1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Prison
PRISON (derived through the Fr. from the Lat. prehensio, seizure), a place for the confinement or compulsory restraint of persons after arrest or sentence by arbitrary authority or process of law.
The earliest object sought in imprisonment was to secure the person of the accused to ensure his appearance before his judges for trial, and after conviction to produce him to take his punishment. They were applied to other uses less justifiable or defensible; they served to execute the will of the despotic master upon all who set themselves Early Penalties. in opposition to his authority, or were decreed, more or less wisely but still arbitrarily, by a government in the best interests of society, organized for the general good. Coercion and intimidation slowly came to be leading ideas, the infliction of a lesser penalty than the capital. The deprivation of liberty under irksome circumstances, rough lodging, hard fare and perpetual labour was after all a milder measure than death, although long years elapsed before the prison was so used. Penal codes depended rather upon shorter and more cruel methods; the scaffold was in constant use, with all manner of physical pain, torture before and after sentence, shameful exposure, hideous mutilation, exile, selling into bondage as slaves. Incarceration was no doubt practised by irresponsible masters, regardless of personal rights, callous to the sufferings of their victims, to which death by starvation or horrible neglect was a welcome relief. But consignment to a prison for lengthened periods was, as a penalty, of more recent introduction, and of still later date is the recognition of the duties incumbent upon the authority to use its powers mercifully by humane endeavours to reform and improve those on whom it laid hands.
The progress made can only be realized by considering what prisons once were. The shocking picture drawn by John Howard of the state of prisons at the latter end of the 18th century will last for all time. They were for the most part pestiferous dens, overcrowded, dark, foully dirty, not only ill ventilated, but deprived altogether of Howard’s Reforms in England fresh air. The wretched inmates were dependent for food upon the Caprice of their gaolers or the charity of the benevolent; water was denied them except in the scantiest proportions; their only bedding was putrid straw. Every one in durance, whether tried or untried, was heavily ironed. All alike were subject to the rapacity of their gaolers and the extort ions of their fellows. Gaol fees were levied ruthlessly—“garnish” also, the tax or contribution paid by each individual to a common fund to be spent by the whole body, generally in drink. Idleness, drunkenness, vicious intercourse, sickness, starvation, squalor, cruelty, chains, awful oppression and everywhere culpable neglect—in these words may be summed up the state of the gaols at the time of Howard’s visitation.
At this time prisons were primarily places of detention, not of punishment, peopled by accused persons, still innocent in the eyes of the law, and debtors guilty only of breaches of the financial rules of a commercial country, framed chiefly in the interest of the creditor. Freedom from arrest was guaranteed by Magna Carta, save on a criminal charge, yet thousands were committed to gaol on legal fictions and retained indefinitely for costs far in excess of the original debt. The impecunious were locked up and deprived of all hope of earning means to obtain enlargement; while their families and persons dependent on them shared their imprisonment and added to the overcrowding. The prisons were always full. Gaol deliveries were of rare occurrence, even when tardy trial ended in acquittal release was delayed until illegal charges in the way of fees had been satisfied.
In the article Deportation it is shown how the discoveries in the southern seas led to the adoption of penal exile in preference to other suggested improvements in the English prison systems. The penitentiary scheme proposed by Howard was not, however, abandoned. It was revised and kept alive by Jeremy Bentham in his fanatical scheme for a “panopticon or inspection house,” described as “ a circular building, an iron cage glazed, a glass lantern as large as Ranelagh, with the cells on the outer circumference.” His plan was to keep every inmate of every cell under constant close observation, and all were to be reformed by solitude and seclusion while constantly employed in remunerative labour, in the proits of which they were to share. The scheme hung fire, owing, it was alleged, to the personal hostility of George III. to Bentham as an advanced radical. Lands were, however, purchased which were eventually taken over by the government and utilized for the erection of Millbank penitentiary, begun in 1813 and partially completed in 1816. It was now fully recognized that the reformation of prisoners could best be attempted by seclusion, “employment and religious instruction.” Millbank, as a new and most enlightened undertaking in prison affairs, was opened with much éclat. It was to be governed by a specially appointed committee of distinguished personages, the chairman being the Speaker of the House of Commons. The sum total expended upon the buildings amounted to half a million of money, and the yearly charges of the establishment were a heavy burden on the exchequer.
