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Prison Discipline

Prison Discipline image Prison Discipline image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
February
Year
1873
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The following inessigo was delivored o thü .Lugislature ut Lansiug an tha i3th Exkcutive Ovficn. LansiKO, February 12, 1873. { L'o the S ■ n : 1. 1 o and House of Representativos: At tho time of the dclivory of my inmgural message, tbe reports of the dif:eruut penal iustitutions of' the State wero aot coinpleted, and I could not procure j,ny statistics that would give me imy inEormation relativo to them. Binco thon these reporta have been prepared and lii.l befoTe you, and I doubt not have received your careiul eousideration. The preventioa, eure, and punUhment of rime 13 a subject thftt de luanas the most areful attention, not only oí legislators, ut ot' tbe wlnilc people ; and tho peopie, hrougli tho press, tbe legislativo ussem'ly, tho pulpit and the loium, aro contantly giviug more unl more thought to t. Piison congresista ure bcing held freuently in al! oivilized eountrips, dovising aethoda of iniprovenient in thc tvoatuent of crime. Prorn all these thore ís being evolved better knowledge of the subject, and i-itli this betti.r knotrledge kíndneM i aking the '''ico of brutalHy, cure ot' are, retoTiuation of punishment. btatistícaí.. ■ ïlie Rt:ite ]oiial institutions, consisting ■f the State Pñson,] ReformjSchool. and Jetruit Ií m;si; of Correction, had 1,238 n m ates in 1872, l,.'50l in 1Ü71, 1,269 in 870, showing a deerease in critne, or at flast in convictioii?. CI.ASSIilCATlON. The Reform School receivos all boys OQvicted of any crime betwt-en the ages )f ten and sixteen. The Detroit House rf Correction is, virtually, au intormediite priaon, receiving all women and a. ropoition of the young: men convieted of crime. The State Prison is the custodian of all othor coavicted persons, ü'Xcepting those who, lor slight offenses :ire committed to the county jail. It Viiould seein as though with these threo institutions a should be able to classify and giade the iimmtes, separating old f'i'oui young, new beginners from old offenders, the ignorant trom the vicious criminal, and thus prevent tlie demoralization that prison Ufa spreads like u pall over all who suiïer i'rom crime But with these opportunitics we are doing little better than we did years ago, In tho Reform School we find the lad of ten the assoeiate of the young man of sixteen, a quick scholar to lea.ru vicefrom the ready repróbate who teaches it. In the State Prison the young men of iixteen to twenty are the nssociates of old Dffenders and harden ed crimináis. Acordiug to tlie rcports of the prison, ninetenths of the conviets rtceived eaeh year ire sein i'ur thcir iirst cffonse ; but once within its walls, whether joung or old, wiiother c.onvicted of slight or serious olPense, wbêther the vietim of iutemperance or of inherited bad intluences, or vicious froni choice, all are put upon a level in treatuient and condition. AVo would not trc;'.t the eattW on our farms in this manner. Our duty to these unfortunates and ouiselves compel us, at the eurliest possible moment to cori-ect this TÖE DETEOÍT HOUSE OF CORKUCTIO, Though belonging to thn City of Detroit, is used by the State, as beforu uientionfed,. as an interiúedicte prison. It, too, has no opportunities í'or gradins; and classifying iis tuale prieonerp. For feinales it has, in the House of .Sheltfr attached to it, the means of' gracting its imnatus into dames; separating tliem aeconling to their eupacities and condition. their need3 and uu-rits. It is emphatically a homo and nothing else. ïhere are no locks or bars, no prison dress or prison faro. The matron and the imnates live and eat togethar, studj' and work together ; and no one visit.ing it would judge it a part of a prÍBOn froiu anything they would teo therein, ïhe House of Bhelter ia n.y ideal of what all prisons might be, not only for wonien and gitls, but for men. and boys - or rather it is mv ideal of tho ilan upon which prisons snoulcl üo erect■d und conductod. It Í3 much to be regretted th.it Mr. Z. El. Broekwny, who has so long bean tlie Mipuriutenden t of the House oí' Correc:ion, has sevcred bis conueetion with it íiid with prison mana gemente He has iven the iustitution tlie deservod name jf the model prison oi the country. I tia-vo no doubt, hower, that tho authorities of the City oí Detroit will see to it Ihat it shall be kept upon the high plano jf excellence it now