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, 1974), pp. 10-12 Published by: The Hastings Center Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3560335 Accessed: 08/05/2010 19:23
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they could adopt a child. Based on operant conditioning principles. costs and possible guilt of an "at-risk"pregnancy. Ethics and the Life Sciences. I believe that Ruth Mason would need to examine some or all of the following factors: 1) her valuation of human life. especially if they consider abortion morally unacceptable. Director of the Bureau of Prisons. the chances are good that it will. and could accept the risk of a "worst" outcome. ostensibly for economic reasons.S. I think the Masons could go ahead and have a child. a federally funded program for particularly unmanageable prisoners. Whether the subcommittee will hold further hearings is not yet known. To refuse. I know I would. Hastings Center Report 4/74 A. J . 5) her recognition that such a child may himself have deep psychological problems from overprotection afforded by well-meaning others. 4) the possibility that her own or her husband's expectations in having male children are incompatible with the life style dictated by hemophilia. If they cannot. and Dr. which is mandated to conduct research into new rehabilitation techniques (and which is also under court challenge). *? Y - - - % - A ClockworkOrangeOr Just B by PETER STEINFELS this program was to alter the conduct of especially troublesome inmates so that they could be returned to the open prison population from which the referral originated. Martin Groder. I think they could. designated director of a new federal facility at Butner. The truly difficult question is if the Masons could morally proceed with a pregnancy where there was a chance of having a hemophilic child. even where risks of his safety are still apparent. Probably the most prominent was Project START (Special Treatment and Rehabilitative Training)." And later the same writer describes these villainous "behavioral engineers" as "the technologists of a totalitarianism that could make those in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange and George Orwell's 1984 look whimsically inefficient by comparison. One recent article in a large circulation magazine warned that "psychotechnologies are under rapid development by 'behavioral engineers' intent on putting Big Brother in constant and efficient charge of up to 25 million Americans who have either committed crimes or seem 'likely' to do so. Indeed. j ." Are such charges justified? Or are they expressions of that old technological paranoia which once led a leading science popularizer in 19th-century France to predict that the railroad would feminize men and suffocate women? Popular journalism has not been the only arena for concern about behavior control in prisons. 2) her psychological ability to nurture a child who will necessarily experience some suffering. To my mind. 3) her family's resources-emotional. they progress ehavior control in prisons does not enjoy a very favorable press. both physical and psychological. Institute of Society. have recently been challenged by court actions. Institute Conference Some perspective on this controversy was provided by a conference sponsored last December by the Institute's Behavior Control Research Group. Recently the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced the discontinuation of START. psychological care for this and monetary-to child. Shortly thereafter the House Subcommittee on Courts. (Patuxent calls its inmates "patients". Ruth Mason might justifiably even refuse the carrier test. Or. wishing to avoid the anxiety. a final test for this couple is whether or not they can give the prospective hemophilic child an assurance of independent existence. To do this. she should be able to justify her presumptive right to conceive a child where there was a substantial risk of having an infant who would require special and perhaps expensive care on a lifetime basis. A number of programs around the U. the aim of Peter Steinfels is Associate for the Humanities. But assuming they have weighed all the factors. Civil Liberties and the Administration of Justice opened hearings on the extent of behavior modification programs in federal prisons. North Carolina. Called to testify were Norman A. were she to believe that the possible ambiguities of a carrier test would aggravate the psychological burden of the pregnancy. as well as from Patuxent. They might well decide that sterilization is the only moral course open to them. though they refused to rule out the establishment of similar prison programs on a voluntary basis.Page 10 ments are weakened by the inherent uncertainty of future events. a Maryland state prison organized around a combination of behaviorist theory and group therapy. Carlson. Participants included representatives from START and the Butner research center. then perhaps they ought to consider those options which avoid his birth.
to an exceptionallyresistantgroup of prisoners who had definitely not volunteeredfor the program. and that burden is to give him a chance to change. at least in my interpretation." have been the catalystfor continual -Excerpt from a Report of the Subcommittee conflict or even large-scale eruptions in the institutions." spawned by new technologies.. If we deny him that. the schemes parentsdevise for getting the Saturdaychores done.") Also attending the conference. was an entirely different matter. Ethics and the Life Sciences J .but you certainlyget a highercaliberof guard.appearto be relativelycrude and of questionable effectiveness. Adit ministering in a prison setting. involving levels of deprivation and conflict which led to precisely the kind of charges-above all. inwas barelyfancierthan tellectually.And those that are. This hardly means that behavior control programs in prisons pose no serious ethical and legal problems. behaviorcontrol programs staff if it so desires. could happenin three ways: ".aversive and operant conditioning._ _~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~- Page 11 Y f A Lemon? through graded tiers depending upon their behavior and attitude. prisons were the group's chosen focus. This double emphasis was importantfor. Behaviorcontrolinnovations may thus merely reinforce old problems. -Chief JusticeWarren Burger tem.then. The window can be covered with paper blocking all light by the First. This was an unintendedconsequence. Two Institute observers of Patuxent concluded that. In other words-"Clockwork Orange" it isn't. then.") the Legitimating Prisons The real significanceof behavior controlprograms. It does mean that these problems may be closer to the traditional ones afflicting prison systems in general than entirely new issues "We take on a burden when we put a man behind walls. of removing ultimate authority from the custodial and security personnel. This. we deny him status as a human being. In one case an inmate alleged his window was could developmeansof "managing" covered for 42 straight days. they attendweeklytherapysessions. whatever the merits of the therapy which could be offered in such a setting (and they were pretty skeptical about it). if one is to judge both from the conference discussions and from other availableinformation. To begin with.and the spite the obvious orientationof a Administration Justice of programlike START towardmanagement rather than genuine rebehaviorcontrolseems habilitation.. When asked about this allegation. brutality-which prisonershave long made againsttheir keepers. were a numberof psychiatrists. the prison had a lower level of "hassling" and petty brutalitythan most other prisons they had visited. and they are held indefinitely as "patients" pronounced till "cured. if I interpret some of the conference participants correctly. Not only. "Behavior Control in Total Institutions"was the general subject of the meeting. they can also work in the opposite direction. _ \N l-Institute of Society. Civil Liberties. along with membersof the Institute ResearchGroup. Project START involved a reward-punishment system that.there simply aren't that many behaviorcontrol programsin operationwithinprisons.So far.and various psychotherapeutic approaches-but also to exof amine the "total institution" prison as itself a behaviorcontrolling technology. far from being the devilishly clever models of scientificingeniousnesssometimesimaginedby critics. Thus. and to deny that is to diminish our own humanityand plant the seeds of future anguishfor ourselves. may not be their uncertainimpact on a limited number of prisoners though abuseshave occurredand shouldbe constantly guarded against-but their influence in maintainingand legitimatingthe entire prison sysE. of limiting the prison's size and of hiring therapists at higher wages.they concluded. criminologists and lawyers with combined extensive experiencein prison work. the three days of discussions suggested that the new behavior control methods are of much less in significance themselvesthan they are as accessories for the maintenance and preservation the basic of behaviorcontrol device-incarceration in a total institution. was the object to examinethe use in prisons of specific behavior control technologies-like psycho- surgery. deon Courts. however. ("You may not get the greatest therapists. the that minorityof prisonerswhose re[START] staff said it was for no longer than two weeks but that the belliousnessand political militancy records concerningthis could not be located at the time of our visit.