The erection of Millbank was a step in the right direction. The energy with which it was undertaken was the more remarkable because elsewhere throughout the United Kingdom the prisons, with few exceptions, remained deplorably bad. J. Neild, who in 1812 followed in the footsteps of John Howard, found that the old conditions remained unchanged. “The great reformation produced by Howard,” to use Neild’s own words, “was merely temporary . . . prisons were relapsing into their former horrid state of privation, filthiness, severity and neglect.” Yet the legislature was alive to the need for prison reform. Besides the building of Millbank it had promulgated many acts for the amelioration of prisoners. Gaol fees were once more distinctly abolished; the appointment of chaplains was insisted upon, and the erection of improved prison buildings was rendered imperative upon local authorities. But these, with other and much older acts, remained in abeyance. Thus an act which provided for the classification of prisoners had remained a dead letter; even the separation of the males from the females was not a universal rule. Roused by these crying evils, a small band of earnest men formed themselves into an association for the improvement of prison discipline. They perambulated the country inspecting the prisons; they issued lengthy interrogatories to prison officials; they published periodical reports giving the result of their inquiries, with their views on the true principles of prison management, and much sound advice, accompanied by elaborate plans on the subject of prison construction. The labours of this society brought out into strong relief the naked deformity of the bulk of the British gaols. Speaking of St Albans from his personal observation Mr (afterwards Sir T. F.) Buxton, a most active member of the society, said: “All were in ill health; almost all were in rags; almost all were filthy in the extreme. The state of the prison, the desperation of the prisoners, broadly hinted in their conversation and plainly expressed in their conduct, the uproar of oaths, complaints and obscenity, the indescribable stench, presented together a concentration of the utmost misery and the utmost guilt.” The reports of the society laid bare the existence of similar horrors in numbers of other gaols. Yet this was in 1818, when the legislature was setting a praiseworthy example-when half a million had been spent in providing large airy cells for a thousand prisoners. Even in London itself, within easy reach of the palatial Millbank penitentiary, the chief prison of the city, Newgate, was in a disgraceful condition. This had been exposed by a parliamentary inquiry as far back as 1814, but nothing had been done to remedy the evils laid bare. The state of the female side had already attracted the attention of that devoted woman, Mrs Fry, whose ministrations a.nd wonderful success no doubt encouraged, if they did not bring about, the formation of the Prison Society. Mrs Fry went first to Newgate in 1813, but only as a casual visitor. It was not until 1817 that she entered upon the noble work with which her name will ever be associated. She worked a miracle there in an incredibly short space of time. The ward into which she penetrated was like a den of wild beasts; it was filled with women unsexed, fighting, swearing, dancing, gaming, yelling and justly deserved its name of “hell above ground.” Within a month it was transformed. and presented, says an eyewitness, “a scene where stillness and propriety reigned.” The wild beasts were tamed. Movements similar to that which Mrs Fry headed were soon set on foot both in England and on the Continent, and public attention was generally directed to the urgent necessity for prison reform. Stimulated by the success achieved by Mrs Fry, the Prison Discipline Society continued its labours. Hostile critics were not wanting; many voices were raised in protest against the ultra-humanitarianism which sought to make gaols too comfortable and tended to pamper criminals. But the society pursued its objects, undeterred by sarcasm. Many of these are now accepted as axioms in prison treatment; for instance, that female officers only should have charge of female prisoners, that prisoners of both sexes should be kept apart and constantly employed. Yet these principles were unacknowledged at that time and were first enunciated in acts such as the 4 Geo. IV. c. 65 and the 5 Geo. IV. c. 85 (1823–1824), the passing of which were mainly due to the strenuous exertions of the Prison Discipline Society. It was laid down in these that over and above safe custody it was essential to preserve health, improve morals, and enforce hard labour on all prisoners sentenced to it. Irons were strictly forbidden except in cases of “urgent and absolute necessity,” and it was ruled that every prisoner should have a bed to himself—if possible a separate cell, the last being the first formal statement of a principle upon which all future prison discipline was to be based.
