« PreviousContinue »
soner daily, and one pint of good gruel for subdued, civil, submissive, and decent throughbreakfast, -and upon good behaviour half a out-their persons cleanly, and their looks pound of meat on a Sunday.
cheerful-all the rooms clean and sweet. · By "21. That proper scales, weights, and measures this excellent system,' says Mr. Buxton, the should be provided in the gaol.
prisoner gains habits of order, self-restraint, and • 22. A messenger to be appointed for the ac- subjection of mind.—The most boisterous temcommodation of the debtors.
pest is not more distinct from the serenity of a * 23. A laundry, and a matron under whose summer's evening ; the wildest beast of prey is directious the female prisoners should do all the not more different from our domesticated animals, washing.
than are the noise, contention, licentiousness, and * 24. A bell to be fixed for sounding alarms in tumult of Newgate, from the quietness, industry, cases of escape.
and regularity of the Maison de Force. * 25. The chaplain to keep a diary of observa In the prison of Philadelphia, where the great tions, subject to the inspection of the visiting features of discipline are distribution, employmagistrates. He should read prayers, and preach ment, and religious instruction, the effects are a sermon every Sunday morning, and read still more impressive. Mr. Turnbull, speaking prayers in the evening, and also read prayers of the various trades carried on in the prison, every Wednesday and Friday. He should visit of blacksmith, carpenter, turner, shoemaker, the sick, instruct prisoners in their moral duties, tailor, weavers of cloth, linen, and carpeting, give spiritual advice, and religious consolation to grinding of corn, sawing and polishing marsuch as may desire it. He should distribute ble, cutting stone, and rasping logwood, observes, amongst them religious books, and form a sort of that there was such a spirit of industry on school for the instruction of the children.'-Bux- every side, and such contentment pervaded the ton, p. 61–64.
countenances of all, that it was with difficulty Among the creditable exceptions to the neg. he divested himself of the idea that these inen lected state of our prisons at this period stood surely were not convicts, but accustomed to the gaol of Bury; where the benefits of a simple labor from their infancy.' "An account is opened mechanical, as well as moral arrangement, have with every prisoner ; he is debited with the been practically and decisively displayed for amount of the sum stolen, or embezzled, with many years; and, connected with which, the the expenses of his prosecution, with the fine name of Mr. Orridge, the governor, will long be imposed by the court, with the cost of his board mentioned with honor. The facts, as Mr. Bux- and clothes; and he is credited with the produce ton observes, will speak for themselves :—and of his labor.? All the dress, every mattress, the writer of this paper has verified them. No sheet, rug, and coverlid, is woven by the male, prisoner, at the time of Mr. B's visit, was ill; in and made up by the female prisoners. All eighteen years but one prisoner had escaped ; in laughing, singing, and conversation, during the every 100 of the prisoners not five were found hours of work, are prohibited ; and the silence who had been there before; never any riots, or which is observed is the first and most striking quarelling, or swearing. Yet, for twenty years, circumstance which arrests the attention of a Mr. Orridge informed us he had never used irons stranger. Great attention is paid to the promoin this prison.
tion of moral and religious improvement by a The researches of the modern advocates of supply of useful books, and by the regular perprison reform have not, as we have intimated, formance of divine service. No keeper is permitbeen confined to their own country.-At the ted to carry a stick, or any offensive weapon. Maison de Force, at Ghent, the same practical No fetters or irons are seen in the prison, the testimony is borne to the good effects of a sound punishment is solitude, and no instance has ocsystem of gaol discipline. Here was observed curred of its being necessary to inflict it upon by Mr. Buxton an entire separation of men from the same person twice.
