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plete, that when occasionally a prisoner breaks out and offers violence, the officer who may be in danger is sure that the other prisoners will rally round him instead of aiding the aggressor. The worst thieves will be the foremost to the rescue; so deeply is it impressed on these children of selfish impulse, that within these walls it is always the prudent course to side with the powers that be. So much confidence do the more accomplished prison-officers possess in the command they have established over the class committed to their custody, that they are inclined to dispense with the apparatus of heavy stone cells, strong doors, bars, and stanchions, which have ever been considered the indispensable attributes of a prison, deeming them unnecessary for security where a vigilant and adequate system of discipline is established, and in their nature calculated to nourish in criminals an impression that they are more formidable beings than they really are. Fetters have been dispensed with along with the filth, the foul air, the damp, and the darkness which pervaded the old jail. Some people are disposed to sneer at the accurate cleanness of a well-kept prison; but while purification is essential to preserve health in confinement, it is no immediate comfort or boon to the degraded classes; it is rather irksome to them, unless it succeed, with the help of other things, in somewhat raising their tastes and habits. The technical accuracy with which prison dietary is adjusted by means of chemical analysis, excites the scorn of the "hater of humbug," who eats his muffin or his steak, and never asks whether it is nitrogenous or carbonaceous. But when we are free to choose our food, the animal instincts teach us, as they teach the beasts, to eat that which will nourish whatever calls for nourishment. When, on the other hand, the food of men is adjusted by others, they may be starved to death amidst abundance, by an omission to supply a chemical element necessary to the preservation of the frame. The adepts tell us that
a certain portion of nitrogenous matter is necessary to repair the waste of the tissues, and a corresponding quantity of carbonaceous matter for the maintenance of respiration; and until we can show that the scientific men are wrong in their conclusions, we must let them be acted on, to save the prisoners from physical degeneration.* It is found that hard labour can be carried to an extremely irksome extent without causing physical deterioration, and hence the "eternal grind" of the crank is now pretty extensively in practice. Easy couches, too, though extremely desirable things, may be refused to the prisoner without any risk of his deterioration, and hence the hard wooden guard-bed is substituted, to a limited extent, for the mattress and hammock. These are elements lately introduced into prison discipline. Their object is to make the criminal detest the prison, and it is believed that they have to a considerable degree accomplished this object. It is said that a great deal of cold may be borne by the human frame without deterioration, and here is another element of the disagreeable, which may be possibly applied to the office of making the prison a place still more odious.
Such, then, is our position. The outlets of transportation are very nearly totally blocked up by barriers which it is beyond our power at present to break down. Our prison discipline has done very little towards reformation, and practically nothing for the conversion of our systematic depredators into honest men and productive labourers. Indeed, it has been with some justice maintained that the reformatory school of prison discipline has sacrificed the deterring character of punishment for the achievement of impracticable projects of reformation, and a partial reaction has been gradually, as we have seen, increasing the afflictive character of our punishments. But at the same time, the more sagacious of the modern disciples of the reformatory school are abandoning their old field of labour, to take up a position be
*Whether they are right or wrong the reader will perhaps judge for himself, when he has perused the article on "Food and Drink" in this Number.-ED.
yond it. They admit that the coercive and afflictive elements of prison discipline are necessary. They know, at the same time, that these are bad coadjutors of reformation-a plant which requires a more genial and kindly soil. They find, too, that, while punishment may be a short piece of work, reformation must be the growth of years. They see that even the longer periods of imprisonment are not long enough for its growth; and that, after his six or twelve months of rigid bondage and irksome labour, the criminal is cast forth, frightened perhaps to incur the same ordeal, but with his heart rather hardened than mollified-his conscience as unscrupulous as ever, his wants and desires as imperative, his temptations as great, and the barriers in his path to honest industry more insuperable.
On this condition of matters has been founded the arrangement now undergoing an extensive experiment, for carrying the convict clear through the proper coercive punishment of his offence, and then submitting him to a long period of reformatory training before he is handed back to society. To this end the convict is, in the first place, to undergo an imprisonment, accompanied by the conditions which make that punishment penal and afflictive, without contaminating or deteriorating him. It is among the defects to be subtracted from the value of the separate system, that, for reasons already referred to, it affords little insight into the cha racter of the prisoner, or the conduct he is likely to exhibit when he next mixes with his kind. The outward conduct may be perfect, while the heart within is black as ever. Long separation, too, has its own peculiar influence on the habits, and it has been found eminently to unfit men for the proper adjustment of their conduct when they are suddenly thrown back into society. Hence, after this punishment has lasted for nine months or a year, the first step is taken to relax its rigour. Gradually the convicts, of course under rigorous inspection and strict control, are allowed to associate with each other at work and exercise, and step by step they are brought, before
their liberation, as close to the condition of a society of voluntary workmen as it is practicable and safe to bring them.
It will be at once clear, that by this course they will be put in possession of a means of well-doing which the old system could not give them; they will be so far trained as to be in the general case experienced and able workmen. When we send forth a common thief from prison, and tell him to make his bread honestly, we ask one who has shown more than the ordinary susceptibility to temptation, to show more than the ordinary firmness in resisting it. It may be that we shall never cure the knave of his innate propensity for depredation; but before we absolutely decide this question in practice, it might be well, if possible, to give him as nearly as we can a fair start with the still honest man.
The critical moment will of course be, as it ever has been, that of final liberation. There will be then the momentous question, Whether the orderly habits, the industry, and the present good conduct of the convict, indicate a real and rooted improvement in character or are mere superficial results of discipline and habit which will melt away at once when the released prisoner has his keeping in his own hands? It will be but humane to exempt him from the alluring company of his old companions, and the courses to which old habits and associations point the way; and yet the question of artificially providing expirees with the means of industrial support, is infested with difficulties which only increase when we turn from the prospects of the male to those of the female convict. To industrial establishments in which expirees are gathered together, unmixed with ordinary workmen, there are insuperable objections. It is scarcely possible that thus assembled together, and free, they should fail to talk each other back to their old opinions and ways. On the other hand, while it would be unjust to send them into the labour-market with privileges over honest men, yet, if destitute of all protection and guidance, the black mark on their characters would cer
tainly expose them to the chances of idleness and the risks of temptation. We shall see. The experiment is in the mean time in progress, guided by that sedulous and patient earnestness which is essential to discovery in this delicate and difficult department of government. It is in the hands of many accomplished and zealous men ; conspicuous among whom is Colonel Jebb-a man who fortunately unites sagacity with courage and zeal; who is not likely to abandon any course which continues to hold out a prospect of good results, or to pursue with thoughtless pertinacity projects which prove themselves in their fruits to be futile.
It does not follow, however, that we are now for evermore to keep all our criminals at home. If an opportunity should hereafter open of sending them, on the old principle, to mix with new communities, rising by industry into prosperity, at a distance from their old haunts and associations, we shall perhaps be able to send them as a better, at least a less damaged, commodity than they used to be under the old arrangements. When a man has undergone his punishment, and has then received his training in well-doing-if there be conditions in which he will be enabled to act up to that training, they will be those which are farthest removed, physically and morally, from the circumstances in which his old life of iniquity was led. In time, perhaps, we may have the good both of the old system and the newof transportation and home-training. A trained convict has a better chance anywhere than an untrained; a trained convict has especially a better chance of keeping what he has gained, among strangers, than he has at home.