oceupies. ANornER intermedíate paisa With the rapid growth of the Statr, it will soon beconiü necessary that bitber some city in the westera portion of Uu State should do as Detroit has doni' - build a House of Coirection, faiid mako suitablü arrangement with the State for tho use of a portion otit - or that the Stata build an intermedíate prisOTl or House of Corraction. Were all the jails ein]tied of those who ure under sentenee in them (as they ought to be), it would be a necessity that this be done at once and without delay. KO OOKFINEMEKT IX JAIL. When the State bas an interniediate prison, or the Detroit House of Conection the room to receive and tako care of them, I earncstly hope thnt the confineniput of auy person it jftil aftel convietion will be absolute! y prohihited. 1 helieve it aliL-ost as bad iu its offecti upon the criminal, and upon society, to contine n man in jail, without labor, asto tuin liim loose upon the streel s. tLuls are tho nurseries of vico and the graduating school i'or t be State Prison, and as eipenaive to maintain as a unión school. We iir.d fault vith our schoei lux, and forgöt the burden that puuperism, vico and crime, led and pamjipred as it is in our poor-houses, jaila and lock-ups, imposü upon us. KElSUII.l) THE TJUSON'. Our first flut y, however, it aeeriw to me, is to robuild und remodel the State Prison. To those of ycu wiio have visited it it must havo told its own storyjoi itsnfeds. Built years ago it has been ijoing to decay evor since. It is not neeessary to detail its want?, i'or, oxenpting the wall and tbeshiips it is all wants. The inspedors are preparing m estímate of tlie cost of rebuilding, and I most earncstly remmend to yonr favorable consideration llio appropi iatioii eedful to enable tLem to oarry uut their plans. Wheu the eliapel iscojnpleted tlure wili lie room in wlieli the pri8Ouer may be eJueated and instructed ; und I suggest tliat. such logislation my be bad as will raake it obligatory upon tbe officera to furnisb gome means of edneation to all wlio muy desire it. If thero is a dreary spot on the face ei' the earth it is inside the walls tí Jackson prison. I know no reason wliy tbis in so, except it be that a general sort of neglect of prisons and their sun-oundings has become the rule. I hope that by your aotiou the pnsons ot JVLiclngnn muy be mude uu exception to this rule. MTTI.E l'AYOKS. A roso-bush by the door, or n row of pinkt by the patïi, Hiigbt perclmpee find the tender siiot üí' a hèart tbat prayer and preacbing have failed to reach. The stripea in the dress, tbat no ono knows why they are there. exccpt th:it it is tb e f ash ion oí prisons, etiould baikbolifihed. In the oloth nuw beiug made lor the use of the prisop, the black Btrjppis much smaller tli.ui heretofore, iiud diBtinguiahablo at i siight distante. DBDÜCTION OP Tl Ml'. The deduction frora the iorm of sentoncé for good conduct is a greaWr id to tlio offiuen in the control and care of oonviots than all the whips and rvolvers in the world. Why not oft'er still more indueeuienta and incentives to good eonducts in the shape of rewurdis, such as giviu the prisoner a portion oi liis éarniugs, eto. ? Powor shottM be given the Board of Inspectora to let tli labor of convicta in smaller quantiiies, and for a grpater varicty of industries. In so ing t'noy pould be mort? runily elBWlfieiV uud would havo au opportumty O( Uarniug trades, by whieh tln-y coukï sani theii" liviug whcn thy ure diseharged. A,s it U now, i very Uige pnoportion of thrin go out not knowihg how to earn their daily bread. All persons who have in;iilu prisou. management and prison reform thüir study, agreo in oondeuiniog thu contract sys-tem as destructivo to all efftjrts ÉOI reform, whiie Others insist that oonviuts should rot work at trades at all. It is difiieult to substitute anything else tor the oontract system ander State man agemeirt,. and to simply impriaon men ■without labor would not only empty the traasury, but would be the height of oruelty to the prisoner. lfyou should decide to mako tho appuopriations askt d for, I urn of the opiuon. that tho management can be mucb riuproved, with i large reduction in the expense of keepers, fuel, and general expcnsosi THE REFORM SCHOOI. Ib so near you that au y description of its defects, the good it is accomplisbing, its wants, etc, is not necessary. I teel wheiiver I visit it that it lacfessomething, but I know not wbat it is. The Superintendent and teachers are faithiul, earnest men, dovoted to their work and I believe improving in their work every day. I am