In the four years prewomen, the sickly from the healthy, the untried ceding the commencement of the new system from the convicted, and the misdemeanants from 104 prisoners escaped : in the four succeeding the felons. The building, being yet unfinished, (except on the day of its establishment) not one does not admit of more subdivisions of classes, escaped. which certainly might be carried farther, and Under the old system the number of the most probably will when the capacity of the structure heinous crimes committed in the city and county will admit of it. A very important feature of from January, 1787, to June, 1791, was 129. the system of classification is that of children Under the new system in the whole state, during from men and women; and in general it may be the same period, twenty-four. "At the time of observed that the division into classes should the yellow fever, in '1793, great difficulty was have reference to moral as well as technical dis- found in obtaining nurses and attendants for the tinctions. The utmost order and regularity were sick at Bush-hill hospital. Recourse was had found to prevail in this prison. While at work, to the prison. The request was made, and the no prisoner was allowed to speak; and so strictly apparent danger stated to the convicts. As was the rule observed that the questions put to many offered as were wanted. They continued them by Mr. Buxton were not answered. No faithful till the dreadful scene was closed-none noise but the noise of the shuttle. Corporal of them making a demand for their services till punishment, formerly allowed,was then dispensed all were discharged. with, because, as the governor stated, it was found • One man committed for a burglary, who had to be unnecessary. The penalty was privation seven years to serve, observed, when the request of work. The behaviour of the prisoners was was made to him, that having offended society
he should be happy to render it some services ployed. The narrowness of the room rendered for the injury; and, if they could only place a it impossible to yield to these requests, whilst a confidence in him, he would go with cheerful- denial seemed a sentence of destruction, excludness.
He went—he never left it but once, and ing every hope, and almost every possibility of then by permission to obtain some articles in the reformation.'--p. 122. city. His conduct was so remarkable as to en The visits of these ladies were incessant. They gage the attention of the nianagers, who made often spent the whole day in the conduct of this him a deputy-steward; gave him the charge of extraordinary school, joining in the employment, the doors, to prevent improper persons from sharing the meals, and engaged in the inspection going into the hospital, to preserve order in and of their pupils. The first experiment was upon about the house, and to see that nothing came the untried part of the prisoners, and the success to or went from it improperly. He was paid, with which it was attended encouraged an exand after receiving an extra compensation, at his tension of the scheme to those who had underdischarge married one of the nurses. Another gone their trials, and the inauguration of this man, convicted of a robbery, was aken out for great undertaking is thus set forth by Mr. Buxthe purpose of attending a horse and cart, to ton : _ Nothing now remained but to prepare bring such provisions from the vicinity of the the room; and this difficulty was obviated by the city as were there deposited for the use of the sheriffs sending their carpenters. The former poor, by those who were afraid to come in. He laundry speedily underwent the necessary alterahad the sole charge of the cart and conveying tions—was cleaned and white-washed—and in a the articles for the whole period. He had many very few days the Ladies' Committee assembled years to serve, and might at any time have de- in it all the tried female prisoners. One of the parted with the horse, cart, and provisions. He ladies began by telling them the comforts derived despised, however, such a breach of trust, and from industry and sobriety, the pleasure and the returned to the prison. He was soon after par- profit of doing right, and contrasted the happidoned, with the thanks of the inspectors. Ano- ness and the peace of those who are dedicated to a ther instance of the good conduct of the prisoner course of virtue and religion, with that experiduring the sickness happened among the women. enced in their former lite, and its present conseWhen request was made to them to give up quences; and, describing their awful guilt in the their bedsteads, for the use of the sick at the sight of God, appealed to themselves, whether hospital, they cheerfully offered even their bed- its wages, even here, were not utter misery and ding, &c. When a similar request was made to ruin. She then dwelt upon the motives which the debtors, they all refused. A criminal, one had brought the ladies into Newgate ; they had of the desperate gangs that had so long infested left their homes and their families, to mingle the vicinity of Philadelphia, for several years amongst those from whom all others fed ; before the alteration of the system, on being animated by an ardent and affectionate desire discharged, called upon one of the inspectors, and to rescue their fellow-creatures from evil, and to addressed him in the following manner :-'Mr. impart to them that knowledge which they, from
I have called to return you my thanks their education and circumstances, had been so for your kindness to me while under sentence, happy as to receive. She then told them that and to perform a duty which I think I owe to the ladies did not come with any absolute and society, it being all in my power at this time to authoritative pretensions; that it was not intendafford. You know my conduct and my character ed they should command, and the prisoners obey; have been once bad and lost, and therefore what- but that it was to be understood, all were lo act ever I might say would have but little weight in concert; that not a rule should be made, or were I not now at liberty. Pursue your present a monitor appointed, without their full and unaplan and you will have neither burglaries nor nimous concurrence; that for this purpose each robberies in this place.'