Nor is transportation yet to be altogether abandoned as a general punishment. If it be resumed, however, it must be under principles and arrangements totally different from those which have hitherto ruled it; and to show that this must be so, let us say a word about the present state of the question-how far transportation, as it used to be, has any chances of being restored in preference to the existing arrangements for detention in this country. There
are many theories about the proper end of punishment. Some say it should be directed solely to the end of putting down crime at whatever cost to the criminal; others count the criminals an integral portion of the population for whose good penal laws are invented, and are for counting the suffering or mischief inflicted on the criminal before striking the balance of general good. Others, again, hold that the criminal is the only person to be considered-as the sick are the only persons to be considered in the arrangements of an hospital; he is a patient suffering under mental disease, and must be cured. A considerable number of persons deem all such considerations unlawful, and, citing Mansfield's invented quotation, fut justitia-ruat cœlum, hold that the committer of a crime has by the eternal laws of justice earned an equivalent punishment, and that punishment, neither more nor less, must be awarded to him. And perhaps there are still a few who hold, like Lord Kames, that the criminal has injured society, and society is entitled to take vengeance on him.
But throughout all these jostling opinions there prevails one common principle, that punishment must have a measure. None of them leave its character and extent to chances, which may make it a death of lingering torture to the novice, and a brief restraint, followed by success and wealth, to the adept. Yet this was precisely the character of transportation as we have endeavoured to describe it. A Legislature such as ours, however, never does anything absolutely bad. Good is aimed at, and more or less of the element of good will be found in the design were it properly carried out. Hence no measure is ever put in practice which does not afford experimental means of arriving at beneficial ends; and perhaps, more than in any other department of Government, the blunders in penal legislation leave, after they are revoked, some valuable fragments of utility to be worked into the next arrangement. In the practice of transportation many valuable lessons are to be learned besides those which are lessons of mere warning. But the first step in the consideration how these lessons are
to be applied, is to ask how far transportation is now practicable, or is likely soon to be so ?
The only colony that now offers to take our convicts is Western Australia, long ago renowned in the records of calamity as the Swan River settlement. There are differences of opinion about the number that can be absorbed into this colony. Some would limit it to three hundred, others would extend it to six hundred. Even the higher number is but a small portion of our annual supply, which for the United Kingdom may be counted in round numbers at three thousand five hundred; and as the Western Australians naturally desire to benefit them selves, not the British public, they say that the convicts they can afford to take are the able-bodied, industrious, and well-disposed; precisely those whom the admirers of transportation would keep at home, while they exiled the diseased and the incorrigible. To those who ask why all the convicts cannot be sent away, we can only make answer, according to the national practice, by asking another question, "Whereto can they be sent?" Nobody can find a place for them. Mr T. F. Elliot, the Colonial Under-Secretary, whose special duty it would be to select the most suitable place if there were a choice, told the Select Committee on Transportation that he had looked over the world, and could find no place upon its surface but Western Australia in which we could deposit our unpleasing burden.
Many people cry at once, Make a settlement. But a settlement is not easily made. Let those who think it so very simple an affair go through the brief preliminary process of telling what sort of settlement they would have. If it is to be a colony in which convicts, after they have undergone a certain period of imprisonment and coercion, are to be allowed, under conditions and limitations, to mix with the other colonists, then we must obtain precisely what is now refused to us-a colonial population willing to submit to the mixture. If the new settlement is to be a mere convict colony, a favoured spot where thieves, robbers, and other adepts in the higher depart
ments of crime, are to live together in a state of partial bondage, which compels them to reside within the colony, but does not subject them to separation or any of the restraints of prison discipline-then it is certain that whenever such a project is laid before practical statesmen, they will remember such results of previous attempts, as will make them shudder at the faintest possibility of the danger recurring. Is the foreign station to be an establishment where the convicts are to be kept at work under the restraint of an armed force during the day, and to be locked up in cells at night ?-then the question arises, what reason there is for having such an establishment in a distant colony rather than at home? It will be difficult to find any, beyond the force of habit arising from the practice of transportation. On the other hand, there are many reasons why places of punishment should be, as close as they can be brought, under the eye of Government and of the public-including those who may be inmates. The places most suitable for male convict establishments will be those where permanent public works are carried on. The interference of convict-labour with the ordinary labour-market is an evil, though it does not arise so much from the effective competition created by it, as from the sensitiveness of all classes of workmen, and their natural propensity to exaggerate whatever appears to jostle them in the virtuous endeavour to earn their bread, and that of their children, with the sweat of their brow. No more dangerous feeling can be spread among the humbly industrious, than the notion that they are discountenanced in holding by honest industry for the benefit of the rogues who have yielded and become dishonest. We must take care that the honest labourer does not feel himself the worse for the criminal. This creates a difficulty in the execution of that prime requisite in convict discipline-the introduction of industrious habits.