deprivation.The behavior qualified This Special Supplement is the edited transcript of a conference controllers could fill this vacuum sponsored by the Institute's Behavior Control Research Group. 1973 Special Supplement of the Hastings propose any alternativeswith unCenter Report.25 behavior control techThird. and "Hallucinogenic Drugs: Perils & Possibilities. and scientistsand psychiatristsand Skinner."said one conferenceparcontrol are now available from the Institute.also not reassuring.behaviorof prisonerswill continue a special role selves are behavior controlling to be modified by the world in means recogniz. in the meanbut Ethics. time the momentfor a fundamental Wender.physical punish. One or two good juvenile Y reformatoriesor adult prisons can 'Y New I 11. are: "Psychotropic Drugs as Therawork out to the further detriment peutic Agents. Nancy Taylor institutionhas alwaysplayed a spePublications Department cial role in legitimatingprison sysHastings Center 623 Warburton Avenue tems-regardless of whether the characteristicsof the model were Hastings-on-Hudson. state legislatures. main unaffected them-which is by guards:how will the behaviorconGenerallythe bloom is off rehabili. But the current critique of prison systems..Y. with promises of a new era of reAlso available is a booklet containing four articles prepared for habilitativepenology.efforts at B..Page 12 w thus serve as an excuse for tolerat. behavior control be guards." wrote prison systems. N.One gramscouldlend scientificand med-which is not reassuring-or is faced with a variant on the old ical prestige to the cause of reblithely confidentthat they can requestion of who will guard the habilitation through incarceration. to give us our Atticas. is "a faint Two publications suitable for classroom discussions on behavior trumpet. in the These articles. "Physical Manipulation ticipant.. of the Hastings Center Studies.. "Drugs and Competing Drug of the imprisoned. 31 & up: $1. the Recognizing that prisons them.00 niques could succeed to the extent Postage will be paid by the Institute when payment accompanies of creating one or several "model order. Klerman. Contingencies "total institutions" in legitimating ing that they control the behavior of reinforcement alreadyoperatare not only of inmates but of guards ing in the present system. out that quite rightly pointed has always played Controlled? Are the Controllers "whether we like it or not. behavior control profranklyacceptingof these priorities the past. and the result is whoever attempts to work within Attica.which they live. The latter trollers in prisons escape the beintation. prison environment.50 passed. Send orders to: conference stated that the model Ms." ises might go unfulfilledor. Classroom Materials Available rehabilitationincluded." Skinner is confident that environments can this context.maintaining no more likely to succeed than trahavior modifiers.1'01- - ^ York Times (2/26/74) la- K Hastings Center Report 4/74 ." An historian at the and the Life Sciences. The critics are unable to of the Brain. Skinner in a letter to The 0* prisons? rehabilitative programs have too often begun as alternativesto the but harsheraspectsof imprisonment ended as additionsto them." by Paul H. wardens..criminologist. more constructive be built through the work of beorderand precustody..2 _ _ J . and even aging for precisely such practices. Of course. 6-30: $1. enthusiasm. Ethics institutions.but of the prisonsthroughmanagement Skinner some day. programsmay providea new packSpokesmenfor behavior control cials. which originally appeared in the January. Please make checks payable to the Institute of Society. The per-copy prices for each publication are: incarceration itself would have 1-5: $1." the May. has been reprinted and can now be supplied in bulk." by Gerald L.other programs will reinforcement" have worked on ment. governmentoffishaped by these needs. "The Case of MBD. Despite the humanitarian strandof thoughtwas expressedby havior controlling influence of tentions of its advocates.. ". Veatch." by Robert M. F. programs in prisons seem either the well-intentionedreformers of Second. Their promthe Institute conference on "Controlling Behavior Through Drugs. The tasks of security.arguedone inquireinto what "contingencies always tion.. 10706 the genuinelyapplicablethroughout system. 1974 issue opinion of the more pessimistic." by Louis of on reexamination our dependence Jolyon West.menting federal government hesiing numerous institutions which tance to supportbehaviormodification in The model institution may be abominableat present.But he does not serving bureaucratic stability will ditional means to this end: isolaof have top priority.
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