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Inmate Quantity

Quantity of Inmates

Therefore the inebriate has his rights; but they are the rights of an occasional madman, however long and lucid his intervals may be ; and no man knows this bet­ter than himself. He knows that, un­der certain distracting circumstances of provocation or temptation, he may first or last almost certainly be­come an offence, if not a fear, to him­self and others, even when at large on his honorable parole, of which, at wiser times, when seated at the feet of the Gamaliel of his own prudence and duty, he is so tenderly jealous. Then the rude hand of the law, insensible to sen­timent and scornful of psychological analyses, will be laid upon him, a policeman’s coarse paw shall bruise the raw of his fierce sensitiveness. Just there his rights begin, and he naturally turns for them to the Asy­lum, which, as a mere matter of money not less than of morals, owes him a rescue; for she is his guardian under bonds, and has accepted in respect of him, for a consideration, certain posi­tive responsibilities and obligations. Whether he can or cannot be trusted beyond bounds, is a question for the discretion of those having him in moral and medical charge, – a nice question, I grant, its safe decision implying the possession of a rare and fine combina­tion of experience with tact ; and occa­sional errors of judgment are inevitable. But it is certain the decision does not rest with him, nor is he responsible for the consequences of a blunder. His Asylum owes it to his friends, as well as to himself, to stand between him and the police, and to demand that he be restored, the moment his arrest be­comes necessary, to the custody of his appointed guardian and physician, the superintendent, whose demand should be a habeas corpus in this matter, – all charges to be paid by the Asylum, and collected from the patient. Just there his rights cease; he certainly has no right, in reason or feeling, to complain of the preventive punishment he may receive. But if he is not in an Asylum for this very protection, for what, in the name of common sense and busi­ness is he there? A passage from the Report will follow.