Cure, Comfort and Safe Custody: Public Lunatic Asylums in Early Nineteenth-Century England
Explores the evolving tensions between the three objectives of the English mental asylum from 1808 to 1845: custody, cure, and comfort. Smith (arts and social sciences, U. of Birmingham, UK) finds that the implicit goal of custody, evidenced in penitentiary-style regimes, was gradually superseded by an Enlightenment-tempered movement towards cure. However, eventually the flaws in the system led to an overcrowding by ever larger numbers of physically deteriorated, aging people, and the emphasis switched to comfort.
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