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should you think most likely to return immediately to habits be entered with horror, and quitted with earnest reso. of labour on their own account? The dispositions of all men lution never to return to such misery; with that deep
: anu quated with earnest reso. are not alike; but my opinion is this, if they are kept and disci-l impression. in short, of the evil which breaks out into are not alike; but my opinion is this re... Positions of all men lution never tor plined according to the rules of the prison, and have no labour, i that one month will do more than six: I am certain that a perpetual warming and exhortation to others. This man who is kept here without labour once, will not be very great point effected, all other reformation must do the ready to come here again.'--Evidence before the Committee of greatest good. the House of Commons, pp. 398, 399.
There are some very sensible observations upon this Mr. Gurney and Mr. Buxton both lay a great stress
point in Mr. Holford's book, who upon the whole has, upon the quiet and content of prisoners, upon their
we think, best treated the subject of prisons, and best subordination and the absence of all plans of escape ;
understands them. but, where the happiness of prisoners is so much con. In former times, men were deterred from pursuing the road sulted, we should be much more apprehensive of a that led to a prirou, by the apprehension of encountering there conspiracy to break into, than to break out of.orison. disease and hunger, of being loaded with lieavy irons, and of The mob outside may, indeed, envy the wicked ones
remaining without clothes to cover them, or a bed to lie on; within ; but the felon who has left, perhaps, a scold. the inmates of a prison from these hardships; but there is no
we have done no more than what justice required in relieving ing wife, a battered cottage, and six starving children, reason that they should be freed from the fear of all other sufhas no disposition to escape from regularity, sufficient ferings and privations. And I hope that those whose duty it is food, employment which saves him money, warmth, to take up the consideration of these subjects, will see, that in ventilation, cleanliness, and civil treatment. These
Penitentiaries, offenders should be subjected to separate consymptoms, upon which these respectable and excellent finement, accompanied by such work as may be found consismen lay so much stress, are by no means proof's to us
tent with that system of imprisonnent; that in jails or houses that prisons are placed upon the best possible footing the law has enjoined; and that, in prisons of both descriptions,
of correction, they should perform that kind of labour which The governor of Bury jail, as well as Mr. Gurney, instead of being allowed to cater for themselves, they should insist much upon the few prisoners who return to the be sustained by such food as the rules and regulations of tho jail a second time, the manufacturing skill which they establishment should have provided for them; in short, that acquire there, and the complete reformation of man. prisons should be considered as places of punishment, and not ners, for which the prisoner has afterwards thanked as scenes of cheerful industry, where a compromise must bo him the governor. But this is not the real criterion
made with the prisoner's uppetite to make him do the common of the excellence of a jail, nor the principal reason
work of a journeyman or manufacturer, and the labours of
the spinning-wheel and the loom must be alleviated by indulwhy jails were instituted. The great point is, not the
gence.'* average recurrence of the same prisoners ; but the paucity or frequency of commitmenis, upon the whole. / This is good sound sense; and it is a pity that it is You may make a jail such an admirable place of edu. I preceded by the usual nonsense about 'the tide of blas. cation, that it may cease to be infamous to go there. phemy and sedition.' If Mr. Holford is an observer of Mr. Holford tells ús (and a very curious anecdote it tides and currents, whence comes it that he observes is), that parents actually accuse their children falsely only those which set one way? Whence comes it of crimes, in order to get them into the Philanthropic that he says nothing of the tides of canting and hypoCharity! and that it is consequently a rule with the crisy, which are flowing with such rapidity ?-of abgovernors of that Charity never to receive a child up-ject political baseness and sycophancy-of the dispo. on the accusation of the parents alone. But it is quite sition so prevalent among Englishmen, to sell their obvious what the next step will be, if the parents conscience and their country to the Marquis of Loncannot get their children in by fibbing. They will donderry for a living for the second son—or a silk gown take good care that the child is really qualified for the for the nephew-or for a frigate for my brother the Philanthropic, by impelling him to those crimes which are the passport to so good an education.
* That I am guilty of no exaggeration in thus describing a
prison conducted upon the principles now coming into fashion, If, on the contrary, the offender is to be punished simply will be evident to any person who will turn to the latter part by being placed in a prison, where he is to be well lodged, of the article, “Penitentiary, Millbank,” in Mr. Buxton's well clothed, and well fed, to be instructed in reading and Book on Prisons. He there states what passed in conversawriting, to receive a moral and religious education, and to be tion between himself and the governor of Bury jail, (which brought up to a trade; and if this prison is to be within the jail, by the bye, he praises as one of the three best prisons he reach of the parents, so that they may occasionally visit their has ever seen, and strongly recommends to our imitation at child, and have the satisfaction of knowing, from time to time, Millbank). Having observed, that the governor of Bury jail that all these advantages are conferred upon him, and that he had mentioned his having counted 34 spinning-wheels in full is exposed to no hardships, although the confinement and the activity when he left that jnil at 5 o'clock in the morning on discipline of the prison may be irksome to the boy ; yet the the preceding day, Mr. Buxton proceeds as follows:-“After parents may be apt to congratulate themselves on having got he had seen the Millbank Penitentiary, I asked him what him off their hands into so good a berth, and may be considered would be the consequence, if the regulations there used were by other parents as having drawn a prize in the lottery of adopted by him?” “The consequence would be," he replied, human life by their son's conviction. This reasoning is not that every wheel would be stopped,” Mr. Buxton then adds, theoretical, but is founded in some degrec upon experience. “I would not be considered as supposing that the prisoners Those who have been in the habit of attending the committee will altogether refuse to work at Millbank-they will work of the Philanthropic Society know, that parents have often ac- during the stated hours, but the present incentive being wantcused their children of crimes falsely, or have exaggerated ing, the labour will, I apprehend, be languid and desultory." their real offences, for the sake of inducing that society to I shall not, on my part, undertake to say that they will do as take them; and so frequent has been this practice, that it is a much work as will be done in those prisons in which work is rule with those who manage that institution, never to receive the primary object; but, besides the encouragement of the an object upon the representation of its parents, unless sup- portion of earnings laid up for them, they know that diligence ported by other strong testimony.'-Holford, pp. 44,45. is among the qualities that will recommend them to the mercy
of the crown, and that the want of it is, by the rules and reguIt is quite obvious that, if men were to appear again, lations of the prison, an ofience to be punished. The governor six months after they were hanged, handsomer, richer, of Bury jail, who is a very intelligent man, must have spoken and more plump than betore execution, the gallows hastily, in his eagerness to support his own system, and did would cease to be an object of terror. But here are not, I conceive, give himself credit for as much power and aumen who come out of jail, and say, « Look at us. thority in his prison as he really possesses. It is not to be
wondered at, that the kecpers of prisons should like the new we can read and write, we can make baskets and
system: there is less trouble in the care of a manufactory thaa shoes, and we went in ignorant of every thing: and
in that of a jail; but I am surprised to find that so much reliwe have learnt to do without strong liquors, and have ance is placed in argument on the declaration of some of these no longer any objection to work; and we did work in officers, that the prisoners are quieter where their work is enthe jail, and have saved money, and here it is." couraged, by allowing them to spend a portion of their earnWhat is there of terror and detriment in all this? and ings. It may naturally be expected, that offenders will be how are crimes to be lessened if they are thus re. I least discontented, and consequently least turbulent, where warded? Of schools there cannot be too many. Pe
their punishment is lightest, or where, to use Mr. Buxton's owo
words, “by making labour productive of comfort or conven vitentiaries, in the hands of wise men, may be ren- Lience.'vou do much towards rendering it agreeable ;" but dered excellent institutions; but a prison must be a must be permitted to doubt, whether these are the prisons of prison-a place of sorrow and wailing; which should I which men will live in most dead.'-Holford, pp. 78-80
captain? How comes our loyal carcerist to forget all! To this system of severity in jails there is but one these sorts of tides?
| objection. The present duration of punishments was There is a great confusion, as the law now stands, calculated for prisons conducted upon very different in the government of jails. The justices are empow. principles ;-and if the discipline of prisons was ren. ered, by several statutes, to make subordinate regula-dered more strict, we are not sure that the duration of tions for the government of the jails ; and the sheriff imprisonment would then be quite atrocious and dissupersedes those regulations. Their respective juris- proportioned. There is a very great disposition, both dictions and powers should be clearly arranged. in judges and magistrates to increase the duration of
The female prisoners should be under the care of a imprisonment; and if that is done, it will be dreadful matron, with proper assistants. Where this is not cruelty to increase the bitterness as well as the time. he case, the female part of the prison is often a mere We should think, for instance, six months' s brothel tor the turnkeys. Can any thing be so repug. imprisonment to be a punishment of dreadful severity; nant to all ideas of reformation, as a male turnkey but we find, from the House of Commons' report, that visiting a solitary female prisoner? Surely, women prisoners are sometimes committed by county magi. can take care of women as effectually as men can take strates for two years* of solitary confinement. And care of men ; or, at least, women can do so pr
an do so properly, so it may be doubted, whether it is not better to wrap assisted by men. This want of a matron is a very up the rod in flannel, and make it a plaything, as it scandalous and immoral neglect in any prison system. really now is, ihan to show how it may be wielded
The presence of female visitors, and instructors for with effectual severity. For the pupil, instead of giv. the women, is so obviously advantageous and proper, ing one or two stripes, will whip his patient to death. that the offer of forming such an institution must bé But if this abuse were guarded against, the real way gladly and thankfully received by any body of magis- to improve would be, now we have made our prisons trates. That they should feel any jealousy of such healthy and airy, to make them odious and austereinterference, is too absurd a supposition in be made or engines of punishment, and objects of terror. agreed upon. Such interference may not effect all! In this age of charity and of prison improvement, that zealous people suppose it will effect ; but, if it there is one aid to prisoners which appears to be does any good, it had better be.
wholly overlooked ; and that is, the means of regula. Irons should never be put upon prisoners before ting their defence, and providing them witnesses for trial; after trial, we cannot object to the humiliation their trial. A man is tried for murder, or for houseand disgrace which irons and a particoloured prison breaking, or robbery, without a single shilling in his dress occasion. Let them be a part of solitary con- pocket. The nonsensical and capricious institutions finement, and let the words Solitary Confinement,' of the English law prevent him from engaging counsel in the sentence, imply permission to use them. The to speak in his defence, if he had the wealth of Cresus; judge then knows what he inflicts.
but he has no money to employ even an attorney, or We object to the office of prison inspector, for rea to procure a single witness, or to take out a subpæ. sons so very obvious, that it is scarcely necessary to na. The judge, we are told, is his counsel ;-this is enumerate them. The prison inspector would, of sufficiently absurd ; but it is not pretended that the course, have a good salary; that in England is never judge is his witness. He solemnly declares that he omitted. It is equally matter of course that he would has three or four witnesses who could give a combe taken from among treasury retainers ; and that he pletely different colour to the transaction ; but they never would look at a prison. Every sort of attention are sixty or seventy miles distant, working for their should be paid to the religious instruction of these daily bread, and have no money for such a joumey, nnhappy people ; but the poor chaplain should be nor for the expense of a residence of some days in paid a little better ;-every possible duty is expected an assize town. They do not from him-and he has one hundred per annum. of the assize, nor the modes of tendering their eri.
Whatever money is given to prisoners, should be dence if they should come. When everything is so lodged with the govemor for their benefit, to be apo well marshalled against him on the opposite side, plied as the visiting magistrates point out--no other it would be singular if an innocent man, with such donations should be allowed or accepted.
an absence of all means of defending himself, should If voluntary work before trial, or compulsory work not occasionally be hanged or transported: and ac. after trial, is the system of a prison, there should be cordingly we believe that such things have happened.f a task-master; and it should be remembered, that the Let any man, immediately previous to the assizes vi. principal object is not profit.
sit the prisoners for trial, and see the many wretches Wardsmen, selected in each yard among the best who are to answer to the most serious accusations, of the prisoners, are very serviceable. It prisoners without one penny to defend themselves. If it apwork, they should work in silence. At all times, the peared probable, upon inquiry, that these poor crea. restrictions upon seeing friends should be very severe; tures had important evidence which they could not and no food should be sent from friends.
bring into court for want of money, would it not be a Our general system then is that a prison should be wise application of compassionate funds, to give them a place of real punishment; but of known, enacted, this fair chance of establishing their innocence? It measurable, and measured punishment. A prisoner seems to us no bad finale of the pious labours of those (not for assault, or refusing to pay parish dues, but a who guard the poor from ill treatment during their bad felonious prisoner), should pass a part of his three imprisonment, to take care that they are not unjustly months in complete darkness ; the rest in complete hanged at the expiration of the term. solitude, perhaps in complete idleness, (for solitary idleness' leads to repentance, idleness in company to * House of Commons' Report, 355. vice). He should be exempted from cold, be kept | From the Cromwell Advertiser it appears, that John perfectly clean, have food sufficient to prevent hunger Brien, alias Captain Wheeler, was found guilty of murder at or illness, wear the prison dress and moderate irons, the late assizes for the county of Waterford. Previous to his have no communicati with ar
ut the officers executi
execution he made the following confession: of the prison and the magistrates, and remain other
I now again most solemnly aver, in the presence of that
God by whom I will soon be judged, and who sees tre secrets wise in the most perfect solitude. We strongly sus.
* of my heart, that only three, viz. Morgan Brien, Patrick pect this is the way in which a bad man is to be made Bri
nade Brien, and my unfortunate self, committed the horrible crimes afraid of prisons ; nor do we think that he would be of murder and burning at Ballygarron, and the four unfortuless inclined to receive moral and religious instruction, nate men who have before suffered for them, were not in the than any one of seven or eight carpenters in jail, smallest degree accessary to them. I have been the cause for working at a common bench, receiving a part of their which they have innocently suffered death. I have contracted earnings, and allowed to purchase with them the deli. a death of justice with them--and the only and least restito
tion I can make them is, thus publi:ly, solemnly, and with cacies of the season. If this system is not resorted to
death befor my eyes, to acqu.t their memory of any guilt in the next best system is severe work, ordinary diet, the crimes for which I deservedly suffer!!!!-Philanthropist no indulgences, and as much seclusion and solitude as No. 6. 208. are compatible with work ;-always remarking, that
Percunt et imputantur, perfect sanity of mind and body are to be preserved. |
ment may be dest
PRISONS. (EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1822.) have made some progress in the art of teaching him
who has done wrong, to do so no more ; but there is 1. The Third Report of the Committee of the Society for the no proof that we have learnt the more important art,
Improvement of Prison Discipline, and for the Reformation of deterring those from doing wrong who are doubtof Jurenile Offenders. London, 1821.
ing whether they shall do it or not, and who, of 2 Remarks upon Prison Discipline, &c., &c., in a Letter addressed to the Lord Lieutenant and Magistrates of the
of the course, will be principally guided in their decision by County of Essen. By C. C. Western, Esq., M. P. London,
ndon, the sufferings of those who have previously yielded to 1821,
temptation. THERE never was a society calculated, upon the ciety, to which we can hardly give credit, not that
There are some assertions in the Report of the Sowhole. to do more good than the Society for the Im- we have the slightest suspicion of any intentional provement of Prison Discipline; and, hitherto, it has misrepresentation, but that we believe there must be been conducted with equal energy and prudence. If some unintentional error. now, or hereafter, therefore, we make any criticisms on their proceedings, these must not be ascribed to The Ladies' Committees visiting Newgate and the Boany deficiency of good will or respect. We may dif. rough Compter, have continued to devote themselves to the fer from the society in the means_our ends, we are improvement of the female prisoners, in a spirit worthy of proud to say, are the same.
their enlightened zeal and Christian charity. The beneficial In the improvement of prisons, they consider the effects of their exertions have been evinced by the progressive
decrease in the number of female prisoners recommitted small number of recommitments as the great test of amelioration. Upon this subject we have ventured to no less than 40 per cent.'
which has diminished, since the visits of the ladies to Newgate, differ from them in a late number; and we see no reason to alter our opinion. It is a mistake, and a very | That is, that Mrs. Fry and her friends have reserious and fundamental mistake, to suppose that the claimed forty women out of every hundred, who, but principal object in jails is the reformation of the of. for them, would have reappeared in jails. Nobody fender. The principal object undoubtedly is, to pre. admires and respects Mrs. Fry more than we do ; but vent the repetition of the offence by the punishment this fact is scarcely credible : and, if accurate, ought, of the offender; and, therefore, it is quite possible to in justice to the reputation of the Society and its real conceive that the offender himself may be so kindly, interests, to have been thoroughly substantiated by gently, and agreeably led to reformation, by the et names and documents. The ladies certainly lay claim forts of good and amiable persons, that the effect of to no such extraordinary success in their own "Report the
he same time quoted in the Appendix; but speaking with becoming that the punished may be improved. A prison may modesty and moderation of the result of their labours. lose its terror and discredit, though the prisoner may
The enemies of all these reforms accuse the reformers of return from ii a better scholar, a better artificer, and enthusiasm and exaggeration. It is of the greatest a better man. The real and only test, in short, of a possible consequence, therefore, that their stategood prison system is, the diminution of offences by ments should be correct, and their views practical; the terror of the punishment. If it can be shown and that all strong assertions should be supported by that, in proportion as attention and expense have been strong documents. The English are a calm, reflectemployed upon the improvement of prisons, the num. ing people; they will give time and money when they ber of commitments has been diminished, this in- are convinced; but they love dates, names, and certi. deed would be a convincing proof that such care and ficates. In the midst of the most heart-rending narraattention were well employed. But the very reverse tives, Bull requires the day of the month, the year of is the case ; the number of commitments within these our Lord, the name of the parish, and the counterlast ten years having nearly doubled all over Eng. sign of three or four respectable householders. Af. land.
ter these affecting circumstances, he can no longer The following are stated to be the committals in hold out ; but gives way to the kindness of his na. Norfolk county gaol. From 1796 to 1815, the number ture-puffs, blubbers, and subscribes! averaged about 80.