The importance of these acts cannot be over-estimated as supplying a legal standard of efficiency by which all prisons could be measured. Still the progress of improvement was extremely' slow, and the managers of gaols still evaded or ignored the acts. Many local authorities grudged the money to rebuild or enlarge their gaols; others varied much in their interpretation of the rules as to hard labour and the hours of employment. One great drawback to general reform was that a large number of small prisons lay beyond the reach of the law. Those under small jurisdictions in the boroughs and under the petty corporate bodies continued open to the strongest re probation, and thus remained until they were swept away by the measure which brought about the reform of the municipal corporations in 1835. But by this time a still more determined effort had been made to establish some uniform and improved system of prison discipline. In 1831 a select committee of the House of Commons went into the whole subject of secondary punishment and reported that, as the difficulties in the way of an effective classification of prisoners were insurmountable, they were strongly in favour of the confinement of prisoners in separate cells, recommending that the whole of the prisons should be altered accordingly and the expense borne by the public exchequer. There can be little doubt that this committee was greatly struck by the superior methods of prison discipline pursued in the United States. The best American prisons had recently been visited by two eminent Frenchmen, J. A. de Beaumont and A. de Tocqueville, who spoke of them in terms of the highest praise. It was with the object of appropriating what was best in the American system that Mr W. Crawford was dispatched across the Atlantic on a special mission of inquiry. His exhaustive report, published in 1834, was a valuable contribution to the whole question of penal discipline. Another select committee, this time of the House of Lords, returned to the subject in 1835, and after a long investigation re-enunciated the theory that all prisoners should be kept separate from one another. It also urged in strong terms the necessity for one uniform system of treatment, more especially as regarded dietaries, labour and education, and strongly recommended the appointment of official inspectors to enforce obedience to the acts. These recommendations were eventually adopted and formed the basis of a new departure.
For fifty years transportation (see Deportation) had been in England the principal form of secondary punishment for crime. Primary or capital punishment still existed, but to a greatly modified extent. The pious Quakers of Pennsylvania at the end of the 18th century had realized a deeper duty towards the offenders than their extinction, American Progress. and sought to amend and reform the living. The note struck first in the Walnut Street penitentiary began a new era in prison treatment, and the methods adopted were destined to extend over the whole world. This was the germ of the nearly universal principle of individual confinement, and the origin of what some advanced thinkers have denounced as the greatest crime of the present age, the invention of the separate cell. It was and still is held by many that the criminal may be best and most effectually weaned from his evil ways by shutting him up for lengthy periods between four walls, and subjecting him, when most susceptible, to curative processes, to constant exhortation and searching introspection, changing his nature and restoring him to society a reformed man.
It must be at once admitted that the system of isolation has produced no remarkable results. Solitary confinement has neither conquered nor appreciably diminished crime, even where it has been applied with extreme care, as in Belgium, and more recently in France, where it obtains strict and unbroken for long terms of years. Cloistered seclusion is an artificial condition quite at variance with human instincts and habits, and the treatment, long continued, has proved injurious to health, inducing mental breakdown. A slow death may be defended indeed on moral grounds if regeneration has been compassed, but it is only another form of capital punishment. Still the measures introduced in the United States and the action taken upon them fill a large page in prison history and must be recorded here.
