Modern readers unanimously find Doc's Crime College pretty creepy and sinister. It's a place where bad guys either get an operation to remove their memories, or are retrained psychologically to hate crime (exactly what the Crime College did wasn't that clear, and the hints varied on the novel). To modern eyes, the Crime College sounds like brainwashing, or a lobotomy, or both. It doesn't exactly help Doc keeps the place a secret.
Doc's Crime College crops up in other places in pop culture, never taken at face value, usually to talk about how disturbing the implications of it are. The B-Mod devices in "Squadron Supreme" were based on it, as was the memory wipe for criminals on Babylon 5. And the Crime College is immortalized in literature thanks to a mention in Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood."
I've always said the Crime College is the single most misunderstood element of the entire Doc Savage canon. It has to be understood in terms of the context it existed. In the 1930s, the Crime College seemed very modern; a humanitarian alternative to prison that emphasized true reform instead of punishment. There was a time when the brain, as an organ, wasn't all that understood and lobotomy seemed like a miracle cure for many disorders. Lobotomy was on the cutting edge (no pun intended), much like how we regard stem cell research today.
The Crime College seems like an extension of the rationalism of the Doc Savage stories, applied to behaviorism and ethics: criminal tendencies aren't due to "evil" or supernatural causes but bad upbringing and problems with the brain as an organ. Modern psychology bears this out: a good portion of violent criminals were abused as children, physically and sexually. This doesn't give them the right to harm innocent people – I'm just saying, it's very possible to create a very reasonable argument violent crime is solvable by psychological treatments. Could anything be more modernist?
Heck, maybe one of the most famous artists of the early 20th Century, Stanislav Szukalski, claimed that Communism, Facism, WWI and WWII were caused by a subrace of humans that bred with Yeti. He seriously believed this and he was NOT joking. Heck, he devoted a huge chunk of his obvious talent to showing evil people in history kind of look like Yeti if you squint hard enough.
And…c'mon, guys: you really think Doc Savage of all people, Abe Lincoln and Hippocrates in a ripped shirt, would actually lobotomize criminals? It's beyond his moral code. Something like that would make Doc, his world and heroism, look sinister and hypocritical.
I find the view the Crime College is some behavior modification to be untrue. It has to be understood in the context of its age: the belief in rational, compassionate, scientific reform methods that make prison and punitive methods obsolete, and a naïve attempt to understand human evil. I think we have to accept the Crime College at face value and not project suspicion on it..