"The First Year of C.P.S. #85," from The Seagull

"The First Year of C.P.S. #85," from The Seagull

"The First Year of C.P.S. #85," by George Breneman

“This first group of six boys was the only privileged to be shown through all the wards as the rest of the group of 25 men came straggling in as much as three weeks later, and they had to find things out pretty much for themselves.”

“When the men finally reached their respective places of work they were almost at a complete loss as to what to do. They were thrown in with a group of mental patients, and it took the very best in them to initiate themselves to this entirely new experience.”

“The state employees who already work on the wards told the C.P.S. fellows all kinds of horrible stories of what these patients would do to you. They said you should never let a patient get behind you, and that the only way to get along with the patients was to make them fear you. You must prove to them that you are not afraid of them, and that you can whip them, or they will whip you. There were all sorts of cautions and warnings. I think that perhaps these state employees saw how they were scaring the boys, and it was a source of delight to them. But I also believe that the state employees believed in what they told us because that is the way they dealt with the patients. They beat and knocked the patients around for no reason at all, and it was their definite policy to make the patients fear them. Many of the terrible examples of mistreatments of patients I saw I would hesitate to write here. They are not fit to be told. So you can easily see what kind of a reception and start the C.P.S. men first received when they started on this new experience. Fortunately the C.P.S. men were not long in finding out that there were better ways to deal with the patient than what they were taught by these state employees. Slowly, but surely, as the influence of these boys was felt, the patient-attendant relations began to improve. The patients began to trust the attendants more, and their behavior seemed to improve correspondingly. This was much to the regret of the state employees who found themselves losing ground. They soon began to see the results of the kind treatment of the patients at the hands of the C.P.S. men, and I believe many of them actually became ashamed of themselves for their way of dealing with patients.”

“There were many comments made by the doctors and the visitors as to the improvement in the cleanliness of the buildings. All over the hospital the change was apparent as the C.P.S. men all proved to be dependable and on the job at all times. They not only did the jobs asked of them, but more in most cases.”


--Taken from The Seagull, a publication of camp #85. In ";The Seagull,'" folder 14/63, series IX-13-1. MCC Records Collection, Akron, PA.