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boys and girls that right of freedom from toil until they are strong enough to toil, that no father or mother or industry has the right to take from them.
To get that fundamental love for men and reverence for people as people deep and living in our souls is to give us an abiding inspiration for continuing fight to win the mastery of the evil over the good which is our task. I have taken a long time and used many words to state again that ancient law: "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself." It is like the law of gravity, it is everlasting and universal, and except in obedience to it we cannot live, nor can we do the work we want to do so passionately, and that God has called us to.
THE LAWBREAKER AND NEEDED IMPROVEMENTS IN
CODDLING THE PRISONER
Hastings H. Hart, Director, Department of Child-Helping,
The purpose of imprisonment I think may be stated in a single sentence: the proper purpose of imprisonment is the protection of society-the protection of society in the large sense. By society I mean the community at large, those members of it who are so circumstanced that they are in danger of adding themselves to the criminal population of the country, and those unfortunates who already belong to that population. Imprisonment, if it accomplishes its purpose, will work upon all three of these groups in the community: first, to impress the public conscience as to the enormity, the wickedness, and the destructive nature of crime; second, to impress those who are in danger of becoming criminals as to the consequences that will follow, the disaster to themselves, and the evil they may bring upon their fellows-what we are accustomed to call deterrent effects; and third, to impress upon the prisoner himself that he has fallen into the hands of the law. Imprisonment is designed to produce an effect upon these people: first, the wholesome effect of suffering the penalty of what they have done, experiencing in their own persons the consequences of wrongdoing; and second, in the exercise of such influence upon them as may restore them from an unsocial condition to a social condition, and may make it possible for them to go back into the community as working, productive, law-abiding citizens. Suffering has an ultimate part to play to the end of impressing the community: namely, the protection of society.
This suffering of the prisoner meets a demand in the public conscience. There is in the human mind an instinct to the effect that the wrongdoer ought to suffer. We recognize it when others wrong us and we feel that something ought to happen to them; and when we do wrong we feel there is something coming to us, and when it comes we say: "I got what I deserved." Within proper limits the suffering of the prisoner meets a demand of the public conscience and is a legitimate agent in producing an effect upon that public conscience. The suffering of the prisoner probably exercises some deterrent effect upon those who are candidates for the criminal population. I say probably exercises such an effect because those who are candidates for the criminal population e not in the main regardful of consequences. We see that in the matter of disease. campaign which has been made for the prevention of venereal disease was based st upon emphasizing the direful consequences upon those who indulged in evil
practices, but it had little effect. We have had to find other influences than the fear of harm to themselves. Yet many people are put on the watch and are saved from a criminal career because they recognize the consequences that come to evildoers. The suffering of the prisoner himself undoubtedly has a deterrent effect to prevent recidivism. The prisoner realizes the consequences of wrongdoing, and whatever is said about "once a criminal always a criminal,” the majority of offenders do not come back. They either reform or die. The repeaters are in the minority and they often repeat several times. The majority of prisoners do not reappear in the state in which they start on a criminal career. St. Paul made an utterance upon this subject well worth our consideration, when he said: "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous; nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercized thereby." I believe there is no question that the suffering of the prisoner, if it is inflicted upon him in the right spirit and manner, has in it a reformatory element. There is a distinct limit to the usefulness of punishment or of suffering, however. I do not know anyone who today would advocate a return to the English practice of 150 years ago, when there were 140 capital crimes, or even the practice of our own country of 100 years ago, when we had nine or ten capital offenses. We have recognized that excessive infliction of punishment reacts and that as a result a very large proportion of offenders escape. This is so far true that many people in our country today advocate the abolition altogether of capital punishment because the number of escapes is so great that it seems to them better to give it up altogether, as has been done in a considerable number of states.
At the present time there is great excitement in the public press, and I regret to say also in the legal profession, over the present crime wave, and advocacy of intensifying punishment. Within a day or two the newspapers have urged a great increase in the severity of punishment and the abolition altogether of parole. If you want to see how long sentences work out go to Alabama where 22 per cent of the prisoners in the state penitentiary are serving sentences of fifty or more years; 30 per cent, sentences of twenty-five years or more; and 63 per cent are serving sentences of ten years or more. Yet that has not seemed to diminish greatly crime in that state. There is a limit to the advantage of long and harsh prison sentences.