of the rules should be read, and put to the vote; Of the very deplorable state of the females in and she invited those who might feel any disinNewgate before Mrs. Fry's well-known visits no clination to any particular freely to state their one can be ignorant; of the change produced opinion '-Buxton, p. 127, 128. The rules were by the Bible, a school, and constant employment, then read, and every hand was held up in testiamong these desolate and vicious beings in a mony of approbation. short compass of time, it is difficult to form an Ai the date of Mr. Baxton's book a year had adequate conception. At the first visit, says a elapsed since this labor of love had been in opeyoung lady who accompanied Mrs. Fry, and ration, and it is surely enough to state that only who related the circunstances to Mr. Buxton, ove lady had in all that time heard an oath ; that “the railing was crowded with half-naked women, though card-playing had in some instances been struggling together for the front situations with resumed, and about half a dozen instances of inthe most boisterous violence, and begging toxication had occurred, the rules had been genewith the utmost vociferation. She felt as if she rally observed; that the ladies had been treated was going into a den of wild beasts, and she well with uniform respect and gratitude; that they recollects quite shuddering when the door closed had reason to rejoice in the improved conduct, upon her, and she was locked in, with such a and, as they trust, in the confirmed moral habits herd of novel and desperate companions. This of the prisoners ; several had received the rudiday, however, the school surpassed their utmost ments of education, and had learned for the first expectations; their only pain arose from the time the truth of the Christian religion; many numerous and pressing applications made by had left the prison who were them filling their young women, who longed to be taught and em stations in life uprightly and respectably. Only
one discharged from the prison had been again higher state of existence.'—Edinburgh Review, committed for a transgression of the law.' September, 1818.
The five golden rules of which the plan of this We have been detained longer than we ani proceeding was composed were :
cipated by the topics of Mr. Buxton's admirable * 1st.“ Religious instruction,'—perusal of the volume; but they have enabled us to bring the Scriptures morning and evening. They have great facts and elements of the subject before the found the prisoners remarkably ignorant of the reader. first principles of Christianity, and they have Looking more at large into the subject, we shall reason to think that a prison, in excluding many find our English law to recognise from the earobjects of worldly interest, occupation, and plea- liest periods three great classes of prisonerssure, and in the pause which it produces in the the debtor, the accused criminal, and the concareer of life, and in the apprehensions it some victed criminal. It is clear that the imprisonment times excites, is well calculated for the inculca- of each proceeds upon totally different principles, tion of religious impressions.
and there are even subdivisions of these classes of 2dly, Constant employment is a grand and an some importance. We imprison the man suspected indispensable requisite in the reformation of a of crime, for instance solely to secure his appearance prison. They would feel themselves totally in on the day appointed for trial; it is matter of necompetent to restrain the passions of this unruly cessity, and the law has therefore only recourse race, if their minds were not engaged in useful to it where no adequate substitute by way of seand active objects.
curity can be provided; for, under the imputa3dly, Rules simple and lenient, but rigidly en tion of the heaviest crimes, it lodges a power forced, and, if possible, the concurrence of the with its higher officers of estimating and acceptprisoners in their formation.
ing such substitute. It is agreed, says Black4thly, Classification and separation to the stone, that the Court of King's Bench, or any greatest possible extent.
judge thereof in time of vacation, may bail for any 5thly, They recommend that prisoners should crime whatsoever, be it treason, murder, or any be treated as human beings, with human feel- other offence, according to the circumstances of ings; with that disinterested kindness which will the case. 4 Com. p. 299. We imprison the engage their affections; yet as human beings convict for punishment; and the debtor in exedegraded by crime-with that degree of restraint, cution partly for punishment of the fraud which and with those symbols of degradation, which he is presumed or proved to have committed on may recal a sense of their guilt, and humble his creditor, and partly as a mode of compelling their pride.'— Buxton, p. 139.
