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The Care Of The Insane

The Care Of The Insane image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
Letter to the Editor
OCR Text

Judge Newkirk Writes a Timely Letter. A DETENTION HOSPITAL Is Advocated for the County of Washtenaw. Editor Argus: - After reading Mr. Coleman s article in your last night's issue, I must protest that my position on this matter has been to a certain extent misunderstood. I never advocated a county insane asylum, and as you noticed at the bottom of the aforesaid article, have only been in favor of a place of temporary detention, which no sane man can object to. In line with my suggestion I quote the following dispatch to the Free Press : "Houghton, Mich., August 4. - (Special). - Upper peninsula insane asylum at Newberry is again crowded beyond its capacity and the officials refuse to accept additional patients. This condition has been chronic since the asylum was built four years ago, being given merely temporary relief by additions from time to time, none of which has met the requirements for more than a few months. Owing to the large number of insane here who cannot be taken to Newberry, Houghton county has built a fine detention hospital where they are properly cared for pending the finding of more room at Newberry." I also quote from Dr. Louis J. Gonx, of the Pontiac Asylum as follows : "Because of the crowded condition of nearly all of our state asylums, many cases of insanity which would be amenable to treatment are of necessity confined in jails and poorhouses, where custodial care only can be given them, and their mental condition is neglected. The condition is one which should be remedied at once, and the state should see to it that these unfortunates are given proper protection and the best attention which can be secured for them. " Also from a letter received from Dr. Edwards, superintendent of the Kalamazoo asylum, dated July 15, as follows : "Your letter of July 12, with inclosure of an article written by you for the 'Ann Arbor Argus, ' is received I am glad to see that you are agitating the matter tor further provision for the inane of Michigan. The district of the Eastern Michigan Asylum of which Washtenaw county forms a part, has, for a long time, been in in need of more room for its insane and it has been, to put it mildly, a disgrace to our boasted civilization that the unfortunate insane person is obliged to remain in jail awaiting an opportunity for proper care and treatment. Our state has now made appropriation tor additional buildings at each one of our state asylums excepting the one at Ionia but unfortunately this provision will be deferred for a time owing to the fact that there are no funds available in our state treasury, although the bills making the appropriations were given immeddiate effect." The action of Houghton county is exactly what I want Washtenaw to do - provide a suitable place for detention, so that our insane will not be confined in jail. That is all. It is humane, it is decency, it is the proper thing to do. Some one has Advanced the idea that taxes are too high now to think of any more county expense. Taxes are high and in my humble opinion will keep getting higher. We are living a high life and in high times, and if we want to wait for the low taxation of the inexpensive times of our fathers, our insane will always remain in jail. I do not propose to let up on this matter a particle. I shall bring it before the board of supervisors at their next meeting, and believe that with their intelligence and sense of fairness, they will do something to relieve us of a distressing situation, that is condemned by all fair minded persons.