Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1

IN CONVENTION, Feb. 27, 1868.

Resolved, That there be printed, in addition to the number already printed, a sufficient num. ber of copies of the debates, documents and journals, to furnish each of the members with three copies; and also one copy each to the Mayor and the members of the Common Council of the city of Albany, and one copy each to the State Law Libraries at Rochester and Syracuse, the law libraries of the several judicial districts, the Law Institute, the Astor Library, and the New York Historical Society in the city of New York, and the Young Men's Associations of the cities of Albany and Troy.

605

LUTHER CALDWELL, Secretary.

1

[graphic]

**

I

diminishes their own happiness, that roguery, in jin this stage is cheered by the occasional visits every case, is a losing game. When we have of a teacher who gives him plain and practical done this, and when we have placed the means instruction and who encourages every germ of of obtaining an honest living in their hands, we effort which he may put forth to attain to a better may reasonably expect that our work will be understanding of his duties, and to a better reguaccomplished, and that our criminals will be re-lation of his conduct. He is in this stage under a turned to society better men and useful citizens. very rigid coercion, but there is still considerable Again, we have the large class whose crimes are scope left to him for the exercise and discipline attributable to feebleness of the will. In these of his volitions. He can violate the rule which cases the indication is to strengthen its power. imposes silence. He may fail to accomplish his The space-penetrating power of the sailor's and appointed daily task. He may waste the material the hunter's eye is enlarged by the constant upon which he is set to work. He may use abuuse of the organ; the muscles of the ballet sive language to his keeper or teacher. He may dancer's legs and of the blacksmith's arms are neglect personal cleanliness, and in several other enlarged and strengthened by constant exercise; ways he may manifest a defiant and unsubdued the brain of the philosopher is enlarged in volume spirit. An accurate set of daily marks is kept and in power by habitual and vivid thought, and showing the exact progress of the prisoner in selfsuch is the universal law of nature. It is as true control which it is the main object of this stage in the moral as in the physical world, and a of imprisonment to cultivate. When the prisoner course of moral gymnastics will be found as enters the solitary cell he learns that the duration efficient in invigorating the affections as physical of his imprisonment will be determined by his gymnastics are in increasing the force of the obtaining a certain number of marks. Every day muscles. The method to be adopted in these of perfect good behavior adds to the amount of cases is not to subject the prisoner to a rigid ex- the marks. Every day of misconduct not only ternal coercion, which supersedes all necessity of gives no addition to the sum of marks, but in volition on his part, and which actually paralyzes proportion to its malignity the marks already the small amount of will power that he actually accumulated are taken away. In this way the possesses, but he will be subjected at first duration of this penal stage is fixed by the prisonto small and nicely-graduated temptations, er himselt. If disposed to be rebellious, he can which, if yielded to, is met with immediate and indulge in his disposition as long as he likes, if he just punishment. As the prisoner gradually ac-desires to protract his term of discomfort, his quires the mastery over himself, under this pro-keeper is quite patient and allows him to do so, cess, the temptations are increased and the process but after a while, when he sees one after another is continued until at last the power of resisting who entered the prison passing into higher and temptation is fully acquired. The practical modes less penal stages of imprisonment, the most hardby which these objects are accomplished were ened and rebellious finally yield and set themoriginally suggested by Captain Maconchie, but selves in good earnest for the first time to cultivate were greatly improved and simplified by Sir habits of obedience and self-control. When these Walter Crofton, under whose auspices the system habits are acquired, and not until then, he passes was brought into operation in the Irish prisons. into the second stage Here he is situated, The result in these prisons has for a series of in many respects, like the prisoners in our State years been so successful and so truly reformatory, prisons, he is confined in a solitary cell at night, even when applied to the very worst of men, that but during the day he works in association with it has overcome all opposition and has commended other prisoners. The utmost attention is paid in itself to the approval of all thinking men. Sir this stage to his moral and intellectual training. Walter has recently been transferred to England, He is supplied with books of an interesting and where, under the full sanction of the gov-instructive character. The utmost care is taken ernment, he is gradually introducing the system to ascertain the weak points of his character, which has proved to be so successful in Ireland. which have led him into crime, and the main The Irish system, as this is called, may be briefly stress of the instruction and discipline is directed described as follows: There are certain general to strengthen and vivify these weak faculties. features in the plan which are applicable to all Competent teachers are employed to instruct him prisoners of all kinds, classes and idiosyncrasies, in all those matters which will fit him to acquit but these are modified with respect to intensity himself well in the battle for life by honest and and duration, so as to adapt themselves to the reputable methods. This stage is divided into specialties and individualities of each particular three classes, and the prisoner, on emerging from case. Every part of it is carefully adjusted to the penal stage, enters the third and lowest class. cultivate habits of self-control on the part of the His continuance in each of these classes is gradu prisoner; his treatment is exactly determined by ated by his own progress; he must remain in his own conduct, and he is thus, to a very con- each until he has acquired the amount of knowl siderable extent, made the arbiter of his own fate. edge and the system of habits which that class is Every prisoner passes through four separate designed to inculcate. If he is long in doing stages, each stage being divided into steps. The this, his stay is long. If he does it quickly, he first stage is in the highest degree penal, and is soon rises into a higher class and remains in this an object of great dread to all classes. Each until he has fully acquired all that the discipline prisoner is confined in perfect solitude in a sepa- of that class is intended to accomplish, when he rate cell. He is kept constantly to the hardest enters the first or highest class, where the same labor, dressed in the coarsest raiment and fed on process is repeated. The powerful influence of

the most unsavory food. Yet his solitude even Hope is thus brought into exercise. He has a

