Asylum Reform

Who was Dorothea Dix?

Dorothea was the first of three to Joseph Dix and Mary Bigelow. She was born in Hampden, ME, but grew up in Worcester, MA. In 1821, after living with her Grand mother in Boston to get away from her abusive father and alcoholic parents, she opened the Dix Mansion, a school for girls, and a charity school for poor girls.

Dorothea Dix stands befor the Massachusetts court

Tiny and timid, Dorothea stood in front of the all man audience, and delivered her speech about the prisons. She said that the sick were "confined in this Commonwealth in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens! Chained, beaten with rods, lashed into obedience."

What she wanted the reform to accomplish

The point of the reform for Dorothea Dix was to make separate jails for men women and children, and also to make hospitals that would help the mentally insane, rather than make them worse

Steps taken to improve conditions

After seeing the conditions in the Massachusetts prison, she decided to take notes of the conditions of the prisons around Massachusetts. After seeing the Massachusetts prisons, she wrote a document and presented it to the Massachusetts legislature, and got the state to increase the funding to the prisons. After that, she decided that she wanted to see the prisons in other states. After doing a lot of the same things she did in Massachusetts in the other states, she got the same results in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Dr. John Gault

In 1841, there was a new superintendent of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum. Dr. John Gault was a man who had many ideas about treating the insane, including drugs, the introduction of "talk therapy" and advocating outplacement rather than lifelong stays.

The Auburn Prison "miss-hap"

ln 1821 in an Auburn prison, many of the 80 mentally men committed suicide as a result of keeping the men in solitary. As a result of this, Louis Dwight, the founder of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, decided that he would spread the "Auburn System" trough the prisons in America. The Auburn System was a very strict discipline approach.