Imágenes de páginas

prisoner could not be certified for a pardon or parole unless he had 80 points out of a possible 100; but religion counted 25 points. If the man did not get religion he could not get a pardon!

Many mistaken ideas are current about the coddling of prisoners. One is that the prison reformers are in favor of coddling. I do not know of any who is. We believe that the way of the transgressor is hard; that "whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." We believe there is no redemption for the wrongdoer except he shall realize through hard experience the inevitable consequences of wrongdoing.

Another thing that is attacked as coddling is probation. If any of you is an employer and you have a young man collecting for you and find he is not paying in all that he should, what do you do? Do you swear out a warrant and send him to jail? No, you call him into your office and talk to him and give him another chance. You say to him: "Repay what you have taken, and if you go straight there is going to be nothing laid up against you." Thousands of young men are redeemed in that way. Probation is the state acting the part of the wise and human employer toward the first offender. The same way with regard to parole. There is a great deal said against it, some of it with justice because the privilege of parole has been abused. What is parole? A man's sentence is so fixed that after serving the minimum term, if he gives evidence that he will probably live a straight life, under the charge of a parole officer he can be released, subject to return to prison if he violates the conditions of his parole. After a year or two of correct living, he may receive a full discharge. The objections raised have come through serious abuse of this plan. The parole should be given not on the man's prison record. No man should be paroled until he gives satisfactory evidence that will justify the parole board in believing that if set at liberty he will lead an upright life. The parole system properly administered is not coddling. It means that the man released does not go out free, but under the oversight and control of the parole officer.

Another criticism is in regard to the matter of recreation. Fault is found because we have moving pictures in our prisons or because prisoners are allowed to play games. It used to be thought that if we wanted to reform a criminal, we must make a prisoner miserable and remind him every now and then of his degradation. We now recognize that recreation is absolutely essential to normal human life, that if we want to make a man good we must give him something cheerful to think about, some occupation for mind and body. Recreation should not be looked upon as coddling, but as an essential in the normal life of a human being.

Finally, the thing that is needed most at the present time is that we shall recognize the prisoner as a man, an ordinary man like ourselves; that we shall see that there is no such thing as a criminal type, a separate race of men who have criminal instincts, but that the prisoner should be dealt with as a human being, with regard for his individuality, his early history, his environment, and under conditions that may aid him, after he has suffered the penalty of his wrongdoing, to gain such character, courage, and hope as will enable him to return to the community and find for himself there a place as a productive, useful, and law-abiding citizen.


Raymond Moley, Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland

Within the past month a responsible member of the American bar speaking before a section of the American Bar Association stated that "there is an average of one execution in Canada and England for every two murders while the American average is one conviction for every sixty-five murders." This is just another bit of evidence indicating what has now become almost universally recognized, namely, that the United States has in its criminal procedure fallen far behind all the other countries of the civilized world, except perhaps some of the less stable and less civilized governments of South America and Asia. The Cleveland statistics are equally startling. Our recent survey of the administration of criminal justice indicated that of every twenty felonies committed in Cleveland in the last four years there have been five arrests. Of the five arrests something over two have not been indicted, while of the two who have been indicted, one has been convicted. Thus we have secured one conviction for every twenty felonies committed. In a more picturesque way this set of facts indicates that if by some strange act of magic Ali Baba's forty thieves could be brought to the city of Cleveland, their fate would be as follows: five would be released by the police, eight would be nolled or no papered, eight would be discharged or dismissed, six would be no billed by the Grand Jury, one would jump his bail, two would be found not guilty, eight would plead guilty, while two would be found guilty. Of the ten who would thus plead guilty or be found guilty three would receive a suspended sentence, while seven of the forty thieves would suffer some penalty of the law. A prominent member of the Philadelphia bar stated even before these facts became so disastrously certain as they are now that "the wonder now is not that so many guilty men escape but that under our present system any guilty men are ever convicted."

Mr. Fosdick in the Cleveland survey set forth the following startling facts:

For the year 1920, Cleveland with approximately 800,000 population, had six times as many murders as London, with 8,000,000 population. For every robbery or assault with intent to rob committed during this same period in London there were seventeen such crimes committed in Cleveland. Cleveland had as many murders during the first three months of the present year as London had during all of 1920. Liverpool is about one and one-half times larger than Cleveland, and yet in 1919 Cleveland reported thirty-one robberies for each one reported in Liverpool, and three times the number of murders and manslaughters. Practically the same ratio holds between Cleveland and Glasgow. There are more robberies and assaults to rob in Cleveland every year than in all England, Scotland, and Wales put together. In 1919 there were 2,327 automobiles stolen in Cleveland; in London there were 290; in Liverpool, ten.