401

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

definite object constantly before him, knowing been most thorough, and all classes are convinced that good conduct will certainly work an amelio- of their reliability. With us crime is increasing. ration of his condition, he has a powerful motive In Ireland it is decreasing. With us, as we have for good conduct constantly operating on him. shown, our prisons do not deter men from the On the other hand, he knows that every act will commission of crime. In Ireland, they are really demonstrate that those changes in his character, a terror to evil doers and they furnish a real prowhich the discipline was intended to produce, tection to life and property. With us, our prishave not been effected, and that it will be neces-ons are not reformatory, at least to any very sary to put him backward until the change is great extent. In Ireland, they are truly reformacompletely accomplished. His daily improvement tory. It is rare to find a man who has once gone or deterioration is admirably measured by a sys- through their discipline, who ever returns to tem of marks. If these show that the prisoner them again, they are better men when they leave is advancing, he is advanced; if he is going back-them than they were when they entered them. ward, he is put backward. He cannot advance. Mr. Chairman, I suppose there can be no differuntil he has actually and permanently acquired ence of opinion amongst us, with respect to our all the discipline. which the stage through which duty to provide the best guarantees in our power he is passing is calculated to confer upon him. for the security of life and property in this State, At every advance his condition is improved, his and the reformation of our criminal classes. Can comforts are increased, he has a larger percent- any one doubt that a comparison between our sysage of his earnings credited to him, and he has a tem and that of Sir Walter Crofton shows the very greater area of personal privileges allowed to great and overwhelming superiority of the latter? him. He is also subjected to greater temptations, If we are agreed upon these points, then we canand he cannot rise until he has acquired the not adopt the latter system without a change in power of resisting them. The third is called the our constitutional provisions. We must exclude intermediate stage because it is intermediate be-all chance of those rapid changes which are now tween imprisonment and freedom. They are necessarily incident to every change in politics, under very little restraint, although they are care- and even to every change in the persons of the fully watched in this stage; they are not taken inspectors. The subordinate officers must be reout in gangs, under keepers, but allowed to work tained so long as they perform their duon farms, in mechanical labor, on railroads or ties well, since every year will add to their canals, as may be desired, and are credited with ability. It will be seen at a glance that a large percentage of their earnings. The educa- unity of plan and purpose is indispensable to the tion commenced in the earlier stages is continued working of the scheme, and I think I have clearly through this; lectures on practical subjects by able shown that no board can possibly be held to a men are given to them daily. Examinations are strict responsibility, or can direct any compliheld weekly among themselves, which bring out the cated system which requires unity of purpose for mental acquisitions of each prisoner, and a small its successful prosecution. We have, therefore, part of their earnings is handed over to them, to choose between a truly reformatory system of which they can spend as they please, but which prison discipline and the plan of the majority, or they generally save carefully to be added to the one which will perpetuate the present admitted savings which are given to them when the term evils and the plan of the minority. of their imprisonment is wholly accomplished. Mr. BELL-I would like to ask the gentleman It must not be forgotten that if the prisoner from Columbia [Mr. Gould] what has been the abuses his increased liberties, he may at any pecuniary success of the Irish system? time be set back, one or two classes or a whole Mr. GOULD-I am not able to state. I was stage, from whence he must work his way back not able to obtain the figures in time so as to by the same slow and painful process as he did make a statement which could be verified by the before. When the prisoner seems to have ac-figures, but I think it has been a pecuniary sucquired the knowledge and the habits of self-con- cess under Sir Walter Crofton.

Mr. LAPHAM-I would ask whether the system of punishment is uniform under the Irish system, without any reference to the grade of the offense?

[ocr errors]

trol which fit him to mingle usefully with society, he enters the fourth stage, in which he receives a conditional pardon and a ticket-of-leave. He is allowed to select his own place of residence and his own occupation; but he is still under Mr. GOULD-The system is this: If a man the inspection of the police, and if at any time he commits an offense, a punishment is annexed to is found to abuse his privliges, if he relapses into that. Suppose it is for six months. Now, a perhis old ways, if he is found without visible son who has only six months to serve, has not so means of support, or associating with suspicious many marks to gain. The number of marks is characters, his ticket-of-leave is withdrawn and graduated to the length of punishment. For inhe is returned either to the second or third stages stance, a man who has been guilty of a serious to work his way out as before. The practical re-crime, which would justify a large number of sults of the system have been most extraordi-years of punishment, would be required to get a nary. Experience has set its seal upon its value. greater number of marks, so that the system With us it is very difficult to procure employment actually graduates itself according to the severity for such convicts as have given the best evidence of the offense. But the system is that no man of a desire to reform. In Ireland there is no shall go out of one department into another until class who can so easily obtain employment. The the moral and intellectual objects to be desired reason for this is, that with us the reformation in that branch are entirely gained.