impressed with the belief, however, that it is too mucb a prison and too little a home and school. It is undoubtedly true that there are many boys in the school who need the restraint of bolts and bars, but tbe controlling power ought to be that of lovo and kindness. TUE COTTAGE PLAN. Tho cottages, one of which is oocupied and the other soon vvill be, are a step in the right direotion. In these there are no signa ot' a prhon, and I beliuve incalculable gcod will coma f rom their kindly iiifluence. I am of the opinión that there re mauy older boys conHned there who shrmld either bo disohargod or sent to the House of Correction. Their iiifluence ■apon the younger and more iinpressiblo lads must be hurtful. If it was more a Lome than it is, and these bad charaeters out of it, there are raany very young boys growing ui in ourlargi.r cities and towiis who would be mfinitely better off there tlian vhere they now are. I am also of tho opinión that there has not been the proper effort in endeavoring to procure homes tor these waifs. There can be little doubt that a good home, " be it ever so humillo," is a butter place for a boy than any penal institution, The grounds and yards of the lleform School, like those of theprison, have been midi y negleottfd. The Board propose to inake np for pasi nt?gleet in this regard. und have asked for an appropriatien to enable thim to plants trees, build walks, und paint the front building - all of which I cominead to your favorable consideration. COMMITMENTS OP CinLDKEX. The mamier of committing children to tíie sohöol is, in ïny judgment, very defiective. Vicious parents often send them that they uiay be out of tho way, and their domeatic expenses thereby decreased.. Bolioemau arrest tkem in. the streets ier vagrancy, and they are " sent iip " by the committinfl magistrate without any nttempt toascertain whetherthey deserve it or not or whether it is the best that can be donu with them. I earnestly urge upon y ou tho propiiety of adopting by legisl tion a similar plan to that in ation 111, the State ot Massachusetts, in this regard, They have an agency caüed the VISITINtr AGENCY, Ono of whom, wfaen an y child under sixteen yearsof age in the State is arrested for auy cause, at onca proeeeds to ascertain-aíl the facts in the case ; the history, surroundmgs, eharacter, inherited j sacies, what sort ot' home and parentage the child has, etc , and upon tbc day of trial the agent appeara in court, not as defender or proseeutor, but as the friend and protector of the child, and as aid to the magistrate in deciding what disposition shall ba made of it. If the agent fiada the ehild's home a proper place, and its provious lito will warrant it, he perhaps urges ita being returned thereto ; or it' he tinds it an unftt place, ■while the child itself inay not be a criminal, he adivifies that it be sent to the State public school ; or if he finds it depraved and viciou-i, he advises its commitraent to the Reform School. At all events, the nmgistrate has bet'ore liiui as a guide th whole history and surroundiiius of the child, and is able to decido intelligently ■what disposition to make of the case. N.o child should ever be counnitted toa penal iustitnioii. withouí this thorough, searehiug. invostigation' ÏIHLAXTlfiROriSTS. Wliile our population is nor. denso as Mussachusetts, and our terra tory is very Biucti larger, and there would seemingly be many obstacles in the wny of canyitig out such a plan, I believe thal in a tbat fin ds so many of its most active ien wUling to serve the State as iuspectors and trustees of its varied instituttons without reward, there are men and in nearly cvery city and larger town who would undertake this humane work and do it well, asking no fee, except their necessary traveiing expenses, wEen. eulled upon. Is it not worth while to wake the attempt. B.EFOKMATIOX. While I believe that kindness hould Ue tho rule of treatraent yith convicts, mud thft tke idefi. of reformatron should tnke the place of that of purmhment, I have no sympathy with, or belief in, the sontiinAiït that a loóse discipline in prison is kindness. As the surgeon applies the caustic and tho knife, when other peraediies íail, I believe that restraint, firmncsa and control are an absolute neoessity to tlie euro of crimt). When we reraember that nine-tenths of these who aro sent to prison go for tho ti'rst oflbnge, arad that eight-tenths of those who come out never go back, it should teach DS that nt will aot pay to crush out all the nianhood in a man, though once a criminal. " No iaan can