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Prison Reform

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In spite of the very unpleasant weather of Tuesday nighl Dr. E. C. Wines addressed u largo audience in the Baptist churoh. After the reading of a passage of Scripture by Dr. Haskell and prayer by Eev. G. D. Gilleapic, Dr. Wines spoke for about an hour on Prison Keform. He said that this was no longer a matter of benevolence but of social science and statesmanship. Tho Droblem is how to bring criine to its narrowest liniits, either by prevention or cure, and of theso the first is by far the most important. By the census of 1872 it appears that from half a million to a million ohildren in the United States can neither read nor write. The present common school system does them no good, for compulsory attondance cannot make thom fit to assuciate with. other children. ïhey need charity, food, guardianship as well as education. In England the case ia reached by individual schools formed by private individuals uuder a general general law, and provided with a state subsidy for each scholar inatructed. ïhose havo more than doubled in ten yoars, while during that time reforuiatory schools remuin at tho same figures as before, viz. sixty-five. In Aberdeenshire this plan has extirpiated juveuile vagrancy. Scotland prei'ers to clothe and guard its industrial soholars, England to feed and teach theni. And Dr. Winos thought that some similar system was very desirable in this country. He then took up two questions, can prisoners be reformed ? and if so, how ? The International PrisonCongressoftwoyears ago answered the first of these queries aüïrmatively. And tho experience of Overnieyer, Montesilos and others was quoted to show howsuccessful the reform could be made. Belapses which had been statüd at 40, 50, 70, and 80 per cent were reduced by correct methods to 10, 5 and even, in the case of Montesilos, at Valencia, 5, 1 per cent ! The speaker gave quite in detail, the two great renowned systems. That of Alexander Maconschie, a captain in the British navy and governor of Norfolk Island,consisted in securing theco-operation of the convicts by means of marks. Marks had a financial as well as moral valué. They pjiid for bed and food, clothing and schooling, and without these payments Maconschie gave nothing whatever except to the sick. ünly the surplus of the marks went towards earning their liberation. The hope was the basis, marks the wages, and the system itself a miniature school of life. They avoided harsh punishments by providing fines. They furnished cheerful and skilled workinen ; and school-fees and even bail-bonds were arranged from them. A man could save so many marks in a day, exactly as if they were wages, and in case of bad behavior a prisoner's confinement could be remitted by his comrades going bail to lose inarks, should he misbehave again. He ! actually.contrived a Rick-club and a burial club on this basis, and effeoted reformations among these worst of men, of a character unknown bofore or sinee. He was at Nofolk Island from 1840 to 1844 and said when ho left it "I found the Island a turbulent, brutal heil ; I left it a peaceable, well-ordered community," and thia opinión was confirined by unprcjudiced witnesses. The Crofton or Irish systein is an outgrowth, somewhat weakened, Dr. W. thought, from this. Sir Walter (then Capt,) Crofton was made superintendent of county prisons in lreland whose iainates had grown so bad as to be refused by all penal colonies. He arranged three _-o„ . .-jr'enal, with eight months' cellseparation. 2. Ileformatory, longer or shorter as the case demanded, with soparation by night and association by day. 3. Testing, not less than six months in order to prove fitness for liberty. Dr. W. then described Lusk, the " intermedíate prison," its entire absence of locks, bolts, walls and restraint. In seventeen years only two escapea had occurred and but one case of misconduet. It seeins that the prisoners go to the parish church perfectly uncontrolled, and one of them had spoken to farmer's daughter as tliey went down the aisle together but ho had said nothing improper. Still, lie was "put back " a month for it. Dr. Wines had hiinself been at Lusk and praised the good order and quiet there inarvellous to him and at another time, to the Oaptain-General of Italy. Lusk had solved the problem of how to dispose of reformed crituinals. lts liberated men are in great demand and employers often outnumber those to be employed. When this fact beoomes general the labor market of the world will be open to the reformed convict. Dr. Wines spoke of Jwpe as the basis of all discipline. Quenoh hope and you touch with instant paralysis the will, the conscience, the heart, the undorstanding. He said that labor, edueation and religión are the three great factors in the result. All prison-labor must be nly industrial. In closing he described the work proposed by the National Prison Association, its efforts to secure and diffuse statistics and information and its purpose of effecting by congresses and tracts, and iinproved legislation, the reformation of convicts and the prevention of crime. They desiro to do away especially with partisan politics in prison management and to niake good superintendeuts and keepers more permanent than heretofore. After the address Dr. Wise consulted with the pastors of the eity and the President of th University as to future operations, at which time it appeared that Mr. Israel Hall has given a handsome amount of valuablo Mississippi pino lauda to the association, We are not informed what further action was taken.


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