I said a few minutes ago that there is an instinct in the human soul which calls for suffering for wrongdoing. I want to emphasize that, as far as the prisoners are concerned. I mean the inmates of our penal institutions. We need not distress ourselves lest they should not suffer. The prisoner does suffer, and any prisoner can testify to the truth of what I say. Here is a young man going the way of the least resistance. He has committed various offenses and has escaped detection, but at last comes the time when he goes a step too far and he feels the hand of the sheriff upon his shoulder, and he hears a voice saying: "Come with me." It is a tremendous shock to a young man who experiences this for the first time. He says to himself: "Good God, I'll never get into this place again if I can only get out now." He is indicted by the grand jury. The grand jury accuses him of an offense against the peace and dignity of the state, and, if he cannot get bail, he is sent to jail to await trial. The county jail ought to be the most reformatory institution in the world. De Tocqueville wrote about ninety years ago that the American jails were the worst institutions in the world. That is true of many of them today. It is the general testimony of sheriffs and jailers that the average prisoner going into a county jail inevitably comes out worse than when he went in. He is put into a steel cage with others of all kinds, and in some instances is put
on exhibition. In Syracuse there was a sign over the door of the county jail-Fifteen Cents Admission-fifteen cents to see human beings exhibited like the wild beasts in a menagerie. If the prisoner is a man of any standing, he is pointed out surreptitiously as the embezzling bank cashier or the well-known Sunday-school superintendent or the young man who forged his father's name.
When the young man is in jail for the first time, you can do more to redeem him than in any period of six months after he gets into the penitentiary, yet we spend millions for reformation in our penitentiaries to paltry hundreds in our jails. The other prisoners discover that he is suffering and begin to fill him with the idea that he is being ill used and that a criminal can always get out if he has money enough, and that effect upon the prisoner which was produced by his arrest is dissipated and is lost forThe next step is when he is brought to trial before a jury. Twelve good men and true listen to the testimony and if they deem it right he is found guilty against the laws of the commonwealth. He is an enemy of society now. The judge arises and pronounces sentence and reads him a severe and deserved lecture, and when the judge is through with him the sheriff takes him in charge and takes him perhaps fifty to two hundred miles, with handcuffs on his wrists, in a public train, in view of all the travelers. He is displayed as a criminal and he is covered with a sense of humiliation and disgrace which can never be forgotten. He arrives at the prison, is taken to the office and introduced to the warden. It is not often a prisoner goes as lighthearted as a politician in Ohio who was taken to Columbus. He said: "This is an instance where the place has sought the man, and not the man the place. If I had consulted my own feelings I would not be here. However, I am in the hands of friends." Does the man who goes to the penitentiary usually find himself in the hands of his friends? What happens to him? He becomes a slave. The Constitution of the United States declares that slavery or involuntary servitude except for crime shall not exist within the United States. The criminal becomes a slave. The prisoner must subject his will to that of the warden. If he does not he is deep in trouble. He is a slave because his earnings are taken from him. I do not know a prison warden who does not favor the paying of wages. In the state of New York we pay wages to our prisoners at a rate fixed by law, one and a half cents a day, and formerly we used to fine him twenty-five cents at a time. He works for the state or for a contractor, but there is nothing in it for him. There is nothing that grates upon a man's soul like the loss of liberty. In some states it is customary when a prisoner has committed an offense to make him lose three days' good time or put himself under the strap, and in many cases they take the latter rather than lose three days' good time.
His correspondence is subject to espionage. He has to sign an agreement that all mail delivered to the prison, addressed to him shall be opened by an officer of the prison or else he gets no mail. When he writes to his wife on the most sacred and personal matters, the envelope must be left open so that it may be read by the officer. His wife may come to see him occasionally, but in some prisons there are two screens between them and the prison officer walks up and down between them. He is there to watch and hear, so they have no privacy. More than that, when the time comes for the man to go out of prison-I remember that a discharged prisoner said to me in St. Paul: "In the prison I was sheltered, but you cannot imagine what it means to me to walk up Fourth Street and to know that people look upon me as an ex-convict. My punishment began when I was discharged from prison." But that man devoted the
rest of his days to giving help and encouragement to discharged prisoners. We need not distress ourselves by fearing that the prisoner does not suffer.
Secondly, it should be our endeavor so to deal with prisoners that they may become good citizens when they go back into society. What is the meaning of "coddling"? The Standard Dictionary says, "to treat one as a baby." We mean by "coddling" that soft and pampering way of dealing with wrongdoers which creates the impression that they are not human beings, that they are there not to be dealt with as normal individuals; such dealing as shocks the conscience of the public so that people feel that the ends of reasonable and legitimate justice have not been met, such treatment as warps the conscience of the prisoner so that he feels that he is being abused rather than getting what is his due, such dealing as leads people to make light of the wickedness of crime so that those in danger of going into crime regard the matter as trivial. I met a man in the Eastern Penitentiary in Philadelphia, and asked him how he came to be there: "As far as my being in here is concerned, I can't blame anything but the foolishness of John Sinclair (that was himself]. You see it was about a horse. I took the horse with the understanding that if I liked him I was to pay for him; but I didn't like him; so I sold him."
