose of obtaining information in regard to the salient or decisive traits as related to the behavior and to the difficulties and successes of the prisoners. An attempt was then made to classify each prisoner according to the principal personality factors that appeared to underlie his social difficulties.

The information on the cards was arranged in three groups. First, information in regard to the physical and mental make-up of the individual. Second, information in regard to environmental opportunities of each individual. Third, information in regard to the success or failure of the individual availing himself of such personal or environmental advantages as he might possess.

Of the 3,000 prisoners examined, 436 belonged to the group of conscientious objectors. On account of the special interest attaching to this group, they were kept separate in the analyses.

INTELLIGENCE RECORD

This was performed by the psychological officers according to the methods followed in the examination of the Army.

REPORT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS

GROUP EXAMINATIONS

The alpha and beta psychological group tests were given to 2,968 men. The distribution of the grades received by these men is shown below, together with some figures for the sake of comparison. The results are expressed in percentages.

 

A

B


C+

C

C-

D

D-

United States Disciplinary Barracks

5.5

9.2

16.2

24.6

20.2

15.6

8.3

Camp Lee, August white draft

3.8

6.8

12.5

22.0

21.7

17.1

16.1

Normal company

5.0

15.0

15.0

30.0

15.0

15.0

5.0


It is apparent from the above data that the prisoners were a little better than the August draft at Camp Lee and only slightly below the theoretical normal company. It is also apparent that the prisoners were about an average group as regards intelligence.


134

INDIVIDUAL EXAMINATIONS

Of the 247 men receiving D- grades in the group tests, 171 were given individual examinations. The results of these tests are as follows:

 

C


C-

D

E

Total

Stanford-Binet

2

11

29

80

122

Performance

0

1

12

36

49

         

Total

2

12

41

116

171

Per cent

1.2

7.1

24.1

64.4

---


On the basis of these figures it appears that about 5 per cent only of the men in the institution were of such low mentality that it was considered likely that they would have been rejected from the draft had they been examined at the time of their entrance into the Army.

INTELLIGENCE RATINGS IN THE VARIOUS CRIME GROUPS

For the purpose of this study the crimes for which the men were sentenced to the institution were divided into the following groups:

A. Crimes of acquisitiveness, as larcency, robbery, forgery, fraud, etc.

S. Sex crimes of all descriptions.

P. Crimes of violence, such as assault, fighting, and murder.

M. Purely military crimes, such as absence without leave, desertion, escape, sleeping on post, drunk on post, discredit to uniform, and allowing escape of prisoners.

G. Military crimes of an aggressive nature, such as disrespect to officer, mutiny, disobedience of orders, and insubordination.

D. Disloyalty, disloyal statements, disrespect to the United States.

R. Conscientious objectors of the religious type.

K. Conscientious objectors of the political type.

Q. Conscientious objectors because of being alien enemies, of having alien enemy relatives, of noncitizenship, and other like draft irregularities.

This classification was made after considerable study of the data at hand, including past reports of the institution and the personnel cards. The identification and grouping of the conscientious objectors which was used in this study was followed as a part of the personnel survey also.

The records of 2,416 men make up the data of this study. The cases were taken at random just as they came up for examination. The results obtained were considered to present a good picture of the whole group of prisoners.

As some of the men had not yet been given the individual examination at the time when this study was made they were put in the table in a D- group. It was anticipated that about a third of these men would raise their grades upon further examination, while the rest would be rated E.

In the following table all figures except those in the columns headed "Totals" express percentages.

The regular prisoners and the men in the disciplinary battalion are tabulated in separate groups.


135

 


Crime group


A


B


C+


C


C-


D

D-


E


Total

A (regular)

8.2

12.8

 

24.8

28.2

16.6

9.2

0.3

0.3

320

A (battalion)

19.0

19.0

 

33.3

19.0

9.5

.0

.0

.0

21

P (regular)

.0

9.5

 

14.3

24.0

29.0

19.2

2.3

2.4

42

P (battalion)

10.0

10.0

 

10.0

50.0

.0

20.0

.0

.0

10

S (regular)

5.8

26.4

 

11.0

42.2

11.0

5.3

.0

.0

19

S (battalion)

---  

a50.0

---

a50.0

---

---

--- ---

2

G (regular)

4.7

3.1

 

12.5

28.2

21.6

20.2

3.9

4.2

128

G (battalion)

7.4

7.4

 

18.5

33.3

14.8

11.1

.0 

7.4

27

M (regular)

4.0

8.6

 

13.5

26.3

21.6

19.7

2.8 

4.5

1,071

M (battalion)

4 .3

8 8

15.7

 

29.6

25.6

14.7

.6

.6

305

D (regular)....

12.5

18.9

 

15.7

34.8

.0

6.2

3.1

9.4

32

D (battalion)

--- --- ---  

b50.0

b50.0

---

--- ---

2

R

12.8

 

51.1

26.5

27.0

13.7

4.1

.1 

.0

218

K

39.3

13.2

 

20.2

9.5

10.7

7.1

.0

.0

84

Q

1.5

2.2

 

8.1

15.5

21.2

37.0

4.5 

10.6

135


Whole group


6.8


9.8

 


16.6


26.4


20.0


15.7


1.9


3.2


2,416


a1 case. 
b
1 case each.

In the above tabulation the following significant facts are noteworthy: (1) The men in the disciplinary battalion were in general a little above the regular prisoners in intelligence. However, this superiority was very slight and is perhaps not significant in view of the fact that the number of cases in the battalion was small. (2) The men sentenced for the acquisitive crimes (Group A) were rather decidedly above the average and above most of the other groups. (3) The conscientious objectors of the religious and political groups were high grade men very markedly above the average of the whole group. This superiority was especially noticeable in the case of the political objectors. (4) The men classed as conscientious objectors because of being alien enemies, having alien enemy relatives, etc. (Group Q), were decidedly low in intelligence. This seemed to be the one group in the institution whose troubles might have been ascribed to low mentality. (5) The men who committed aggressive crimes of a military nature, who were disobedient to orders, disrespectful to officers, etc., were somewhat below the average mentally. On the other hand, the men whose aggressiveness amounted to disloyalty were considerably better than the average group, as less than 20 per cent of them fell below C.

As a supplement to the above, a special study was made of the conscientious objectors who had continually refused to do any work. Of these, six refused to take the examination. The records made by the others are given below.

 


A

B

C+

C

C-

D

D-

E

Total

Religious

10.0

25.0

15.0

20.0

20.0

5.0

5.0

0

20

Political

59.0

5.9

11.7

.0

11.7

11.7

.0

0

17

     


     Total

32.6

16.4

13.5

10.8

16.4

8.3

2.7

0

37


 The examinations indicated to those conducting this study that the intelligence had little, if anything, to do with the fact that a man was confined in the disciplinary barracks. The distribution of intelligence was found to be about the average in the normal population, with the exception of the group of conscientious objectors belonging to the alien enemy groups, who were decidedly low in intelligence. It was obvious from this that the contentions made by many that delinquents as a class contained a large percentage of morons were


136

not true in regard to the disciplinary barracks, at least. Whatever the causes for confinement in this institution, they had to be sought for elsewhere than in the sphere of intelligence.

In order to arrive at information bearing on this, an inquiry was made into the previous career of each individual, especially in regard to his education and personality. On the basis of this study, the individual prisoners were classified so far as possible in three groups: Those who were repeatedly in difficulties with their environment (1) because of an exaggerated or excessive egocentric attitude; (2) because of an excessively unstable, emotional make-up; and (3) because of inadequacies of intellectual judgment. This classification was confined to individuals who gave repeated evidence of one or the other personality trend. It was not an attempt to classify all human personality and was, therefore, considered susceptible of failure in an application to individuals who had not had difficulties. It was hoped that a method could be worked out to such an extent as to make it applicable to wider groups.

On this basis a preliminary analysis of the examinations made showed that out of 3,028 cases, 2,088 were classified egocentric, 724 as inadequate, and 216 as emotionally unstable. While these figures were not intended to represent an accurate analysis, they were considered, broadly speaking, to be a fair index of the personality make-up of the population of this institution.

Out of the 2,968 men examined by psychological methods, 117 received a grade of E (unfit for military service).

With the methods of eliminating the mentally unfit that were used during the mobilization of the draft army, a very large proportion of the inadequate group, that might otherwise have come in, were kept out of the Army. It was obvious that even with the most rigorous attention to detail a certain number of the cases of this group under most conditions would be admitted. Some of these found their way to the disciplinary barracks. In addition to this group, there were others who were accepted during the period of voluntary enlistment who had never been examined mentally until they came to this institution.

In regard to the next group, that of the individuals whose difficulties could possibly be traced to a marked emotional instability, violent passion, uncontrollable anger, and similar manifestations, it is a characteristic of this type of individual that while he may be a serious menace, he has qualities which often, in fact as a rule, appeal to the sympathies of his associates. These individuals are likely to recover from their emotional upset very rapidly and are usually in a repentant mood and ready to make personal amends. The result is that, in general, all about them, from their fellow soldiers to the commanding officers, are inclined to be lenient with them and to take advantage of every circumstance that will enable them to pass over the episode as lightly as possible. Such individuals occur in every organization and often cause difficulties, but they rarely get beyond the guardhouse and only in extreme cases find their way to the disciplinary barracks.

The very large group of egocentric personalities, on the other hand, represents a type of individuals who not only get into difficulties because of their insubordination and inclination to have their own way regardless of any


137

other circumstances save those affecting their own desires, but they manage almost invariably, as a result of their arrogant, contemptuous, and often insolent bearing, to arouse the dislike or indignation of those with whom they are associated. These individuals always complain of injustice and not infrequently, because of other circumstances as mentioned, with some grounds. These are the individuals who represent the most difficult problem in personality to any organization and especially to an organization such as the Military Establishment, in which the factor of personal subordination to authority is so important. The analysis of this factor was not complete, but even on the basis of the above figures, it was obvious that this was the major problem in delinquency represented by the group of prisoners at Fort Leavenworth.

It was noted, in this connection, that the proportion of egocentrics to the other types was especially large in the conscientious objector group. As these examinations were made by 15 different examiners and in some cases were repeated by different examiners who almost invariably agreed in the diagnosis, these figures appeared to have significance. The proportion in the nonconscientious objector group was, egocentric, 1,657; inadequate, 666; and emotionally unstable, 211. In the conscientious objector group the proportion was, egocentric group, 431; inadequate, 58; emotionally unstable, 5. In other words, the egocentric group among the nonconscientious objectors was about twice as large as both the other groups. Among the conscientious objectors it was approximately seven times as large as both the other groups. It was noted, however, in this connection, that there were difficulties in the application of this classification to all individual cases. This was considered especially true of the conscientious objector group, where numbers of individuals might have had no record of previous difficulties of any serious sort before the one that brought them to the disciplinary barracks. However, the figures in regard to previous offenses were suggestive. Out of a group of 577 sentenced to the disciplinary barracks for disobedience of orders, 433 were conscientious objectors; 134 non-conscientious objectors and 235 conscientious objectors were sentenced here for their first military offense; 119 nonconscientious objectors and 26 conscientious objectors had committed previous military offenses and 138 nonconscientious objectors and 72 conscientious objectors had committed previous civil offenses. These previous offenses were distributed as follows: Violence, 96 nonconscientious objectors, 66 conscientious objectors; fraud, 3 nonconscientious objectors, 6 conscientious objectors; larceny, 27 nonconscientious objectors, 11 conscientious objectors; truancy, absent without leave, etc., 88 nonconscientious objectors, 12 conscientious objectors; absent without leave and desertion group, 1,346 nonconscientious objectors and 61 conscientious objectors.

Eleven of these conscientious objectors had committed previous civil delinquencies. Regarding the nature of the previous offenses, the records of the conscientious objectors showed 11 acts of violence, such as assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

In regard to the definite mental diseases or psychopathic conditions in this group of 3,028 cases, 9 of the psychoses were examined, 4 of the psychoneuroses, 2 of the drug addictions, and 14 of the constitutional psychopathic states.


138

The work of the department of psychiatry and sociology resulted in the elimination from the institution of most of the cases falling in the psychopathic category.

The conscientious objector problem was, in the main, one of individualism and marked or excessive egocentric personality and, therefore, differed only in the distribution of the other types from that of the problem of all the other prisoners. Whether treatment by custodial methods at the disciplinary barracks was indicated, or not, depended largely upon the determination in each individual case as to whether the egocentric attitude was a deep-seated, fast personality characteristic, or whether it was merely a somewhat excessive manifestation of this trait under exceptional circumstances. The latter seemed to be the case in a certain group of individuals, and the solution of the problem therefore, so far as these were concerned, lay in their consideration as a social or political problem, rather than a disciplinary problem. In the great majority of the individuals in this institution, however, who were there because of their excessive egocentric characteristics, it appeared that this reaction was due to a fixed characteristic, not susceptible of change to any marked degree, and requiring long and patient training to effect any adjustment to environmental conditions. With these facts in mind, it was considered to be extremely important to avoid any appearance of individual discrimination, to refrain from any act in the management of these cases preceding trial, during trial, or after sentence and commitment, that would carry any appearance of justice to the invariable class of unfair treatment. It was believed that the only methods that could succeed in this class of cases and could form the foundation of an adequate disciplinary system were the methods that were developed in the institutional treatment of the extreme forms of egocentric personality exhibited by the paranoiac and paranoid psychoses. The principle was that whatever was done was done for the benefit and the relief of the individual suffering from the disorder, whether consciously or not. Retributive punitive treatment had been tried and discarded in this group. It failed for the same reasons in this other group of noninsane and nondefective delinquents of the egocentric personality. The basis of the treatment at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth was always "a square deal" formula. It was difficult in this institution to maintain the appearance of this at all times. It was almost impossible when the institution was overcrowded with men suffering from classification at the hands of courts-martial, officers, and others who had to work under the difficulties of life in camp or in the field.

In regard to the two other groups, the problem was a much simpler one. Emotionally unstable individuals, on account of their general tendencies to arouse sympathy, had little difficulty if, by chance, they came to this institution. In the case of inadequate individuals, the problem of intensive training, or the education of such faculties as they had, was the chief consideration. Facilities of this institution were adequate in principle and arrangement, though somewhat overtaxed by the large population at the time this study was made.

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