Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Dorothea Dix Speech

Most of this is her quotes, I had to write as if I was her. This will be deleted.

People of New England,

I proceed briefly to call your attention to the present state of the insane prisoners confined within this Commonwealth of 1843", especially the ones here in Massachusetts. Growing up I had to take care of my depressed mother and I have been inspired to make the lives of criminals and the mentally ill better. These mentally ill people are "in cages,closets, cellars, stall and pens! Chained naked and beaten with rods and lashed into obedience!" These people need better care, they need to be examined and given the right treatment, no locked in cages like animals. Let me remind you that these prisoners are human. They still have the same rights. In the Declaration Of Independence we quote “all men are created equal” and I stand by those words, so why are the insane not being treated as such?. “Society, during the last hundred years, has been alternately perplexed and encouraged, respecting the two great questions --how shall the criminal and pauper be disposed of, in order to reduce crime and reform the criminal on the one hand, and, on the other, to diminish pauperism and restore the pauper to useful citizenship?” and I believe that the only way to do this is to not “dispose of them” but to create a new life for the sick people of New England. They should be kept in a clean warm facility, not in a cold cage where they are forgotten and later found dead.

For example I traveled to “Newburyport. Visited the almshouse in June. Eighty inmates. Seven insane, one idiotic.  Two very improperly situated, namely, an insane man, not considered incurable, in an out-building, whose room opened upon what was called "the dead room," affording, in lieu of companionship with the living, a contemplation of corpses. The other subject was a woman in a cellar. I desired to see her. Much reluctance was shown. The master of the house stated that she was in the cellar; that she was dangerous to be approached. I descended the stairs from within. My conductor proceeded to remove a padlock, while my eye explored the wide space in quest of the poor woman. All for a moment was still. But judge my horror and amazement, when a door to a closet beneath the staircase was opened, revealing in the imperfect light a female apparently wasted to a skeleton, partially wrapped in blankets, furnished for the narrow bed on which she was sitting. Her countenance furrowed, not by age, but suffering, was the image of distress. In that contracted space, unlighted, unventilated, she poured forth the wailings of despair. Mournfully she extended her arms and appealed to me: "Why am I consigned to hell?” “"I do not consider it right, just, or humane, to hold for safe keeping, in the county jails and houses of correction, persons classing as lunatics or idiots. Our prisons are not constructed with a view to the proper accommodation of this class of persons.” While we diminish the stimulant of fear, we must increase to prisoners the incitements of hope so I urge you think of the facts and the people of Boston