I meet a lot of lawbreakers that take that view of it. A criminal is a violator of the law. Some of the people in this audience drive automobiles. When you come into a country town and see a sign "SPEED LIMIT-15 MILES," you always slow down to fifteen miles, do you not? If not, you violate the law and become at least technically a criminal. And some of you have paid fines for it. Why do you disregard the law? It is because it does not suit your convenience to obey the law. This is not a trifling matter. It happens to be a matter of life and death. We kill from three to ten people a day with automobiles in New York, and largely because of disobedience of the speed laws. It is proper that thoughtful people should balance these things and should consider that the criminal is not after all such a different character from what we are ourselves.
Having defined coddling, let us discuss some forms of coddling. One of them is the abuse of the bailing system. It is receiving attention. It is a real evil, because it gives the guilty man who has money an advantage over the poor man who may even be innocent. The jailer at Syracuse told me that two young men were present in a saloon when the saloon keeper was arrested for violation of the liquor law. The saloon keeper went free. The two young men being strangers and unable to give bail went to jail as witnesses and stayed there three months. The saloon keeper gave bail, lived with his family, and continued his profitable business. In Jacksonville, Florida, I saw a woman in the county jail where there were no proper quarters for the women prisoners who were kept together in one room-insane women, prostitutes, lawbreakers of all descriptions. She had been there sixteen months held as a witness in the United States court. Those things are happening all the time. We must consider the effect on the minds of these and other people in jail, when they see that kind of injustice. Another evil of this bailing system is when professional criminals, having accumulated money, are allowed to use that money to get bonds from some bonding company. That is a real evil justly complained of. Then there is the matter of the law's delays: where people have to lie in jail month after month. The man with money may expedite his trial or take out bail, or if he prefers may secure delay, where the poor man can do none of these things.
Another phase of coddling is what we find in county jails. It is not uncommon to see extreme favoritism. People who stand high politically enjoy private rooms, and well-to-do prisoners are allowed to take automobile drives. The county jail violates every human right. One of its worst features is the kangaroo court. In the state of Illinois three or four years ago they had a fiftieth anniversary and made a study of the jails. In twenty-six jails out of a hundred they found this kangaroo court existing. It is self-government run wild; where a sheriff allows prisoners to organize a court of their own and impose fines upon their fellow-prisoners, collecting these fines by duress. In a jail with which I was acquainted in Minnesota, one practice was that if a new prisoner was thought to have money he should be searched and if money were found upon him it was to be taken away and applied to the general good. And this robbery was committed with the connivance of the sheriff. There is another thing that is common -that a prisoner is allowed to practice in jail the crime for which he has been imprisoned. I visited some time ago a coal mine in Alabama where prisoners work under the dreadful convict lease system, and I learned that many prisoners are sentenced for gambling; and in prison they are allowed to gamble as much as they please. The warden told me: "It is natural for prisoners to gamble. They would rather gamble than eat their dinner."
There is another dreadful and interesting thing about coddling: it may be tied up with absolute cruelty. In the state of Minnesota once, a new warden was appointed, a gentle, kindly man who allowed things to go at loose ends until the prison discipline fell to pieces; the prisoners gambled and defied their officers. On one occasion a prisoner went on Christmas Day in citizen's clothes to the warden's residence, outside the walls, with a lady on his arm, and sat as a guest at the warden's table. These things went on until he got things so tangled up that alongside of these indulgences went the worst kinds of punishments. One prisoner was chained for seventy-two hours consecutively to the door of his cell.
Then there is the evil of the "trusty." In many prisons it is customary to give authority to trusties. There is much difference in different states. Often the "trusty" is the talebearer on his fellows, and thus is encouraged the worst, the basest, and vilest of motives. An illustration of the abuse of this practice is the following: In one of the southern states, prisoners, usually life-prisoners, are employed as guards. The "trusty," armed with a high power rifle, is set to watch the other prisoners, and is instructed to shoot to kill if any tries to escape. It is reported to be the custom that if that prisoner kills a fellow, when trying to escape, he gets a pardon.
Another phase of coddling sometimes appears in the field of religion. To the American Prison Congress a few years ago, there came the chaplain of a state penitentiary, a doctor of philosophy, distributing literature among the delegates. One of his books was a handbook prepared for the use of prisoners who were applicants for pardon or parole. The opening paragraph of the pamphlet read as follows: "Your chaplain has been frequently requested to issue character certificates for parole and pardon. It is a part of his official duty." In the handbook was a score sheet to establish "a standard system of merit" as follows: Physical exercise, 10 points; mental atmosphere, 15; moral attitude, 20; conformity to discipline, 20; psychological analysis, 10; religious experience, 25; total 100. "Sincere confession of religious convictions, faithful attendance upon and respectful attention to religious services" was the definition of religious experience. "Merits required for certification, 80 points." It will be noted that the