For several years Cleveland has not been unaware of the growing failure of the agencies for law enforcement to maintain the integrity of a civilized community. There have been in Cleveland all of the symptoms so common to American cities, "crime waves," "official investigations," "newspaper crusades," and constant political quarreling over responsibility for conditions, but conditions became steadily and increasingly worse until in 1920, the city of Cleveland was shocked to find that the chief justice of its municipal court in the company of law breakers and suspicious characters had become involved in a murder case to such an extent that an indictment and two long-drawn-out trials were held to determine whether he himself was guilty of this infamous crime. Out of this atmosphere there came the Cleveland survey for the administration of criminal justice. It is an interesting fact that the first definite group to become conscious of fundamental reform was not the legal profession. It was the social workers.

For a full year before the trial of Judge McGannon, the Delinquency Committee of the Cleveland Welfare Federation had requested the Foundation to make a survey of the administration of criminal justice. This request was made a full year before such a request came from the Cleveland Bar Association.

The survey itself is to social workers a story long since told. Our work was completed more than eight months ago and the results published. I do not wish to review the content of this survey, nor do I wish to describe the processes which the survey followed in the course of conducting its work. I merely wish to state and to discuss briefly the outstanding causes which seemed according to the Cleveland survey to have been the basis of the failure of criminal justice to operate in a manner worthy of a civilized community. These outstanding characterizations I believe are not alone the characteristics of Cleveland criminal justice, but are fundamentally the reasons why from one end of the United States to the other there is discontent and utter failure of public confidence in the instrumentalities by which property and life are protected These outstanding characteristics are six in number: first, antiquated police methods; second, inferior personnel and unbusinesslike methods in the prosecutors' offices; third, a judiciary more dominated by the need of getting votes than of acting as an impartial administrator of the law; fourth, yellow journalism; fifth, an uneducated, unorganized commercialized bar; sixth, public opinion unorganized and uninformed. We will consider each of these in order with illustrations from the facts shown by the Cleveland survey.

Antiquated police methods.—Mr. Raymond Fosdick who made our police study thus describes the Cleveland police force as he found it in 1921.

The present police department of Cleveland dates from 1866. Since 1866 Cleveland has grown from a small town to the fifth city in the United States. It has grown not only in size, but in the complexity of its population and in its social and business life. From a town in which many people knew each other intimately and thus furnished a substantial degree of self-protection and aid to the police, Cleveland has become, like all other communities of its size in modern times, a city of strangers.

In contrast with this complex growth of the city the police department of 1921 is little more than a physical enlargement of the department of 1866. . . . . The police department has shown no such vitality, no such capacity to make itself over on a new and improved pattern, no willingness to reshape its methods to modern demands. Instead, it has hewn to the line of tradition, ventured almost nothing in experiment, and copied very little from the experience of other private and public organizations. Today the patrol force is distributed and managed exactly as it was twenty or thirty years ago. There is nothing new in the detective service save faces and a few meager records. Traffic regulation has been developed, but this modern necessity has been met only by draining the department's resources for coping with crime. . . . . Practically the same methods are employed for combating crime that were used when Cleveland was just a big neighborhood in which the police knew everybody. . . .

A general picture of the police service in Cleveland gives the impression of a group of men, singularly free from scandal and vicious corruption, but working in a rut, without intelligence or constructive policy, on an unimaginative perfunctory routine.

Prosecutors' office.-The survey coined a phrase which describes the operation of the Cleveland prosecutors' offices with all inclusive accuracy. It states that the system followed by the prosecutors in the preparation of their cases might be called a system of "serial unpreparedness." A poll taken of the Cleveland bar indicated that only two out of a hundred Cleveland lawyers stated that they felt that the prosecutors in the offices of the city and county prosecutors were competent to fill the positions which they hold. Young men without experience or old men without success are the attorneys for the state whenever a criminal case is tried before a judge or a jury. Seven prosecutors in the city prosecutor's office in a position which probably has more to do

with determining the attitude of the poor and the immigrant toward American government than anything else, were operating without a stenographer, without a filing system, without adequately prepared cases, without a sense of the responsibility of their high position, with seemingly no mandate from the powers which appointed them except the need of getting as many votes for the administration as possible at the next election. Instead of selecting these individuals because of their competence in the special fields of criminal justice, they were selected because they were born of certain national groups. Thus we have a sort of council of the League of Nations as a prosecutors' office, with representatives of Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, Russia, and the Irish Free State. This system of representation is called by the survey the "tribalization of justice." It was in reality a way of organizing the poor and unfortunate of all nations in the support of a sort of international political machine. That this system operated in such a way that any well-equipped lawyer could secure freedom for his client goes without saying.