him to produce or render available for the disOf the success of Mrs. Fry and her associates charge of his debts that property which cannot it was well said at the time: Let us hear no be directly reached. Though, however, the obmore of the difficulty of regulating provincial jects which the law has in view, in these three prisons, wben the prostitute felons of London cases of imprisonment, are thus various, and have been thus easily reformed and converted. though the duties which are incurred in conseLet us never again be told of the impossibility quence toward the unhappy subjects of it will of repressing drunkenness and profligacy, or in- naturally have proportionate varieties, yet in troducing habits of industry in small establish- some respects they will be entirely the same; ments, when this great crater of vice and corrup- certain things are proper, certain things netion has been thus stilled and purified. And cessary in every prison, and for every prisoner. above all let there be an end of the pitiful apo In the first place a universal requisite is selogy of the want of funds, or means, or agents, curity; an insecure prison is a solecism in terms; to effect those easier improvements, when women on this point it would not be necessary to say a from the middle ranks of life—when quiet unas- word, if all people were as well agreed in suming matrons, unaccustomed to business, or to respect of the means as of the end. The ancient any but domestic exertion, have, without funds, practice was to rely more upon fetters and mawithout agents, without aid or encouragement nacles, than the walls of the prison or the vigiof any description, trusted themselves within the lance of the gaoler ; but the new prison bill very centre of infection and despair, and, by open- enacts that no prisoner shall be put in irons by ing their hearts only, and not their purses, have the keeper of any prison except in cases of ureffected, by the mere force of kindness, gentle- gent and absolute necessity, and the particulars ness, and compassion, a labor, the like to which of every such case shall be forthwith entered in does not remain to be performed, and which has the keeper's journal, and notice forthwith given smoothed the way, and ensured success, to thereof to one of the visiting justices; and the all similar labors. We cannot envy the happi- keeper shall not continue the use of irons on any ness which Mrs. Fry must enjoy from the con- prisoner longer than four days, without an order sciousness of her own great achievements; in writing from a visiting justice specifying the but there is no happiness or honor of which we cause thereof.'—s. X. reg. 12. No one can doubt should be so proud to be partakers : And we the propriety of such a regulation—we are satisseem to relieve our own hearts of their share of fied that fettering the debtor or the accused national gratitude in thus placing on her simple criminal as a matter of course was always illegal ; and modest brow that truly ciric crown, which how far it stood within the protection of the law far outshines the laurels of conquest, or the coro in the case of the convict seems not so clear. nals of power—and can only be outshone itself The common argument, that it is unlawful to exby those wreaths of imperishable glory which ceed the terms of a sentence, and that a sentence await the champions of faith and charity in a of imprisonment says nothing of fettlers, proves
nothing; the sentence says nothing of many ration, or of whose eventual restoration with other prison privations, the legality of which credit to society the chaplain entertains the most cannot be doubted; it is general in its terms, favorable expectation.' p. 53. It is obvious, and includes every circumstance which goes tó indeed, that the system of allowing them in all make up the idea of legal imprisonment, so that cases a participation in the fruit of their labors, the question always comes round to what is legal must be unfavorable in many respects to the reimprisonment. Waiving, however, a legal dis- formation of prisoners; its tendency being to cussion, which the statute just cited renders unne- confirm in the habit of looking to immediate cessary, we agree with the warmest opposers of self-indulgence, as the motive for action, men who the practice that it was always inexpedient to have already found that motive too strong for iron even the convict, unless his own refractori- their prudence or their conscience. Such a sysness or desperation made it necessary. Obser tem seems to us to be founded upon a mistaken vation too will warrant us in going a step farther, view of many of the objects of imprisonment. and expressing an opinion that the frequent ne- Howard found one great evil of our prisons to be cessity for the use of fetters almost amounts to a total want of employment, and he described in proof of some mismanagement in the prison in very fascinating colors the appearance which which it shall exist. It is not the least merit in those presented in which the prisoners were fully the prison bill that, by the restrictions imposed employed. Undoubtedly a salutary change was on the use of them, greater care and more skil- produced the giving all prisoners an opportuful management become necessary on the part of nity of working, and compelling some to work, governors of prisons.
