Dr Carleton Simon

Dr Carleton Simon
Psychiatrist, Criminologist and Advisor


Well-known psychiatrist and criminologist, who acted as an advisor to the MPPDA on the representation of crime in moviton pictures between 1928 and 1938. In 1901, he conducted a study of Leon Czolgosz, the man who assassinated President William McKinley. From 1920 to 1926 he was Special Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of the New York City Narcotics Bureau, where he was responsible for a significant increase in the number of drug-related arrests in the city and became a minor celebrity as a result of his personal participation in drug and Prohibition raids. A socialite and celebrity, Subsequently, Carleton sought to apply psychiatric knowledge to understand the workings of the criminal brain, developing an early, and subsequently discredited, theory of neurocriminology. He also made a contribution to early forensic science by devising new methods to identify criminals, and advocated universal, compulsory fingerprinting He was the first person to propose, in 1935, the use of retinal scans for identification. A socialite, champion angler and surfer, and celebrity, Simon publicly opposed the death penalty, and rehabilitation of criminals.

Image caption: Dr. Carleton Simon demonstrating the method of photographing veins in the eyes as a means of the identification of criminals. Image: Popular Science, 1939.

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