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Featured Article Of The Week

Norfolk State Hospital


Norfolk Neb SH.jpg

The institution went through several name changes. In 1895, the legislature voted to call it the Asylum for the Chronic Insane. In 1905, the name was changed to Nebraska State Hospital, and then again in 1915 it was renamed the Ingelside Hospital for the Insane. The facility had four types of patients: Geriactrics, Alcoholics and drug addicts, and the criminally insane. The Norfolk Regional Center is currently a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility for adolescent and young adult males who have been paroled from the Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center in Kearney, Nebraska (Nebraska Dept of Health). In total 902 individuals were sterilized in Nebraska. 53% of whom were women. 80% of those sterilized were deemed “mentally deficient.” The lobotomies began in 1917 and ended in 1963.

The first law regarding sterilization was passed in 1915, after a failed initial attempt by state legislators in 1913 was vetoed by Governor John H. Morehead. This law was revised in both 1929 and 1957. The 1915, law provided for the sterilizations of the insane and feeble-minded inmates of state institutions before they were paroled. The state institutions specifically mentioned in the statute included “institutions for the feeble-minded, hospitals for the insane, the penitentiary, reformatory, industrial schools, the industrial home, and other such State institutions” In 1929, the original law was repealed and a new law was enacted, which included “habitual criminals, moral degenerates, and sexual perverts“—those individuals convicted of rape or incest—as well as the original groups. The 1929 revision of the law made it so that any inmate convicted of rape or other crimes of sexual perversion were to be compulsorily sterilized. Although the sterilization was mandatory for these individuals, the law mandated both notice and hearing and the potential for appeal to the Supreme Court. Click here for more...