Abraham Halpern

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This article is about the American psychiatrist. For the American linguist, see Abraham M. Halpern.

Dr. 'Abraham L. Halpern was a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at New York Medical College and former president of The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

In 1962, Halpern was the lead figure in the attack on Thomas Szasz's ideas in court. At the time, he was medical commissioner of mental health for Onondaga County, New York and a faculty member of the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center. In many ways Halpern agreed with the deficiencies of indefinite commitment of patients on charges of insanity, but he was more interested in defending his profession and the money governments gave to it and so aided Assistant District Attorney Jack Schultz in a free ranging attack on Szasz.[1]

Dr. Halpern has been a member of the UN Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, representing both the International Council of Prison Medical Services and the World Psychiatric Association.

Halpern is a Board member of Friends of Falun Gong, USA.[2] Halpern is also a very strong opponent of the death penalty; he has written extensively on the subject of physician participation in executions.[3] Halpern has also spoke out in defense of the curiative benefits of psychoanalysis.[4] Halpern has advocated for the abolition of the insanity defense[5]


  • In 2000 Dr. Halpern was given the Human Rights Award from the American Psychiatric Association.[6]
  • In 2003 he received the Medical Society State of New York's President's Citizenship Award.[7]

Published works[edit]

  • 'Soviet Psychiatry:An Exchange' (1989)
  • Sweet Auburn: Recollections of a Prison Psychiatrist. (Frank Nesbit, 1999).
  • 'The Culture of Control' (2003)


External links[edit]