were among the most efficient causes of the great The next requisite of all prisons clearly is that improvement which has taken place in our prithey should be healthy and clean. Air and sons; but it is to mistake the means for the end, exercise, food and clothes such as are necessary when prisons are estimated by the cheerful acfor the sustentation of health, together with me- tivity of the laborers, and the quantity of pro dicine and attendance when sick, stand upon the ductive labor within their walls. A prison ought same principle; exeept in that short and awful still to be a place of terror to those without, of interval which precedes execution, and which is punishment to those within ; let us reform crispent in preparation for it, there can be no time minals if we can—it is a great and glorious obor circumstance under which any prisoner may ject, uncertain in the result, but imperative in the not demand all those things which are ordinarily obligation. Punishment, however, is certain ; necessary for the preservation of life. We are and it is one mode of punishment, severely felt aware that, in some of these last particulars, we by those who have led a life of self-indulgence, may be thought to push the claims of the pri- but unattended with any cruelty, to tie them soner farther than justice requires; there are down to a coarse, uniform diet. Two excepthose who deny in the whole any claim of right tions may be urged: we may be asked whether which he can set up to food, clothing or lodging, we would extend the rule to persons of the and others who, admitting the abstract right, higher ranks of life, and convicted of offences would yet practically reduce the quantity and such as libel, provocations to duel, &c., which quality below the scale implied in our remarks. ordinarily are understood to carry with them less It is more difficult to decide, whether, in parti- of moral turpitude. We confess that we can see cular instances, the introduction of more generous no reason for not carrying the rule so far; the food or greater comforts should be allowed ac- health of the party must of course always be the cording to other considerations than those of first object, and it would be for the medical health ; in other words, whether the ability of the attendant to see that no change of habit was party to purchase, or his industry and good made so violent in its nature as to affect it; but behaviour, should procure him luxuries denied to rank or education ought not to lighten punishhis fellow-prisoners in general. There is long ment; if they make the feelings more susceptible practice, and high authority in the favor of the to an equal infliction, it must be remembered affirmative; with regard to debtors, it is, we be- also that the moral restraint and social obligation lieve, universally allowed to them to procure were stronger, and that the violation of them from without any food or liquor, subject only to merits a severer suffering. The case of debtors.also certain prohibitions and regulations; and as to may be here pressed; but, health being secured, prisoners who labor, it has long been the custom, we cannot say that there appears to us any injustice in some of our best regulated prisons, to stimu- in subjecting them also to the mortification of their late industry by allowing a portion of the appetite. Every debtor in execution either can or profits earned by the prisoner to be spent by him cannot pay his creditor ; if he can, and will not,
preferring to spend in self-indulgence the subThe prison bill steers a middle course, allow- stance which in truth belongs to his creditor, it ing the introduction of food, not extravagant or is well that he should be prevented from gratifyluxurious, to debtors, or accused criminals, who ing so unjust a desire; if he cannot, then he is receive no allowance from the county; and pro- supposed to be in a state of destitution, and the hibiting it in the case of convicts, except prison allowance must be a relief to him. under the permission of the visiting jus We have been induced, from the importance tices, or the regulations of the quarter-sessions. of the subject, to hazard some repetition, after -S. X. reg. 14 and 15. Mr. Holford asserts our extract from Mr. Buxton with regard to that, the prisoners whose labor is most produc- these rights of prisoners. But, waiving many tive in the Penitentiary at Millbank, are not those minor, yet important considerations, such as the whose behaviour entitles them to most conside- difficult“ of preserving uniform discipline, or
in this way
consistent details in a prison, in which the pri- to the public, by an indiscriminate admission of soners are allowed a different scale of diet, visitors. A prison whose gates are perpetually varying according to their own fancies, we come admitting idle spectators will necessarily lose to these conclusions—that all have a right to be half its terrors. Those salutary ideas of loathfed, and that all should be confined to the same someness and misery which men associate with prison allowance, qualifying the rule in indi- a gaol, and which naturally tend to the prevenvidual cases according to the directions of the tion of crime, cannot fail to be much weakened medical officer of the prison; and, if any other by a sight of the cleanliness and order, the devariation be allowed, we should prefer the indul- cent apparel and seeming comfort, wbich are gence being granted as the reward of orderly be- found within the walls; men commonly judge haviour, to the regulating it by the amount of the from what they see, and make little account of prisoner's earning
