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SOCIETY AND THE SOCIOPATH
MAXWELL JONES
Am J Psychiatry 1962;119:410-414.
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Director, Education and Research, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Ore.

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Abstract

It would seem that we as psychiatrists have to clarify our thinking on the moral issues involved in sociopathy and come out strongly in favor of treatment for those cases, and I think they represent the overwhelming majority, where such an approach can help. If we take this stand then we must be prepared to carry out such a plan. Psychiatrists must believe in the efficacy of treatment and be prepared to help patients in outpatient clinics, hospitals, prisons, or special units established for this type of case. So far the moralistic attitude of the profession to this type of case has been one of the many factors hindering the development of adequate treatment facilities.There would also seem to be a need for a multidisciplinary approach as psychiatry is often largely unaware of the developments in other fields such as correctional work and the theoretical and applied approach of the sociologists. But in the last analysis it is society itself which decides how much money and effort is to be expended on its social casualties, and by implication how much responsibility it is willing to assume in this field.

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