CLINICS IN EACH STATE.
DR. JONES'S RECOMMENDATION.
In a report on mental deficiency in Austra- lia, which has been presented to the Prime Minister's Department, Dr. W. Ernest Jones, Inspector-General of the Insane, Victoria, re-
commends the establishment of psychological clinics in each State for the examination ot metally defective children and young adults.
The clinic, he suggests, should be attended by a medical practitioner experienced in dis- eases of children, an educationalist, with psy- chological training, a medical practitioner with experience in psychiatry, and a staff of social workers. Dr. Jones contends that the best way to make the clinic efficient would be to attach it to a children's court.
Dr. Jones said the following important so- cial problems arose:—(1) The detection and segregation of the mentally deficient person, with arrangements for their appropriate train- ing and guardianship; (2) sterilisation of the unfit; (3) legislation on the marriage pro- blem, by which only those individuals who are fit mentally and physically to enter into wedlock should be permitted to do so; (4) the elimination of syphilis from the commu- nity; (5) the prohibition of alcohol, or, at least, the enforcement of laws providing for its use rather than its abuse.
He recommends the establishment of re- sidential schools, such as Glenfield (N.S.W.), for high-grade mentally defective children, who, on admission, should not be more than 12 years of age or less than 5. Special day schools, or opportunity classes in State schools, such as already exist in Victoria and South Australia. Residential colonies for adults, who are capable of manual, industrial, or domestic training, in country districts, for the permanent segregation of those causes unsuitable for guardianship outside an insti- tution. A system of boarding-out, or guard- ianship, in conjunction with the residential colonies. Special blocks for hopeless idiots to be provided, as is the case in the State hos- pitals for the insane, failing the establish- ment of special institutions to accommodate
all mental defectives.
EFFECT OF ALCOHOL.
Referring to alcohol, Dr. Jones says:—"The numbers admitted to inebriate institutions and the number of convictions for drunkenness are increasing year by year, and without go- ing to the length of penalising the population as a whole, it appears desirable that chronic offenders in the matter of inebriety should be dealt with much more strictly than appears to be the case at present, and that protracted residence in penal establishments, if neces- sary, should be prescribed for those in whose cases medical treatment has proved to be unavailing."
He contended that it was desirable that greater effect should be given to the teach- ing of psychology and psychiatry in the vari- ous universities, and particularly to the diplo- ma of psychological medicine, which had been established by the University of Syd- ney. He referred to the fact that, although there were 60,000 invalid pensions in force in the Commonwealth, no exact knowledge ex- isted as to what proportion of these pensions was given to mentally deficient persons. There was reason to believe that something like 10 per cent. of the pensions was given for that purpose; and there was practically no method of inspection to determine whether the pen- sion was being used to the best advantage.
"It is characteristic of the mentally defi- cient," remarks Dr. Jones, "that they are defi- nitely retarded in their mastery of the forms of behaviour and control common to human beings. A child who by the age of 3½ years has not acquired clean habits, has not com- menced to walk or to talk, can be suspected of mental defect. Any one of these forms of behaviour may, however, be retarded by causes other than lack of intelligence, though very rarely beyond the age of four in cases where the physical organs and senses are normal. In the lowest grades of mental de- ficiency speech is never developed. In many cases of higher, but still quite marked defect the deficiency could never be detected from ordinary conversation; in some cases there may be a glibness which even gives an appearance of brightness. It should be noted that good and even remarkable powers of rote memory are not inconsistent with recognisable mental defect. On the whole, mental deficiency is accompanied by slightly less than average ability with the hands, but marked manual ability in work in which the demands are muscular rather than intellectual is at times found in cases of mental deficiency."