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and familiarized them with violence and destruction, with human slaughter, with deceit and waste and recklessness, which in a state of war are not crime, but which become crime in time of peace. This has been the parent of much violation of law ever since.
2. The free use of distilled spirits, the prevalence of drinking saloons, and the consequent amount of drunkenness is a fertile source of vice and crime.
3. Slavery, prevailing for two hundred years, now happily removed, was a possible cause of subsequent crime,— among masters through uncurbed exercise of their will, and among slaves through ignorance and unrestrained desires.
4. But the conditions most prolific of criminal results are, probably, a general spirit of personal independence in danger of lapsing into license, and a reckless indifference to conventional ideas of propriety and to legal restraints.
The remarkable diminution in criminal imprisonments noted in Great Britain in the last twenty years is ascribed, however, by Mr. William Tallack, the able Secretary of the Howard Association, not to improved social conditions, but to advances in their criminal jurisprudence, notably in the direction of a diminution in the number of sentences to prison. We on this side the ocean, on the other hand, are continually making crime by the enactment of new laws creating fresh penalties of imprisonment, and are at the same time busy making criminals at a ruinous rate by heedlessly committing young men to jail for the careless faults of youth. It is the State, and not its convicts, which is responsible for this alleged increase of crime.
In the evolution of any scheme for the radical reform of existing systems, considerations as to the motives that lead to criminal lives must be taken into the account. Eliminating congenital criminals, the criminal insane, and habitual criminals, the rest of the criminal classes may be assigned to more or less normal humanity, brought into convict life by untoward circumstances. It may be predicated of most of these that a greater dependence on the good opinion of mankind would have kept them from becoming criminals, and that they would be less likely to enlist for life in the ranks of crime if they were kept out of prison.
Is there, then, any method of treatment which would promote selfrespect and a respect for the good opinions of others? and is there
any probability that criminals can be so dealt with as to reform them individually and reduce their aggregate without imprisonment?
It may safely be said that respect for one's self, or for the good opinion of others, is not promoted by imprisonment in jail,-- partly because a reckless disregard for these follows a despair of attaining them, and partly because association with men of the worst lives replaces the desire for the esteem of good men and women by a desire for that of evil men and women.
There are, it is true, certain classes for whom either imprisonment or exile is necessary, simply to keep them off the community and save it from their continual depredations. These are the hardened, habitual offenders, the hereditary criminals, and those of unsound mind, all of whom are better banished from society by sentences of indefinite duration. If ever released, it should be only on parole, to be reconsigned to prison without recall if the confidence proves misplaced.
There is a growing opinion, however, among penologists that the stigma of crime, the association in prisons, and the loss of self-respect that follows, are burdens fatal to any good effect from a sentence to jail on the curable prisoner. And yet, in a country where there are no Botany Bays, imprisonment is practically the only way in which we now deal with the criminal. Can we get away from it?
and what can be substituted?
Preliminary to any determination to change existing systems materially, there must be a proper differentiation in the grades of crime. The different treatment required by different offences involves, it seems to us, a classification into several groups somewhat at variance with that hitherto made. Especially would we eliminate from the rest habitual intemperance, not now as a crime cause, but as a crime in itself, and treat it more as in the nature of a disease, necessitating medication until cured. Instead of regarding it as a grade of offence needing only a short imprisonment, it should always be the subject of indefinite sentence, and that in a separate institution, not a prison, where it would receive scientific treatment until the habit is broken. A habitual drunkard is not only insane when intoxicated, he is a madman, no more fit to be at large than a homicidal maniac; and he is liable to frequent fits of mania. A revolution in public sentiment, in this respect, is much needed, which will recognize the importance, for the safety of the community, of
long and indeterminate sentences for this crime. The commonwealth or the municipality should go to all the expense required for the detention of habitual drunkards until reformed. A systematic course of hard and steady labor is no less important for these convicts' own welfare than partially, at least, to recoup the State or city for their maintenance and recovery. For them the loss of self-respect need not usually enter into the calculation; for no imprisonment can be so debasing as the spectacle to which the drunkard degrades himself in his daily debauch.
The elimination of this class from the list of occupants of jails relieves them of a large percentage of their total population.
If we further remove from the list, as another separate class, all incorrigibles, commonly so regarded, and murderers, we shall be getting down nearly to the basis for reformatories. By using the term incorrigibles, we do not wish to be understood as believing none of this group possibly corrigible, under wise treatment, strict discipline, and moral and religious influences long enough maintained to bear fruit. But, in our classification, we would separate from the less hardened and less practised criminals the frequent and old offenders, the deliberate professionals, the congenital or hereditary criminals, murderers, and insane criminals, with abnormal natural tendencies. Some of these may be curable; but we would not endanger the reformation of the large reformable class by association with them, and we would subject the two to quite different treatment. This is not saying that the two classes referred to are not further capable of subdivision, with a view to still further differentiation in the methods of treatment.
