Hospital for Insane Criminals

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Hospital for Insane Criminals
Construction Began 1910
Opened 1912
Demolished 1954
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Michigan City, IN
Alternate Names
  • Indiana Hospital for Insane Criminals


The Indiana Hospital for Insane Criminals was built in the year 1910, entirely by prison labor. It is located in a plot of ground comprising four acres adjacent to the Indiana State Prison. It is surrounded by a brick wall twenty-four feet in height. The building is three stories high, built in the form of a Y. There are thirty-two private rooms on each floor. This particular model of architecture was carried out so that the supervisor on each floor could at all times have a view of two day rooms, halls, dormitories and dining rooms, from any front location. It is at once apparent to the visitor that the institution partakes of the character of a hospital and a prison. It is equipped with offices, a hydrotherapy, a surgery, a drug room, and a psychological laboratory. All the windows have. bars of the outside basket variety. It was constructed with a view in mind to prevent escapes of the patients. The interior of the building is furnished entirely in terrazzo and this finish makes it very easy for the institution to be kept scrupulously clean.

The institution is under the same Board of Control and Management as the prison, but it is an entirely separate institution. Its medical administration is governed by a medical director who conducts its internal affairs. The attendants of this hospital are men who have had experience as prison guards and as attendants in hospitals for the insane. The wages they receive are about twice the amount of remuneration ordinarily paid this class of help in hospitals for the insane. This enables the administration to secure a better class of attendants than usual. The discipline is entirely different from that of the prison and conforms to the ordinary ideals of hospital government. Owing to the fact that the majority of the patients have served sentences in prison, their conduct in many respects is more orderly and regular than in civilian hospitals; kindness, gentleness and firmness is the triad of qualifications that make for discipline. An endeavor is made to have the patients understand that they are in a hospital and not a prison. In the day rooms they are allowed books from the library; they have games and musical instruments for their entertainment. They are afforded recreation" outside the building in the form of ordinary field sports, as baseball, basketball and intensive gardening.

Paul E. Bowers, Dangerous Insane, 12 J. Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology 369 (May 1921 to February 1922)

The prison in Michigan City was established in 1860, but in 1909 the state decided it need separate housing for those "criminally insane" at Logansport & Central State Hospitals. In 1910 a new building was opened to house those inmates, it could house up to 180 inmates/patients. By 1954 all of them were moved to the new state hospital in Westville. The buildings have since been demolished but remains a prison today.


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