Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland
Organised by National Records of Scotland
Lecture by Professor Rab Houston, University of St Andrews
As part of National Records of Scotland’s (NRS) free Edinburgh Fringe exhibition, guest curator Professor Rab Houston of the University of St. Andrews, will examine the ‘criminal lunatics’ featured – those who had ‘committed grave and heinous crimes dangerous to the public’ – and how the exhibition has been informed by his wider project ‘Promoting mental health through the lessons of history’.
The talk outlines who the criminal lunatics were, how they ended up as ‘prisoner-patients’ in what until 1948 was the only specialist facility in Scotland, and what chances these violent yet vulnerable people had of release and rehabilitation. As well as examining patterns of behaviour and the legal/medical structures of the time, it will explore the lived experiences of individual prisoner-patients and those they encountered.
Time will be given at the end for questions.