THE PUNISHMENT CURE by Stephen J. Sansweet


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This book began its life as a feature for the Wall Street Journal, where the author is a writer and staff reporter, and has been considerably fleshed out with research into programs all over the country which use ""aversion therapy"" to eliminate smoking, drinking, bed-wetting, obesity, homosexuality and practically any other kind of anti-social behavior you can think of. You may have thought A Clockwork Orange was a far-out Orwellian nightmare, but in a nutshell--that's the punishment cure. It's as old as public whipping and the pillory, spanking, solitary confinement or outright torture. Modern technology has brought new dimensions to the old solution: electroshock, nausea-producing drugs, and a wonder-drug called succinycholine which paralyzes the muscles and stops the patient's breathing for several minutes. The latter was at the root of the 1970 Vacaville-Atascadero prison scandal, although the morality and ethicality of this method of ""treatment"" has been called into question many times by professionals as well as civil rights advocates. The biggest drawback of all: a high rate of remissions indicates the ""cure"" doesn't work--the patient's will to change seems to be responsible for positive results. Sansweet is objective throughout, hut will frighten you out of your skin anyway. A fine source book, with extensive bibliographical references, on a highly controversial aspect of modern psychology and social policy.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Mason/Charter