This report is a detailed examination of the fierce assault on the justice system that has occurred over the past seven decades—and not only by criminals. There is a hidden influence in our courts, one which, while loudly asserting its expertise and desire to help, has instead betrayed our most deeply held values and brought us a burgeoning prison population at soaring public costs. That influence is psychiatry and psychology.
The eminent Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry emeritus at the State University of New York, Syracuse, comments that today, “the phenomenon of psychiatrists examining persons to determine whether or not they are responsible is [a] common feature of our social landscape.…” At the same time he recognizes that psychiatry is “the single most destructive force that has affected society within the last 60 years.”
Shocking? No doubt. But also well-reasoned and insightful. Dr. Szasz is an internationally acclaimed author of over thirty books. He has both the experience and the stature to declare that the psychiatric profession has been steadily undermining the foundations of our culture—individual responsibility, standards of achievement, education and justice. The bottom line, he says, is that “…psychiatrists have been largely responsible for creating the problems they have ostensibly tried to solve.”
Since 1965, the US violent crime rate for under 18-year-olds increased by more than 147 percent, and for drug abuse violations, by over 597 percent. Violent crime rates throughout the European Union, Australia and Canada have recently begun to equal and even surpass those in the United States. Since the 1970s, crime also rose 97 percent in France, 145 percent in England, and 410 percent in Spain. The UK violent crime rate has soared 545 percent since 1985. Sweden now has a crime victimization rate 20 percent higher than the United States. And a study of seven Russian prisons found that 43 percent of the inmates had injected drugs. Of those, more than 13 percent started in prison.
The rehabilitation of criminals is a long-forgotten dream. We build more prisons and pass even tougher laws in the belief that these will act as a deterrent. Meanwhile, honest people are losing faith in justice itself as they see vicious criminals avoid conviction through the use of bizarre and incomprehensible defense tactics.
In the 1940s, psychiatry’s leaders proclaimed their intention to infiltrate the field of the law and bring about the “reinterpretation and eventually eradication of the concept of right and wrong.”
The rule of law and a functioning and fair system of legal administration sets apart enlightened democracies from totalitarian states. Citizens have the right to rely on the system for their peace and safety.
Looking back, psychiatrist Karl Menninger’s jubilant declaration that a 1954 decision by the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, DC was “more revolutionary in its total effect” than the Supreme Court decision on ending the segregation of African-Americans from Whites now has a prophetic quality. He was referring to the ruling that held a mentally defective person is not criminally responsible for unlawful acts.
The decision triggered an immediate increase in psychiatric courtroom testimony in the United States and spread rapidly around the globe. The cumulative impact of this trend on justice has since occupied legal scholars, criminologists and public policy experts all over the world. The consensus is that the “total revolutionary effect” has been a massive erosion of public confidence in the justice system’s ability to mete out swift and equitable justice.
Menninger had reason to rejoice. The ruling followed less than a decade after the leading psychiatrists of the day—Menninger being one of them—had set out to infiltrate the legal profession as part of their strategic plan for a global psychiatry. G. Brock Chisholm, who, with John Rawlings Rees, was cofounder of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), bluntly told his peers at the time: “If the race is to be freed from the crippling burden of good and evil it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility.”
Reacting to Chisholm’s pronouncement, Samuel Hamilton, advisor to the Public Health Service and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), equated him with a “prophet of old” presenting the “‘New Jerusalem’ in which we shall all live.”
Rees was unabashedly blunt when he stated, “Public life, politics and industry should all of them be within [psychiatry’s] sphere of influence.…If we are to infiltrate the professional and social activities of other people I think we must imitate the Totalitarians and organize some kind of fifth column activity!…Let us all, therefore, very secretly be ‘fifth columnists.’” Rees considered that the fields of law and medicine were the “two most difficult” to “attack.”
And attack they did, with the consequence that today, because of their influence, the system is failing. Now it is up to the many conscientious, hardworking and increasingly disheartened people within the system to realize this and rid it of these destructive intruders.
In this report, we hope to help you understand how this occurred. We show how psychiatry’s ideologies and actions have contributed to today’s failing criminal rehabilitation and increasing crime rate.
Finally, we propose to reverse these trends. We trust that the information will help those of good will and integrity correct a system that is failing its citizenry. The decent, the productive, the vast majority of us, deserve no less.
President, Citizens Commission
on Human Rights International