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Overholser, W. (1956). Psychiatry and the Law: Edited by Paul H. Hoch, M.D. and Joseph Zubin, Ph.D. New York: Grune and Stratton, Inc., 1955. 232 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:594-596.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:594-596

Psychiatry and the Law: Edited by Paul H. Hoch, M.D. and Joseph Zubin, Ph.D. New York: Grune and Stratton, Inc., 1955. 232 pp.

Review by:
Winfred Overholser

This volume presents the fourteen papers read at the 1953 meeting of the American Psychopathological Association. Judges, lawyers, parole officials, and psychiatrists participated in the symposium, each presenting various aspects of the relation of the criminal law and procedure to psychiatric skills and knowledge.

The first three papers may be termed philosophic, having to do with basic concepts. The late Professor George Dession of Yale Law School discusses Deviation and Community Sanctions; Professor Harold Lasswell, Legislative Policy, Conformity and Psyciatry; and Dr. Lawrence Freedman, Conformity and Nonconformity.

Three papers deal with responsibility, a question that plagues the psychiatrist in criminal court proceedings. Dr. Henry Davidson and Dr. Philip Roche treat this problem from the psychiatric point of view, while Professor Samuel Polsky presents a scholarly and stimulating paper on Applications and Limits of Diminished Responsibility. Dr. Davidson seems to favor the status quo for the M'Naghten test; Dr. Roche proposes separation of the guilt-finding and disposition functions of the court,—an eminently sensible method advocated years ago by Sheldon Glueck and others. Professor Polsky's presentation makes me wonder why the Scottish concept has never taken hold in Anglo-American law. He points out that 'it enables the law to achieve its dual aim in a realistic manner that reflects modern psychiatric thinking'.

Five chapters have to do with the role of psychiatry in the courts and in the 'correctional' process.

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