The politics of the bench.-The Cleveland survey was made at a time when it was peculiarly opportune to see the effect of non-partisan elections upon the bench. Ten years have passed since the wave of reform, which ended when the leader of Progressivism asked his party to nominate Henry Cabot Lodge for president, placed in the constitution of the state of Ohio provision for the non-partisan election of judges. This reform it was claimed would make the judge no longer dependent upon the political boss, but would enable him to do his full duty to the public without those insidious political influences which had hitherto directed his course. The survey took account of the character of the personnel of the bench of Cleveland before and after the coming of non-partisanship. It found that since the coming of non-partisanship judges have been younger, less experienced in the practice of law, and rather more experienced in other public offices, in other words more experienced in the practice of politics. It found moreover that they are now subjected to influences which while present ten years ago did not actuate and influence the action of judges as they do now.

The first of these influences is the operation of the political lawyer, the same political huckster who trades in real or supposed influence in the courts, leading the poor and uninformed to give their votes into his keeping while he is supposed to secure for them exceptional privileges at the hands of public officials. These parasites have not been restricted or restrained by the change in the method of the election of judges, but rather they themselves have become independent of the political organizations to which they formerly belonged. They now operate just as freely but more independently.

The second influence which has increased very greatly in its importance since the coming of non-partisanship is the influence of race and religion. It is a curious thing that those reformers who so deplore the influence of political parties in American life overlook the fact that man after all is a group animal and group forces are going to operate just as directly and as forcefully even though political party loyalty has been eliminated. So we have the group of the religious elements entering more and more into American political life as the influence of the party is broken down.

The third influence which has operated more actively since the political party has been eliminated is the influence of labor and we may say of aggregations of forces hostile to labor.

The fourth and perhaps the most important influence is that of the newspaper. One of the things that has marked the decline of political power in municipalities in

the past ten years is the growth in power of the press. The judge is now supposed to carry on his own campaign. This means publicity, and to secure publicity he must follow the principles of newspaper enterprise. These principles as stated by Lord Northcliffe are that the extraordinary thing is the thing of which the newspaper will take cognizance. As he tersely puts it, "If a dog bites a man, it is not news because it is natural; but if a man bites a dog, it is news." Therefore a judge who acts as a judge should act is not good "copy." But the judge who acts as a charlatan, who does the strange and extraordinary thing, who is picturesque, who breaks from the beaten path, is the judge who is best advertised by the newspapers. To be specific, we do not read of the work of a judge who labors long and faithfully to clear up a congested docket or to solve the difficulties of a complicated case. But we do read on the front page of a Cleveland paper, that "Judge X ate candy while on the bench yesterday." "It keeps me from getting nervous," he said. We do read that Judge B motored all the way to Canton last night in the company of two sporting editors to witness a prize fight. We do read on the front page of a newspaper that Judge C refereed a prize fight last night in which one of his sons was a contestant. We do read that Judge D has sentenced a woman to jail for speeding but will suspend the sentence if she gives $300 to a charitable institution. The public is led to vote for the names with which they are most familiar exactly as they are led to purchase the soap or the cough medicine which is most widely advertised. We have developed therefore in America the relationship between the reporter and the judge which resembles that of the bumble-bee and the clover. The one exploits the other. The judge needs publicity for the coming election while the reporter needs news which the judge is able to give. This is unquestionably one of the outstanding fruits of non-partisanship.

A judge of high standing in Cleveland, who has since retired from the bench says with truth, in describing the difficulties of campaigning under present-day conditions, "In order properly to play the game, it is necessary for a judge to, attend weddings, funerals, christenings, banquets, barbecues, dances, clam-bakes, holiday celebrations, dedications of buildings, opening nights, first showings of films, prize fights, bowling matches, lodge entertainments, church festivals, and every conceivable function given by any group, national, social, religious."

It is not strange that a bench very largely the product of such influences as these and constantly subjected to these pressures, should frequently lose sight of the more abstract and far-away and cold public interest and yield to the pressure of an interest which is close and real and which carries its own reward. It is folly to accuse the individual judge of wrong doing under these conditions, as the survey quite rightly states: "It is absurd to expose a judiciary to every wind that blows and then to blame it for being susceptible to the influences of any particular current of opinion." All in all when we consider the forces which produce the judiciary in our city it is quite remarkable that we have secured as satisfactory a personnel as we have. Nor should we with the reactionary, cry out for a return to the good old days, when the judge was the appointee of the political boss. It is hardly necessary to go back to make an improvement here. Probably the answer is that there should be more interest and more force exerted by civic organizations, by welfare agencies in judicial elections. The present theory holds that because a person holds a position which eminently fits him for making a political determination should therefore be prohibited from making a political opinion. If we are going to adhere to this philosophy of conduct we shall need to turn over our

« AnteriorContinuar »