Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/626

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6o8 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ives to moderate the effects of crime and to hinder its widespread diffusion."

Deterrents, preventions — these two words may be said to be the keynote to Lombroso's system. If he have a favorite prov- erb, it is certainly that " prevention is better than cure." On this account he would segregate from society the adult criminal, in order to deter him from exercising his pernicious instincts, and he would direct his chief and best energies to the rising genera- tion.

Can we make it possible for a child that has criminal tenden- cies not to become a criminal ? This is his chief problem, and this question he answers with a decided affirmative.

So long as the criminal acts are not repeated to excess, and when they are not accompanied by all the anthropometrical char- acteristics of criminality, there is hope to be found even in this dismal science. The evolution of good takes place in a sound man in spite of a bad education. Anticriminal education must, therefore, begin as soon as the first pernicious symptoms show themselves ; on the other hand, excessive severity must be avoided, and more must not be asked of the child than it can do. The more gentle the corrections, the more efficacious will they prove. For example, if the child has spoiled a favorite object, buy it again at your own expense, but deprive him of some sweetmeat, some amusement. If he dirties the house with his games, let him repair this evil ; never mind if it draws down on him some scalds and scratches ; only let him have been advised beforehand to avoid the deed, and told what consequences would follow disobedience. When he does not obey orders, show him less sympathy, but never fall into a rage, for anger is as harmful to the parent or guardian as to the child. A useful reaction only follows when the punish- ment is given in a calm spirit. Above all, endeavor to get the child to correct itself rather than to depend on the violence of a monitor. One should prevent rather than encourage in children, as is done by the majority, the constant association of the idea of punishment with a bad action. In consequence, when the time has come to liberate him from the leading strings of master or parents, he is no longer afraid of committing offenses, thinking they will now cease to carry judgment in their train. This con- stantly happens to children of overstrict parents, who when grown up and independent are apt to commit great misdeeds and even crimes.

These reasons are doubly applicable to young criminals, who can not be properly watched and educated in reformatories on ac- count of the large number of their inmates. The divisions and subdivisions admitted of in such places are not sufficient to cover all the varieties of bad tendencies a child with criminal instincts

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