3

has not been tested. In Ireland the tests have Mr. LAPHAM-Suppose it was a case of sen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

does precisely what he likes without any interference whatever. I believe that there is also a board of prisons in Ireland; but they never interfered with Sir Walter Crofton. He has done precisely as he pleased.

Mr. C. C. DWIGHT-I would like to ask. whether the board of prisons in Ireland did not appoint Sir Walter Crofton to his position to administer the system of discipline of which he was the originator?

Mr. GOULD-My impression is that he was himself a member of that board. As he developed a special fitness and capacity for the work, the other members just stood aside and allowed him to carry out his views entirely in his own way, so that the matter was practically managed by a single man. I believe I have presented all the views I desire. If we really do desire to make a permanent advance, if we desire to do a genuine, philanthropic work, if we desire to have our prisoners converted into good men, I see no way whatever of accomplishing it unless we change entirely the system which has been hitherto made use of, and unless we carry out the principles of responsibility, unless we have a man to do the work who is specially adapted by the peculiar character of his mind and the peculiar education which he has enjoyed. Sir, gentlemen Mr. GOULD-It is slightly so. I only claim ask if I know of any man who could be trusted that there is this very marked difference between with this matter. I know of a man, I have him Ireland and other countries in regard to prison in my eye, and he does not belong to the same discipline. There is one peculiarity which gen-political party that I do either, whom I should be tlemen should not overlook-and that is that the perfectly willing to intrust with the control of men who come out of prison are eagerly sought this system, because I should be sure that he for as farm servants, because the discipline which would administer it with perfect humanity, and I they had undergone admirably fits them for an have no doubt he would do it with perfect suchonest and faithful discharge of the duty. I will cess. further remark that Sir Walter Crofton, who was Mr. BELL-I would ask the gentleman another the originator of this system, was so successful question. Does the plan proposed by the majority in Ireland that he has now been transferred by of the committee propose to introduce the Irish the British Government to England, for the pur-system or any system?

pose of introducing the system throughout the Mr. GOULD-It does intend to lay the foundalength and breadth of that kingdom. Now, sir, I tion for it. The Irish system will be introduced believe I have really finished all that I desire to by the Legislature if it is introduced at all. All say. We cannot have this system administered we can do in the Constitution is to lay the foundaby a board. We may, it is true, nominally tion for the introduction of a system analogous to have a board. There is nominally a board which the Irish system. has charge of the penitentiary at Albany, but the fact is that

Mr. BELL-It looks to that end.

Mr. AXTELL-I move that the committee do now rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again. SEVERAL DELEGATES-No, no, no.

The question was put on the motion of Mr. Axtell, and, on a division, it was declared lost by a vote of 12 ayes-the noes not counted.

The CHAIRMAN announced the pending question to be on the substitute offered by Mr. C. C. Dwight, for the first section of the majority report.

tence for imprisonment for life-what is the value of the system in that case ?

Mr. GOULD-The value of the system in that case is that there is a special adaptation to the circumstances of the individual, and that is all there is about it in that case. Our system is uniform. Very bad and tolerably decent men are not placed upon the same system exactly. There is a flexibility, an adaptation of the system to the individualities of the case. Every man, whatever his character, whatever his disposition, is not subject to precisely the same discipline, but there is an individualization.

Mr. HAND-I would ask if the punishment is modified according to the good behavior in cases of imprisonment for life, or only in cases for a series of years?

Mr. GOULD—No, sir, in that case it is not so. Mr. HAND-There is no encouragement, then? Mr. GOULD-The only case where it is is where the prisoner is committed for life, and that involves the adoption of a discipline according to the particular circumstances of the individual.

Mr. KINNEY-I would like to inquire if the decrease of the percentage of crime in Ireland is not greater than the decrease of population. I suppose the gentleman is aware that the population there is decreasing largely.

Mr. C. C. DWIGHT-I would like to ask the gentleman who it is that administers the system of prison discipline? Whether it is the central power that appoints the wardens, or whether it is the wardens?

Mr. GOULD-If the gentleman is disposed to be nice upon this point, I will say it is the under-keeper who administers the discipline.

Mr. C. C. DWIGHT-I would ask if Amos Pillsbury is not responsible for the adminis tration of the discipline in the Albany penitentiary?

[ocr errors]

.

Mr. C. C. DWIGHT- If there is no other member of the Committee who desires to speak upon the pending question, I desire to say a few words in reply to the gentleman from Columbia [Mr. Gould].

Mr. GOULD-That is another thing altogether. The gentleman did not ask me who was responsible; he asked me who it was that administered Mr. FOLGER-If the gentleman will allow the discipline, and I say it is the under-keeper. me, I will renew the motion that the committee As I was remarking, the Albany penitentiary is do now rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit nominally governed by a board, but the fact is again.

that Mr. Pillsbury is the sole dictator. The The question was put on the motion of Mr. board never interferes in a single instance. He Folger, and it was declared carried.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »