The Dam for the reservoir.

The Segregation of Imprisoned Defectives

Reformatory managers argued that separate quarters should be provided for defectives, whose growing numbers threatened to overwhelm the reformatory program. Joining them were the superintendents of the state schools, who claimed that criminally inclined defectives represented a danger to the quiet and tractable feeble-minded for whom the state school program was geared.n over both male reformatories.

The growing momentum of the feeblemindedness scare in NY led to the creation of a Commission to Investigate Provision for the Mentally Deficient. The Commission's 1915 report recommended "separate institutions of a custodial nature... one for the care of each sex, for the safe keeping of the mentally defective delinquent class."

NY's first law providing for the incarceration of mental defectives in penal institutions applied to women. Passed in 1919, it provided that women found mentally deficient and charged with or convicted of a crime would receive indefinite life sentences, to be served in a specially designated section of the Bedford Hills Reformatory for Women.

The next year, in 1920, the law, largely drafted by Dr. Thayer, was expanded to include males. It designated the institution at Napanoch "for the care, training and treatment of mental defectives over sixteen years of age charged with, arraigned for or convicted of criminal offenses." The new Institution for Defective Delinquents (IDD) was to be administered by the State Commission for Mental Defectives.

Home Page
To Correction
Starter Page
Home Page