what they do not see, the solitude and wearisomeThe prisoner, of whatever description, has ness, the hard fare and hard labor of the prifurther claims to be protected from the corrup- soners. They will therefore leave the prison, tion of bad society, and to be afforded an op- believing that the sufferings of confinement have portunity of performing uninterruptedly his re- been exaggerated; and what they believe they ligious duties
may act upon; or at least they will eagerly cirUpon this bead, of religious instruction and at- culate the statement. tendance, the prison bill has made a most import The notion of a fee on admission is rather ant improvement in our criminal law. The strange to our feelings, but we take for granted duties of the chaplain are marked out with ful- that that is not the only requisite. The regulaness and precision; the inmates of a gaol tions of the Prison Bill, as we understand them, require, and they will henceforward receive, even put the matter on the right footing; prisoners more minute and constant attendance than the only committed for trial are to receive visits at poor of the most favored parishes. He is made proper times and under proper restrictions, setone of the most responsible and important iled by the governor, or visiting justices; and officers of the prison ; his salary is regulated, convicts only under such rules and regulations not extravagantly and yet liberally, with refer- as may be determined on at the quarter-sesence to the number of prisoners; a pension is sions. provided for him in case of sickness, age, or in In this part of our subject one more topic refirmity; and the situation may be now made to mains to be discussed, but of great importance, present, if the magistracy are disposed to act in the employment of the prisoners. It is obvious hearty accordance with the legislature, which we that this can have reference only to those who do not doubt, an ample, and not undesirable are confined upon suspicion, or for punishment field for the exertion of zeal and talent in the of crimes; but with regard to each of these Christian ministry. We have now stated, though classes great difference of opinion prevails as to not so concisely as we could have wished, the the principle and the mode of enforcing it. The claims which we conceive prisoners of every law and common sense agree in making a wide description seem to us to have on the country: distinction between prison employment and hard on the other hand, the rights which the country labor. The former is undoubtedly desirable for has over the inmates of its prisons will vary all prisoners, and every proper and rational inwith the causes which place them there; but ducement should be held out to them to engage there are certain general powers which it may in it-inducements which experience warrants us justly exercise in all cases.
in saying will scarcely ever fail of success. It is It has a right to general order and decency a question, however, to which late circumstances within the prison; and for this purpose it may have attached some consequence, whether there enforce proper discipline on every individual, is any legal power, directly or indirectly, to comand reasonably punish the breach of it. For pel persons, either untried or sentenced simply to the same purpose, it may regulate the prison imprisonment, to labor. The general practice, we hours, and the mode of employment of all the believe, varies much in this respect between these prisoners, even of those whom it has no power two classes ; in a great, perhaps the greater numof compelling to labor, restricting it to such kinds ber of prisons, in which the reformation of the of work as may be fittingly and wholesomely car- prisoner is attempted, a convict sentenced to imried on within the walls, directing the sale of the prisonment only is directly or indirectly compelled produce, and apportioning the earnings in such io work as a part of prison discipline; but in manner as may best accord with the regulations scarcely any is the same rule observe with reof the place; it has a right to restrain the inter- gard to persons only committed for trial. It course of the prisoners with each other, and to would be as difficult, perhaps, to find a direct exercise an entire control over the visits of authority in law for compelling the convict to friends from without.
work as the untried prisoner; but many of the This last is a matter of importance, and of some reasons which apply with great cogency against difficulty; on the one hand, to deny even to the con- compulsion on the latter certainly do not exist victed prisoner all intercourse with his family and in respect of the former. Where a man has been friends is not merely a measure of great severity, proved guilty of a crime against society, for which Tequiring some clear advantage as its justifica- it is thought necessary to punish him by seclution, but, in our opinion, is to throw away a sion, society has a right to subject him to such powerful mean, under proper regulations, of 'en- discipline as may be thought likely to make him couragement and moral improvement;--on the harmless to her interests when he shall be restored other hand, it cannot be doubted that great in- to liberty: this would warrant direct compulsion. jury is done to the discipline of the prison, and And, as to the indirect compulsion of withholding