Mr. Brockway, in his admirable paper before the International Prison Congress at St. Petersburg in 1890, says, “We are not at all sure that the fact of incorrigibility ought not to be taken as prima facie evidence of mental disease or aberration in the criminal." If this be true, it is all the more important to separate such for more permanent treatment, if necessary, for life, as we do imbeciles and lunatics, and as we must soon come to do for confirmed inebriates.
Having mentioned homicides as of the excepted classes, let us digress a moment to say that neither the degree of guilt nor the safety of society should be graded by the fact that the victim dies or does not die. The guilt is the same, and the danger from a homicide at large is the same, whether his victim recovers or dies. The
man, therefore, who slays another, and the man who attempts it and fails, should receive the same punishment. That he does not is one of the many anomalies in our criminal jurisprudence.
The modification which we propose not as a new idea, but as one toward which the growing consensus of penologists has been pointing more and more, and for which, in our judgment, the time is fully ripe is first in the direction of saving lives from the unnecessary criminal stigma caused by imprisonment per se.
Where no habit of crime is fastened upon the character, and a casual offence has been committed against the law, the court should be allowed to set the offender at liberty with a reprimand and caution, placing him under the surveillance of parole officers, and taking his parole not to violate the law, with the knowledge that a second offence will subject him to detention in a reformatory, on proof of the facts before a jury, for an indefinite period. In a great majority of the cases so released on parole the narrow escape from confinement and the dread of prompt privation of liberty will prevent the offender from committing crime a second time, and cause him to lead a more circumspect life. He will have no more serious obstacle to encounter in an honest attempt to secure the respect of his fellow-citizens than the reputation of having led a somewhat wild or reckless youth. He will not add one more to already overcrowded prison cells, and the community will be saved the expense of his maintenance in a school of crime. Should he, however, relapse into crime, it will be evidence either of inherent depravity or morbid conditions that require reformatory treatment, with a view to his restoration and the building up of his character. Here the same careful individual treatment should be applied that is given to a first offender at an intermediate reformatory, on the same principle, though not in the same form, as is given to a troublesome boy at home or at school,— more severe, more penal, more disciplinary, but always individual and remedial.
The time for dark and dismal dungeons—even for very grave offenders or quite incorrigible ones is past. The conventional lofty wall, massive barred windows, and other characteristics of the dungeon keep, if still appropriate for these, are never so for persons not intrinsically vicious or dangerous, whose lives in the sight of God are, it may be, no worse than those of their unimprisoned fellows. That perfectly innocent witnesses, the untried, who are inno
cent in the eye of the law, and those guilty of trifling offences, should require such surroundings, is preposterous and shameful. Here is where the State's money may be economized. Comparatively inexpensive houses of detention will be found adequate for these classes, while no expense should be spared in securing the wise and necessary treatment which is best adapted for recovery to their proper place in society of those who have seriously sinned against the laws. Complaint is made in Massachusetts of the cost of probation officers, and some objection raised to the probation system on that ground. It seems to us "penny-wise and pound-foolish" to take this view, for the most liberal expenditure requisite to keep a watch on every offender free on probation would scarcely weigh a feather in the balance compared with the, destruction of character caused by a prison taint and the actual per contra cost to the community of every professional criminal begotten by this wretched prison system, both when at large and in jail. We would be glad to see an account kept and a balance struck between the most lavish expenditure for probation. officers and the waste by crime. And this would leave out of the account the moral balance.
The time has come for the wide extension of releases on probation, we might almost say their general application to first offenders. Is not the era for experimentation past? and have not the evidences in England and other countries been enough to induce the universal adoption of the principle of mercy, with strict surveillance, to all persons arrested and brought before court for their first. offence? This is the point upon which we desire to lay the greatest stress in this report. We do not overlook the undoubted fact that in a portion of these cases the mercy will be misplaced; but we believe it will result in an average diminution in the amount of crime, and that is what the community is to look at. The recidivists will receive their reward when, upon a second arrest, they are committed to the reformatory on an indefinite sentence, with a chance to redeem their character by yielding to a course of nutrition, discipline, and instruction, as medicine for their criminal propensities.
The next step is the extension of the admirable methods of the reformatory let us call it the Elmira method, or the Brockway method, if you please to every prison for corrigibles, not merely to young men under thirty, not merely to felons during their first period of commitment, but to every person who is under restraint for