A case is stated in the Hertford house of correction,
which so much more resembles the sudden conver. In 1816 it was 134
sions of the Methodist Magazine, than the slow and 1817 . 142
uncertain process by which repentance is produced in 1818 159
real life, that we are a little surprised the society 161
should have inserted it. 1820 . 223.- Report, p. 57.
"Two notorious poachers, no less than bad men, were comIn Staffordshire, the commitments have gradually mitted for three months, for not paying the penaliy after conincreased from 195 in 1815, to 443 in 1820—though the viction, but who, in consequen inil has been built since Howard's time. at an expense good conduct, were, at the intercession of the clergyman of the of 30.0001.- Report, p. 67.) In Wiltshire, in a pri.parish, released before the expiration of their term of punish
ment. Upon leaving the house of correction, they declared son which has cost the county 40,0001., the commit.
that they had been completely brought to their senses-spoke ments have increased from 207 in 1817, to 504 in 1821. with gratitude of the benefit they had derived from the advice Within this period, to the eternal scandal and disgrace of the chaplain, and promised, upon their return to the parish, of our laws, 378 persons have been committed for that they would go to their minister, express their thanks for Game offences-constituting a sixth part of all the his interceding for them; and moreover that they would for persons committed ;-so much for what our old friend, the future attend their duty regularly at church. It is pleaMr. Justice Best, would term the unspeakable advan: smg to add, that these promises have been faithfully fulfilled.' tages of country gentlemen residing upon their own-APP. 10 1 hire Report, Pp. 23, 30. property!
Such statements prove nothing, but that the clergy. * When the Committee was appointed in the county man who makes them is an amiable man, and proba. of Essex, in the year 1818, to take into consideration bly a college tutor. Their introduction, however, in the state of the jail and house of correction, they the Report of a society depending upon public opinion found that the number of prisoners annually commit- for success, is very detrimental. . ted had increased, within the ten preceding years, It is not fair to state the recommitments of one pri. from 559 to 1993; and there is little doubt (adds Mr. son, and compare them with those of another, perhaps Western) of this portion being a tolerable specimen very differently circumstanced,--the recommitments, of the whole kingdom. We are far from attributing for instance, of a county jail, where offences are gene. this increase solely to the imperfection of prison dis- rally of serious magnitude, with those of a borough, cipline. Increase of population, new statutes, the ex- where the most trilling faults are punished. The im tension of the breed of pheasants, landed and mercan-portant thing would be, to give a table of recommit. tile distress, are very operative causes. But the in- ients, in the same prison, for a series of years, the crease of commitments is a stronger proof against the average of recommitments, for example, every five present state of prison discipline, than the decrease years in each prison for twenty years past. If the of recommitments is in its favour. We may possibly society can obtain this, it will be a document of some
importance, (though of less perhaps than they would sable portion of the looms are of the prisoners' own manufacture, consider it to be). At present they tell us, ihat the In one month, an experienced workman will be able to eari average of recommitments in certain prisons is 3 per the cost of his gaol allowance of food. Weaving has these cent. ; in certain other prisons 5 per cent.: but what
| advantages over other prison labour : the noise of the shuttle
prevents conversation, and the progress of the work constanty were they twenty years ago in the same prison ! requires the eye. The accounts of this prison, contained in the what were they five years ago ? If recommitments Appendix, deserve particular attention, as there appears to be are to be the test, we must know whether these are a balance of clear profit to the county, from the labour of the becoming, in any giren prison, more or less frequent, prisoners, in the year, of 13981. 98. ld. This sum we, earned before we can deterinine whether that prison is better by weaving and cleaning cotton only; the prisoners being beor worse governed than formerly. Recommitments sides employed mi tailoring, whitewashing, hugging, slaung, will of course be more numerous where prisoners are
painting, carpentering, and labourers' work, the earnings of
which are not included in the above account.'-Third Report, received from large towns, and from the resorts of
pp. 21, 22. soldiers and sailors; because it is in these situations At Worc that we may expect the most hardened offenders. admirable. Every article of dress worn by the prisonere is The different nature of the two soils which grow the made from the raw material: sacking and bags are the only crines, must be considered before the produce gath. articles made for sale.-16. p. 3. ered into prisons can be justly compared.
