Institutions do not have sheriffs and jails. When an inmate breaks the rules, he or she is not subject to the city or county's criminal justice system but to the justice system devised by the institution.

madman in chains

Here, a depiction of a madman in chains. The drawing is "Madness" by Charles Bell, from 1806.


The "maniac's bed" at left shows an 18th century Italian version of four-point restraints. At right we see a man in a garment which was apparently laced or sewn onto him, "The English Camisole," together with a variety of other inventions meant to encourage people to chill out.

Tranquilizer Chair

The fellow immobilized and cut off from the world here is being restrained in Benjamin Rush's "Tranquilizer Chair." Rush was an influential Philadelphian with a troubled and unruly brother. He kept the first full-scale American asylum. Rush was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and is honored by the American Psychiatric Association as "The Father of Modern Psychiatry."

This engraving is from Rush's own drawing.

Standing Restraint

This may be the original straitjacket, the Standing Restraint, depicted by Ernst Horn in 1818.

portrait of William Norris

Here is a portrait of William Norris which appeared in an 1815 British poster lambasting London's Bethlehem Hospital — better known as Bedlam. It was accompanied by excerpts from testimony at the House of Commons. One remarks that "he was kept for twelve years in this manner." The poster concludes, "Norris is Dead."

basic societal norms

According to basic societal norms, patients were to remain neatly clothed, perform chores in a responsible manner, eat politely at a table, and sit quietly at religious services.  The staff believed that this regimen would help disordered minds return to normal. 

full body wrap
Photo of display by Pat Deegan

This photo from the Glore Museum of Psychiatry in St. Joseph, Missouri, demonstrates the full body wrap.