I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane . . . men and women, I proceed to call your attention
One day in 1841, Dorothea Dix agreed to teach Sunday school at a jail.
We shall make public asylums for the mentally ill
Dix was horrified to see that many prisoners were put in chains and locked in cages. Children accused of minor thefts were put in jail with adult criminals. Treatment of the Mentally Ill shocked Dix most of all the way mentally ill people were treated. Most were locked in dirty, crowded prison cells. If they misbehaved, they were whipped.
For two years, Dix gathered information about the horrors she had seen. Then she prepared a detailed report for the Massachusetts state legislature and said. I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane . . . men and women, I proceed to call your attention to the present state of insane persons, confined in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience!
Shocked by Dix’s report, the lawmakers voted to create public asylums for the mentally ill.