In iany prisons, the instruction of the prisoners in reading The quadruple column of the state of prisons for have been formed at Bedford, Durham, Chelmsford, W
and writing has been attended with excellent effects. Schools each year, is a very useful and important document: chester. Hereford, Maidstone, Leicester house of correction, and we hope, in time, the society will give us a gene. Shrewsbury, Warwick, Worcester, &c. Much valuable 28 ral and particular table of commitments and recom- sistance has been derived in this department from the labours mitinents carried back for twenty or thirty years ; so of respectable individuals, especially females, acting uader that the table may contain (of Gloucester jail, for in the sanction of magistrates, and direction of the chaplain.' stance), Ist, the greatest number it can contain ; 2dly,
Ib. pp. 30, 31. the greatest number it did contain at any one period
We again enter our decided protest against these in each year; 3dly, its classification ; 4thly, the great. est number committed in any given year; 5thly, four hers
modes of occupation in prisons; they are certainly
| better than mere idleness spent in society ; but they averages of five years each, taken from the twenty:
are not the kind of occupations which render prisons vears preceding, and stating the greatest number of terrible. We would banish all the looms of Presion comunitments ; 6thly, the greatest number of recommitments in the year under view; and four averages
jail, and substitute nothing but the tread-wheel, or the of recommitments, inade in the same manner as the
capstan, or some other species of labour where the la
bourer could not see the results of his loil, where it average of the commitments; and then totals at the bottom of the columns. Tables so constructed would
was as monotonous, irksome, and dull as possible,
pulling and pushing, instead of reading and writing throw great light upon the nature and efficacy of im.
me to share of the profits--not a single shilling. There prisonment.
should be no tea and sugar, no assemblage of female We wish the society would pay a little more atten.
felons round the washing-tub,-nothing but beating tion to the question of solitary imprisonment, both in
hemp, and pulling oakum, and pounding bricks, --io darkness and in light; and to the extent to which it
work but what was tedious, unusual, and unfeminine. may be carried. Mr. Western las upon this subject Man.
ubject Man, woman, boy and girl, should all leave the jail, some ingenious ideas.
unimpaired indeed in health, but heartily wearied or “It appears to me, that, if relieved from these impediments, their residence; and taught, by sad experience, to and likewise from any idea of the necessity of making the consider it as the greatest misfortune of their lives to labour of prisoners profitable, the detail of corrective prison return to it. We have the strongest belief that the discipline would not be difficult for anybody to chalk out. I
present lenity of jails, the education carried on there would first premnise, that the only punishment for refractory
-the cheerful assemblage of workmen-the indul. conduct, or any misbehaviour in the gaol, should, in my opinion, be solitary confinement; and that, instead of being in i dark gence in diet-the shares of earnings enjoyed by pn. hole, it should be in some part of the house where they could soners, are one great cause of the astonishingly rapid fully see the light of day; and I am not sure that it might not increase ot cominitments. be desirable in some cases, if possible, that they should see the Mr. Western, who entirely agrees with us upon these surrounding country and moving objects at a distance, and points, has the following judicious observations upon everything that man delights in, removed at the same time
the severe system: from any intercourse or word or look with any human being, and quite out of the reach of being themselves seen. I consi
It may bo imagined by some persons, that the rules here der such continement would be a punishment very severe, and
i prescribed, are too severe; but such treatment is, in my calculated to produce a far better effect than darkness. All
| opinion, the tenderest mercy, compared with that indulgence the feelings that are good in men would be much more likely
which is so much in practice, and which directly tends to ruin, to be kept alive; the loss of liberty, and all the blessings of
instead of saving its unfortunate victim. This severity it is, life which honesty will insure, more deeply to be felt. There
which in truth forms the sole effective means which imprisonswould uot be so inuch danger of any delinquent sinking into
ment gives; only one mitigation therefore, if such it may be that state of sullen, insensible condition, of incorrigible obxti
termed, can be admissible, and that is, simply to shorten the nacy, which sometimes occurs. If he does under those circum
duration of the imprisonment. The sooner the prisoner comes stances, we have a right to keep him out of the way of mis
out the better, if fully impressed with dread of what he has chiet, and let him there remain. But I believe such solitary
sullered, and communicates information to his frieuds what confinements as I have described, with scanty fare, would very
hy they may expect if they get there. It appears to me, indeed, rarely fail of its effects.'-Western's Remarks, pp. 59, 60.
that one great and primary object we ought to have in view There is a good deal in this; it is well worth the is, generally to shorten the duration of imprisonment, at the trial; and we hope the society will notice it in their same time we make it such a priniehunent as is likely to deter.
correct, and reform; shorten the duration of imprisonment next report.
before trial, which we are called upon, by every principle o! It is very difficult to hit upon degrees; but we can moral and political justice, to do; shorten also the duration of not help thinking the society lean too much to a sy's imprisonment after trial, by the means here described; and I tem of indulgence and education in jails. We shall be am certain our prisons would soon lose, or rather would never very glad to see them more stern and Spartan in their see, half the number of their present inhabitants. The long discipline. They recommend work, and even hard duration of imprisonment, where the discipline is less severe.
renders it perfectly familiar, and, in consequence, not only work; but they do not insist upon it, that the only
destitute of any useful influeuce, but obviously productive of work done in jails by felons should be hard, dull, and
the worst effects; yet this is the present practice; and I think, uninteresting; they do not protest against the conver. indeed, criminals are now seutenced to a longer period of consion of jails into schools and manufactories. Look, fine
finement than formerly. for example, to Preston house of correction.