By purely sacrificing the produce of the labour, the end is not achieved, because it is the aim of the discipline to impart adequate notions of the importance of productive labour. The method of solving the difficulty
appears to be by giving the produce of the labour to posterity, in the shape of public works which would not have been executed had there not been such an available labourfund in the hands of the Government. The labour-market is ruled by the remunerative work available for it. The toil of the criminal at the crank or the tread-mill does not affect it. Nor will it be affected if such labour, instead of being wasted, should be turned to the erection of breakwaters or fortresses, which would not have been erected had it been necessary for the Government to contract for them. On similar principles, the bringing in of waste land may be an available source of convict-labour. The accounts of the Convict Board show that, while thus reserving something useful for posterity, men can be kept at work at home more cheaply than they can be transported; an element, though but a small one, in the estimate of the merits of different systems of penal discipline. From the abrupt stoppage of the practice of transportation, and even from the popular panic which has subsequently arisen, we can anticipate none but good results. A growing and desperate evil has come to an end. We have been taught emphatically at last, that we cannot cast forth our convicts. Even if it were morally right that we should relieve ourselves of their burden by sending them where their crimes may indefinitely increase without injuring us, and where their miseries may rise to any amount of intensity without our being disturbed by their cry, we cannot, if we would, thus dismiss them into per dition. If we again cast them into the desert to eat each other, as they have done in Tasmania, we may depend on it that we or our children shall hear of the consequences. Let us take home the lesson taught to us by the miserable history of preeeding efforts to cast our moral filth beyond the range of our sensibilities. It will combine, with other solemn lessons, to convince us that the wise dispensation by which the destiny of man is governed, does not permit him to cast off all responsibility for his fellow-man. He must be cared for-not disowned; and whether he is
merely erring and requires counsel, or is criminal and should be chastised, the function must be performed, not in recklessness and wrath, but in the spirit of patient duty. There are obvious laws of nature which visit vices and crimes in those who commit them, by afflicting them with disease and misery. But as we advance in civilisation, and our relations to our fellow-men become more complex and extensive, we learn the higher and more subtle truth, that the calamities, and even the crimes of our neighbour, justly react upon us, since we have all some voice in his fate, and some responsibility for the social neglect which has occasioned his fall. There never was so much anxious and earnest study devoted to the causes and remedies of crime as during the four years following on the discovery that, after all efforts to cast our criminals forth, we must keep them and treat them at home.
If it were possible to dismiss every criminal, as he is convicted, out of sight and out of mind, there are considerations which suggest that we would be indulging in a false security, if we thought that, by being rid of our criminals, we are rid of crime. The predatory offences, it must be remembered, are not only crimes, but trades, to some extent governed by the laws of supply and demand. It might be dangerous to carry this doctrine too far, but still it has a vital force within its limits. It does not apply to men of capacity and courage, who, having both paths open before them, deliberately discard the right and choose the wrong; to whom we may apply the
"Video meliora proboque, deteriora
There is a considerable proportion of men of this class in France-men who devote to the service of crime the genius that might guide diplomacy or sway senates, or organise and lead armies; and the knowledge that there are many such men around them, is one of the most depressing of the many ominous prospects which weigh upon the good and thoughtful in that unfortunate country. The removal of every man of class by death or expatriation