This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Jay Nelson Tuck moderates.
Dr. Richard Orr, Member of Association for Psychiatric Treatment of
Criminal Offenders (APTO).
APTO exists to stimulate interest in psychiatric treatment of law-breakers and to pioneer in the development of a community plan to provide specially trained psychotherapists. The association does distinguish between offenders - based on the seriousness of their crime. He also points out that not all offenders are insane.
APTO believes a group approach is the most helpful - police and mental health workers working together with the courts, etc.
Questions regarding repressed memories as a root for criminal behavior. Also, emotional deprivation during childhood.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72132
Municipal archives id: LT8252
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Must juvenile delinquency always plague our society what is the Association for the psychiatric treatment of offenders what can a psychiatry is do to a juvenile delinquents are all juvenile delinquents in need of psychiatric help for the answers to these and other questions listen now to your city stations campus press conference each week at this time in this transcribed discussion editors of college newspapers question and use where they personality are moderators a noted editor newspaperman Jane else and now to introduce the panel and tonight's guest there is Mr Tuck Good evening no day passes without our newspapers reporting a great number of crime stories we read wrote with horror of murderous robbers and sex deviants but many people are no longer convinced the prison is the only way or even the best way to stop crime among those groups trying a new approach is the Association for the psychiatric treatment of offenders which seeks to get at the causes of crime inside the mind of the criminal himself our guest tonight on campus press conferences Dr Richard or a distinguished physician and a member of the association's board of directors Dr R. is also a prolific writer on medical subjects and is the executive director of the Institute for the advancement of medical communication here tonight to question our guest our stance a goal of the N.Y.U. square Journal they were Frank one of the City College observation post and I'd stubborn Jim Pharrell both of the Fordham lexigram Peter has the first question doctor or what is the Association for the psychiatric treatment of offenders. The Association for psychiatric treatment of the offender or Apatow as we prefer to call it is a nonprofit organization was founded in nineteen fifty. It has three aims The first is to stimulate interest in psychiatric treatment of the of the offender or law breaker The second is to pioneer in the development of a community plan which would provide a specially trained psycho therapist for use of the courts and other social agencies concerned with the offender and the third is to conduct research into the most effective methods of psychotherapy not to reduce your association distinguish between offenders and other words would you call any difference between a bankrobber and a murderer or are they just on relative level and that's a that's a tough question and I think you can distinguish offenders in a number of ways first by the seriousness of their crime. This is a very practical differentiation. A Use who steals the car is not exactly in the same category as one who murders. As to. Whether this differentiation with regard to the seriousness of the crime is reflected in psychological terms in different psyche psychological diagnoses. Is a good question and I think the important thing to bear in mind is that. All offenders are not insane. That is the vast majority of the difference between right and wrong. Whether the quantitative difference between the offender and the law abiding citizen is large enough to. Be. Designated by the term mental illness. Is a question however there is one fundamental difference. Which is obvious and that is the law abiding citizen. Except in times of very severe stress rarely transgress with the law the offender dies therefore by this very act he must differ in some respects psychologically are ordinary stand. Determined how you would determine the difference between an offender who has psychiatric trouble and an offender who is simply a law breaker nothing more than. I think I touched on that my answer to the last question. When you when you say psychiatric difficulty I presume you mean a very severe. Emotional disturbance of some kind and it is true that a certain percentage. Do have very severe mental disturbances disturbances. Which in a law abiding citizen one would consider psychiatric illness. However. We believe that these are actually the minority of criminals and that the great majority. Would not be ordinarily designated as psychiatric. They are perhaps a better term would say they are socially elf. Does your society believe all of these offenders including the ones who are not psychiatrically ill should be treated in some way or another aside from simple imprisonment. We believe that the great majority of offenders can profit by. Scientific treatment utilizing all the disciplines which are now available and when I say scientific treatment I do not necessarily mean Orthodox psychotherapy as you might think of it I mean. A team approach in which. Law enforcement officers the family. Psycho therapist a social worker and other. Professional people who may. Work together in. This individual. Or doctor or do you feel that the legal definition of insanity is efficiently precise so that the mentally ill can be aided without merely being imprisoned and forgotten about. The legal definition of insanity. Which I touched upon insane we do not believe the majority of criminals are legally insane that is they do know the difference between right and wrong yet this legal definition is one that came out for a great amount of discussion recently as much soul searching on it. I would say that most psychiatrists feel that this is not a very meaningful definition and they have great trouble when they are called upon to try to apply this definition in court I don't know whether that answered your question and. Substitute would you favor or do you think should be was in the place of the person one I I think that actually we made we've made the proper start already. By sort of perhaps by passing this question of the definition and that is the courts are showing a tendency more and more to. Make psychiatric treatment a condition of probation and instead of sending many. Offenders to jail they will allow them to remain in the community and be treated Jim for a world or a legal definition of that legal term insanity not Ada psychiatry in helping the particular accused criminals because it only concerns as you point out whether or not the person knows whether is right or wrong. Do you think you might be concerned with something else you think that the law as the representative of the people in society should be concerned with anything other than whether the offender knew the difference between right and wrong and whether he was legally responsible to society for offending. I think from the legal point of view you can build a good case that this is just about as good a distinction as one can make for practical purposes so that you want to rule for legal purposes perhaps not for medical purposes is a suitable rule is what you are saying this is where I feel personally I know that there considerable difference of opinion on this subject even among lawyers not to mention. Dr that makes me think I was talking about juvenile delinquency a few minutes ago I've recently heard of a new treatment they're trying outside of Los Angeles for juvenile offenders it operates on the theory that most of them are offended because they didn't get enough satisfaction as infants and they will take sixteen seventeen year old girls and put them in a nursery right back to the conditions of babyhood actually going so far as to nurse on a baby's milk bottle play with babies well e Toys and this is supposed to substitute a new one happy infancy for the unhappy one night had do you think there's any possibility of something like this actually being very helpful. That's a good question Mr Tak. There are many theories as to what is the cause of juvenile delinquency and I think that it's safe to say that no one has been proven. With any sort of valid evidence this is one of the theories. That is of deprivation emotional deprivation during childhood I think we may well find out that juvenile delinquency has no single cause and that there are many multiple causes for it no one of which by itself alone is sufficient to produce delinquent behavior and are not going to produce a sudden kind of so long shot that well so no and as long as you don't have a nice neat single cause for delinquency I don't think you're going to find a nice neat. Sure. This is actually this new therapy that you mention. Is the logical. Conclusion conclusion of the so called permit. Approach to. Delinquency or to anti social behavior in general. This. In other applications this has not proven to be too encouraging or not terribly optimistic regarding this experimentally I would say it was definitely. Almost as experimental as a new form of therapy for criminals particularly in which a patient receives electric shock therapy until such time as he actually regressed to an infant level because his brain and. And memory and disordered and the result of repeated electric shocks after he's back to the infant stage then they try to educate repeat his education and go through the steps in an accelerated fashion and doesn't take another twenty years to get him back to his chronological age but. It takes weeks or months sometimes. This is completely experimental. Jim you've indicated now sir that there is no single core that research is now discovered that there is no single cause for juvenile delinquency and that there are several causes how they've been isolated as causes and if they have what is apt to recommend to the city to take away a definite action for solving into solving the problem by removing. A number of different factors appear to have some influence. On delinquency. The relative importance of the factors I think would the relative importance attached to the various factors which would vary considerably from one psychotherapist to another. Certain things do stand out though. And that is for some reason the juvenile delinquent and the adult offender has not in his development incorporated within his own personality the self-control and restraint that. The law abiding citizen dads Now this may be a result of of many different things. It may be poor family background it may be. Community. Pressures when I say community pressures. That is that in certain communities there is much pressure upon individual. Youths very family to join in the activity that and the peer group which may be. Criminal activities for that matter and out of place certain relatively normal. You do get into trouble because they're following the leader and doing what. The others do they just don't want to be left out of the game and they don't want to be left out there. Now one of the one of the things that could be done by the community is if there was some way. To isolate and to identify first of all the true leaders. And use leaders in the community and if the. Leaders were. Taking the others off and do the wrong path. Nafis Association made for it involves the more normal use in the community. That's a little hard to achieve. And I don't have any ready made solution as to how you could do it but it's sort of like an installation procedure Peter not to or is the threat of punishment a good to determine. Future criminals in other words the threat of a possible prison sentence and things along that line seems you're all asking the sixty four dollar question. It's a tough bunch but. The. Threat of punishment undoubtedly is a deterrent to most people I. Have a feeling that. Many of us would probably engage in some activities that might be considered illegal if not criminal if we did not have. The threat that we might be caught and punished for our. To. The ordinary citizen then I think that the threat of punishment is a deterrent and to the majority of offenders. Punishment undoubtedly is something that they wish to avoid Now some of them have a sort of a feeling of magic in that they think well I'll never be caught but. This magic fails them sooner or later and. They have to face the realities. I can at the present time I see. No prospect of being able to do away with the threat of punishment because it is. Well sir if I can go just one step further what do you think about capital punishment does that serve a useful purpose well I'm going to speak for myself there. I. Personally do not think it. Purpose I don't think as a capital punishment maybe. Even the most severe penalty you can map out it is so final that. To many people and it's not as bad a punishment as life imprisonment but. I think that most of the evidence points to the fact that capital punishment has outlived its usefulness today. Sir what factors either songs are economic and I present day society may be important contributors to. Delinquency Well one I think is a question might call cultural dislocation. In a city like New York there are a number of groups which have been more or less transplanted from one culture into another. The values in the various cultures may conflict to be specific. A country. Coming to this city a city like New York can often get into trouble very rapidly simply because this is an entirely different culture and his old values and his old methods of meeting his problems do not work in the new setting. Immigrants have a great deal of difficulty often before they get adjusted so this is one one factor I think is important. There must also be economic factors because it's a matter of record that the majority of. Offenders and and juvenile delinquents especially come from economic groups. The factor of. The community environment I think I mentioned before there are certain communities where there is lots of pressure. To engage in. Activities. I know that the family has described as one of the leading causes of juvenile delinquency and broken homes and. Parents Now admittedly this is a problem but how do you go. To raise your children to keep watch over them. The. Question of broken families is very good. We emphasize the high percentage of. Delinquents that come from broken families but we don't emphasize the. Large number of law abiding citizens who also come from broken families therefore it cannot me and maybe I'm an important factor in delinquency but it certainly is not the only one because if you look at the history of two individuals one who ends up breaking the other one who is a useful citizen the society. If you just look at their two history family sometimes you have a great great difficulty in seeing any difference between the two there as far as what the family can do. I am convinced that. Perhaps. Our children the pendulum has swung a little too far towards permissiveness so-called I allow ng. Indiscriminate expression of the child's personality because really. When you think of it in this light what happens later that gets him into trouble with the law is very much the same as when he's at home having a tantrum or expressing his personality as they put it. Monsters get away with murder yes. Dr Weil on the subject because a lot of people are concerned about violence and