• The deprivation of liberty certainly is a punishment under
any circumstances; but the system generally pursued in our Preston house of correction is justly distinguished by the gaols might rather be considered as a palliative of that punindustry which prevails. Here an idlo hand is rarely to be ishment, than to make it effectual to any good purpose. An found. There were lately 150 looms in full employ, from each idle life, society unrestrained, with associates of similar habits, of which the average weekly earnings are 58. About 150 better fare and lodgings in many cases, and in few, if any, pieces of cotton goods are worked off per week. A consider. 'worse than falls to the lot of the hard working and industrious
ptasant; and very often much better than the prisoners were | vent their duty becoming too arduous or irksome. Their In the enjoyment of before they were apprehended.
situation is not pleasant, and their responsibility is great. I do not know what could be devised more agreeable to An able and attentive governor, who exccutes all his anduall the different classes of offenders than this sort of treat- ous duties with unremitting real and fidelity, is a most ment: the old hardened sinner, the juvenile offender, or the valuable public servant, and entitled to the greatest res, ect. idle vagabond, who runs away and leaves a sick wife and He must be a man of no ordinary capacity, with a liberal family to be provided for by his parish, alike have little or and comprehensive mind, posewing a contiol over his own no apprehension, at present, of any imprisonment to which passions, firm, and undaunted, a character that commands they may be sentenced; and thus are the most effective from those under him, instinctively, as it were, jeject and means we possess to correct and reform rendered totally regard. In vain are our bu.Idings, and rules, and regulaunavailable, and even perverted, to the more certain ruin tions, if the choice of the governor is not made an object of those who might be restored to society good and valuable of primary and moni solicitous attention and consideration. members of it.
•It does not a car to me necessary for the juisoners to "There are, it is true, various occupations now introduced have more than three hours lei uie, inclusive of meal-times; into many prisons, but which, I contess, I think of very and I am convinced the clo e of the day must be in solitude. little use; drawing and preparing straws, ulatting, knitting, Eight or ten hours will have jassed in com; any with their headiny pins, &c., weaving, and working at a trade even, fellow prisoners of the same class for I am rezining that as it is generally carried on-prisoners coaxed to the per a separate compartment of the workhouse will be allotted formance of it, the ta-k easy, the reward immediate-afford to each) where, though they cannot associate to enjoy sorather the means of passing away the time agreeably. ciety as they would wish, no uloom of solitude can ojiess These occupations are indeed better than absolute idleness, them: there is more danger even thien of too close an innotwithstanding that imprisonment may be rendered less tercourse and conversation, though a seady cure is in that irksome thereby, I am far from denying the advantage, case to be found by a wheel jut in motion, the noise of still less would I be supposed to derogate from the merits of which speedily overcomes the voice. Pome time after those who, with every feeling of humanity, and with inde- Saturday night should be allowed to them, more, articularly fatigable pains, in many instances, have established such to cleanse themselves and their clothes, and they should means of employment; and some of them for women, with have a bath, cold or warm, if necesary; and on the Sun. Washing, &c., amount to hard labour; but I contend that, day they should be drested in their best clothes, and the day for men, they are applicable only to a house of industry, should be sent wholly in the chanel, the cell, and the airand by no means suited to the corrective discipline which ing-ground; the latter in presence of a day-watchman, as I should be found in a prison Individuals are sent here to have described to be in practice at Warwick. I say nothing
be punished, and for that sole purpose; in many cases for about teaching to read, write, work, &c. &c.; any jro orI crimes which have induced the forteiture of life: they are tion of time necessary for any ureful, unyoze may bej ar
not sent to be educated, or apprenticed to a trade. The ed from the hours of labour or of iet, at cording to circumhorrors of dungeon imprisonment, to the credit of the age, stances; but I do not jlace any reliance upon improvement no longer exist. But if no cause of dread is substituted, by in any branch of education : they would not, indeed, be what indication of common sense is it that we send crimi- there long enough. All I want then to learn is, that there nals there at all? If prisons are to be made into places in exists the means of punishment for crime, and be fully imwhich persons of both sexes and all ages may be well fed, pressed with dread or rejetition of what they have underclothed, lodged, educated, and taught a trade, where they gone; and a short time will utlice for that, urpore. Now, may find pleasant society, and are required not to take heed if each successive day is sent in this manner, can it be for the morrow, the present inhabitants should be turned doubted that the frequent commission of crime would be out, and the most deserving and industrious of our poorest checked, and more done to deter, correct, and reform, than fellow-subjects should be invited to take their place, which could be accomplished by any other unishment! AjeI have no doubt they would be eager to do.'-Western, riod of such discipline, longer or shorter, according to ihe 1. 13-17.
