Full text: Problems in eugenics

470Appendix.Wagenen. “ Properly applied, I believe that sterilization will be of great benefit 
to humanity if generally adopted.’’ 
“ Investigation has made it probable that about 30 per cent, of the 
general population carry the neuropathic taint; this, of course, includes' those 
under detention probably a little more than one per cent.” 
“ At the present time Indiana, Iowa, Connecticut, Utah, and New 
Jersey have laws legalizing sterilization and asexualization; but with the 
exception of Indiana and California little work has been done.” 
“ There is no question but sterilization of confirmed criminals, habitual 
drunkards and drug habitues, epileptics, sexual and moral perverts in 
reformatories and other places of detention, those suffering from acute 
recurrent psychosis, is a proper proceeding, and for the benefit of mankind.” 
“ The figures on heredity that I have given do not fairly represent the 
actual amount of inheritance as in many cases we could obtain no family 
history, though the character of the mental affection would indicate previous 
disease in ancestry. In our experience in this State we find very much less 
trouble in obtaining consent of relatives at the present time than when we 
first commenced the work. It is apparent that the public are being educated 
up to the value of the work.” 
The following pedigree and description of traits were obtained at 
first hand by our committee (see page 471) and records the family and 
individual history of a defective individual (III.-12) sterilized in the 
Jeffersonville (Indiana) Reformatory. Note the general prevalence of 
wanderlust, alcoholism, low mentality, sex offence, thievish instincts, 
and other defects. The individual (III.-12) is of Dutch-American 
descent, born in the United States, age 24 at the date of operation 
which was performed in the Jeffersonville (Indiana) Reformatory in 1906 at 
his own request after hearing the subject discussed by two officers of the 
institution. He wished to decrease his sexual desires, which were constant and 
excessive, also to avoid the possibility of having children. He was a sexual 
pervert of a pronounced type, and realized (he said) his bad heredity, and 
did not wish his kind perpetuated. He had been a criminal from his 
earliest days, and much of his life had been spent in institutions. No 
education, except as obtained there. Of slow intelligence. He claimed 
(1912) to have improved in mind and body after vasectomy, to have gained 
in weight, in strength, and in power to concentrate. Sleeps better, less 
nervous, decrease of over-sexuality. Still sexually perverted, however, as 
shown by his conduct in prison now. 
The purpose of this particular study of the individual and family 
history was to determine whether or not in sterilizing this individual (III.-12) 
the State effected the cutting off of at least one line of defective inheritance. 
The committee feels justified in reporting an affirmative answer. 
This history is fairly typical of some thirty similar records of men who 
were sterilized in the Jeffersonville (Indiana) Reformatory from six years to 
two weeks before their respective cases were observed and described.

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