--Richard E. Vatz
Please find herein a letter in today's Washington Post on psychiatric efforts and Maryland legislators' complicity in returning violent felons to the streets and allowing murderers to continue murdering.
The Post’s fine July 16 Metro article “Break in cold case is also a dark reminder” implied quite accurately that Maryland lawmakers have always emphasized the importance of rehabilitation over incapacitation, retribution and deterrence among the classic purposes of punishment in the criminal justice system. Hence, therapists at the state-run Patuxent Institution at Jessup in the 1970s through 1990s routinely declared dangerous felons “rehabilitated” and simply paroled them, allowing these people to do what they did best: commit more violent crimes.
It is no accident that hyper-liberal and irresponsible states such as Maryland and Massachusetts specialized in this dangerous idealism. Some of us wrote op-eds throughout those years, warning of the danger of the psychiatric exculpation of hardened criminals, but to no avail.
Now, Maryland has eliminated the death penalty. In due time, The Post will have an exposé on how the realization by hardened killers in Maryland that they cannot be further punished has led to murders being ordered from and committed in prison.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Richard E. Vatz, Towson
Professor Vatz has been writing on Thomas Szasz and psychiatric mystification for decades
Professor Vatz has written for decades of Thomas Szasz and the rhetoric of mental illness