nature of the oftence, would :urely be sufficient for any vi
Tolation of the law short of murder, or that descri; tion of In these sentiments we most cordially agree. They outrage which is likely to lead on to the jenetration of it. are well worth the most serious attention of the so. This sort of treatment is not to be overcome: it cannot be ciety.
braved, or laughed at, or disregarded by any force of aniThe following is a sketch from Mr. Western's book | mal spirits, however strong or vigorous of mind or body of what a prison life should be. It is impossible to
the individual may be. The dull, unvarying course of hard write with more good sense, and a more thorough so vainfully irksome, and so wear and distress him, that he
labour, with hard fare and seclusion, must in time become knowledge of the subject.
will inevitably, in the end, be subdued.'-Western, p. 64 • The operations of the day should begin with the greatest
-69. punctuality at a given hour; and, as soon as the prisoners There is nothing in the Report of the Prison Society have risen from their beds, they should be, according to so good as this. their several classes, marched to the workhouses, where The society very properly observe upon the badness they should be kept to hard labour two hours at least; from thence they should be taken back to wash, shave, comb,
of town jails, and the necessity for their suppression. and clean themselves: thence to the chapel to hear a short Most towns cannot spare the funds necessary for build. prayer, or the governor or deputy should read to them in ing a good jail. Shopkeepers cannot spare the time their respective day-rooms; and then their breakfast, which for its superintendence; and hence it happens that may, altogether, occupy an hour and a half or more. Itown jails are almost always in a disgraceful state.have stated, in a former part of my letter, that the hours of The society frequently allude to the diffusion of tracts, meals and leisure should be in solitude, in the sleeping cellslif education is to be continued in jails, and tracts are of the prison; but I presume, for the moment, this may not always be practicable. I will therefore consider the
to be dispersed, we cannot help lamenting that the case as if the classes assembled at meal times in the different tracts, though full of good principles, are so intolera. day-rooms. After breakfast they should return to hard bly stupid-and all apparently constructed upon the labour for three or four hours, and then take another hour supposition, that a thief or a peccant ploughman are for dinner; labour after dinner two or three hours, and interior in common sense to a boy of five years old.their supper given them to eat in solitude in their sleeping The story generally is, tbat a labcurer with six chila cells. “This marching backwards and forwards to chapel and
dren has nothing to live upon but mouldy bread and mill-house. &c., may appear objectionable, but it has not dirty water ; yet nothing can exceed his cheerfulness been so revresented to me in the prisons where it actually and content--no murmurs-No discontent ; of mutton now takes place; and it is, to my apprehension, materially he has scarcely heard--of bacon be never dreams :useful in many respects. The object is to keep the prisoners furfurous bread and the water of the rool constitute in a state of constant motion, so that there shall be no his food, establish his felicity, and excite his warmest lounging time or loitering, which is always favourable to gratitude. The squire or raison of the rarish always mi-chiet or cabal. For the same reason it is I propose two
happens to be walking by, and overbears him praying hour:' labour the moment they are up, and before washing, &c., that there may be no time lost. and that they may be for the king and the members for the county, and for gin the day by a portion of labour, which will tend to keep all in authority; and it generally ends with their ofthem quiet and obedient the remainder of it. Each interval fering him a shilling, which this excellent man de. for meal, thus occurring between labour hours, has also a clares he does not want, and will not accept! These tendency to render the mischief of intercourse less pro- are the pamphlets which Goodies and Noodles are bable, and at the same time the evening association, which
dispersing with unwearied diligence. It would be a Is most to be apprehended in this respect, is entirely cut off. The frequent moving of the prisoners from place to place
great blessing if some genius would arise who had a keeps the governor and sub-ollicers of the prison in a simi
talent of wri
r. He would be of more lar state of activity and attention, which is likewise of value than many poets living upon the banks of lakes advantage, though their numbers should be such as to pre-l-or even (though we think highly of ourselves) of