outlaw hiinself from God." Shall we by our treatment, undertake to outlaw him froin himself or the world ? UHTI 01 SENTKXCE. There should be our legisiation a radical ehange in the length of sentenco ot' persons convicted ot' misdenicanors, xagrancy, drunkcnness, and the like. Pursons convicted undcr these charges aro genteneed for too brief a period to do thein any good, if thut is the motive of tho Bentence, as it ought to be. Drunk1 enness and vagrancy are not prinxarily orimes against society, and should not be treated as such. The drunkard and vigrant sins against hiniself, (but if allovved to continue, soon becumes a criminal), and is put under restraint for his own benfith and thereby the general good oí society. If he needs restraint, it should bo long enough to accomplish sorac slight rpfbrm, control his desire for stimulant?, get hiiruaway froni the debasing effects o) vice, and biild up in him souie frainework of mauliness, self-rospectand selfcootrol. Thirty sixty, and ninety day seutences will not allow this. BETUaXED AGAO. Of 8,741 persons eommitted to the House of Correotion, 1,092 were cornmitted for tho second time, 516 for the third 2.85 for the fourth, 143 for the tifth, 8ö for the sixth, 57 for the seventh, 30 for the eighth, L6 for the ninth, and so on down tf 1 tor the fourteenlh time. And so the great procession' inoves on, into the prison and oit - eaeh sueeeeding sentencc taking moro-aud moro away f rom the unfortunate one the power to control his passionu or depraved tastos. Ought not this system to be changed and some more tational one be adoptec in iis place ? If we are to effect a cure should we not leavo the patiënt long enough undpr tho care of the physician to accoinplisl it? TBE CAKE OF PAUPERS. The close connection of pauporism anc crime, each feeding the other, leads me to npeak briefly upou our treatment anc euro of paupori or rather our uegleot o uil meaos to preveol aíid cnre pauporisra. With a pupulution of nearly 3,000 in the poor liouses of the State, wo drift along trom yeivr to year, feeding and olotbiug tbetu, utterly negleetmg un y attempts at prevention or cure of thu diseasc itaelf. I uní of tile opinión that some better plan tban tlie piesent county gystem ofpoorhouscs inight be ivdoptod. District poor boases neveral oouutius combining togothcr under ono laanagomtnt, oue fariu. ind ovni house, witli l'ucililies tor work Kbopa artaobed, would suvo a largo expeuditure for building and in yearly expenses. Tbe subject is wortby of eouie attontion and thought. J30AHD Oí' COMMISSIONEIÍS. I commcnd to your attention tho reconinicndations of the Board of Commissioners of Penal Institutions, relativo to thu organiz ction oí' a board whi:h shall have general charge and oversijíht vi the penal and reformatory institutions of the State. It' you upprove of the recoramendation, would not the present board be the proper body to bc clothed wilh this power? "Bylheact authorizing tho appointinent of this Board, it was provided that in addition to other duties oontemplated, it should colluct and thoronghly examine all the penal and criminal laws ot' the State, and report tho same, with suuh revisions, amendumuit, and suggestions for the improvement thereof, as to the Board migbt seem necessary and expedienta " A work so important as tbU would nndoubtedly involve tlio snggestion of iiniiiv ohangesand amendments, and some additions to our criminal statutes: and to be ot' service when perforraed, would require ;i thorough iuvcstigation of thu wbule oritaiual legislatiou of the State, and an examination uto the decisions ot our courts roliiting thercto. Such investigation shuuld also extend to the crin:in-il laws of tho other States, and especially to tnose iïom which we have drawn most largely for preoedenta in our legislatiou. "And it will be obgurved ut once that i duty requiring so muoh research and careful labor would necessarily makn lnrge demunds upon the time of those charged with its performance. ' Honcp, in view of these fact?, and that the Lcgislature hus made no provisión for auy adequate compensation for the labor and services here referred to. tlie Board have deemed proper to defer that part of the labor devolving upon it until the matter .should be tubiuitted to tho Legislature for its further consideratiou." A RECOMMENDATIOK. I believe this revisión of the penal laws of the State is a pressing necessity, and so believing, I rccommrad such lcgislation as will provide the means uecessary to accomplish it.

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