Several states in the Union followed the lead of Pennsylvania. That of New York built the great Auburn penitentiary in 1816 to carry out the new principles. There every prisoner was kept continuously in complete isolation. He saw no one, spoke to no one, and did no work. Within a short period very deplorable results began to show themselves. Many prisoners became insane; health was generally impaired and life greatly endangered. Mr Crawford, whose mission to the United States has been already referred to, was in favour of solitary confinement, but he could not deny that several cases of suicide followed this isolation. Some relaxation of the disastrous severity seemed desirable, and out of this grew the second great system, which was presently introduced at Auburn and afterwards at the no less renowned prison of Sing Sing. It was called the silent system. While the prisoners were still separated at night or meals, they were suffered to labour in association, but under a rule of silence ruthlessly and rigorously maintained. The latter, entrusted to irresponsible subordinates, degenerated into a despotism which brought the system into great discredit. All discipline officers were permitted to wield the whip summarily and without the slightest check. Under such a system the most frightful excesses were possible and many cases of brutal cruelty were laid bare. Reviewing the merits and demerits of each system, Mr Crawford gave his adhesion to that of unvarying solitude as pursued in the Eastern penitentiary in Pennsylvania.
Mr Crawford came back from the United States an ardent champion of the solitary system. He saw, however, great difficulties in making this the universal rule, chief among which was the enormous expense of providing suitable prisons. Some modification of the rule of unbroken solitude would be inevitable; but he strongly urged Cellular Separation. its adoption for certain classes, and he was equally convinced of the imperative necessity for giving every prisoner a separate sleeping cell. It is clear that the government endorsed Mr Crawford's views. Where it was possible they gave effect to them at once. At Millbank, with its spacious solitary cells, the rule of seclusion was more and more strictly enforced. Ere long permissive legislation strove to disseminate the new principles. In 1830 Lord John Russell had given it as his opinion that cellular separation was desirable in all prisons. But it was not until 1839 that an act was passed which laid it down that individuals might be confined separately in single cells. Even now the executive did not insist upon the construction of prisons on a new plan. It only set a good example by undertaking the erection of one which should serve as a model for the whole country. In 1840 the first stone of Pentonville prison was laid, and after three years of considerable outlay, its cells, 520 in number, were occupied on the solitary, or more exactly the separate system-the latter being somewhat less rigorous and irksome in its restraints. To the credit of many local jurisdictions, they speedily followed the lead of the central authority. Within half a dozen years no fewer than fifty-four new prisons were built on the Pentonville plan, which now began to serve generally as a “ model” for imitation, not in England alone, 'but all over the world. Sir Joshua Jebb, who presided over its erection, may fairly claim indeed to be the author and originator of modern prison architecture.
The building of Pentonville was epoch-making. The modern prison dates from it. The penal discipline of to-day, much modified and varied it is true, may be largely traced to it. The “cell” scheme of individual separation holds the ground, and countries which can afford the outlay have built or are building cellular prisons. France has made steady progress in this respect. Great additions have been made to La Santé prison in Paris, and a new prison on gigantic lines has been opened at Fresnes les Rungis, on the outskirt of the metropolis, to replace the obsolete Mazas, and to give cellular accommodation to the large numbers always on hand in Paris. Germany has embarked on penitentiary reforms with the provision of several new prisons; it is the same with the United States, Austria, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden. In Italy a comprehensive scheme has been drawn up so that cellular imprisonment may become a general rule. In Belgium, where penal administration has received the closest attention for a number of years, the régime of cellular imprisonment has been long carried to its farthest limits, and solitary confinement ranging over ten years and in some cases much more has been strictly enforced. Of late years however a new school has arisen in Belgium which expresses strong doubts of the wisdom or efficacy of prolonged cellular confinement. In England, moreover, which, if not the first to adopt separation in principle, certainly gave the largest effect to it in- practice, continuous cellular confinement for short terms is ceasing to be the inevitable rule; and although it has been retained in cases of penal servitude for the first six months, it was in 1899 practically abandoned for lesser sentences, and all prisoners after the first month work together in association under surveillance. In July 1910 the home secretary announced his intention to reduce it to one month in all cases, except those of recidivists (see Recidivism). The bias of modern practice, in short, is towards milder methods, not only in treatment, but in those anticipatory processes which may render imprisonment unnecessary.
To understand the existing British prison system it is necessary to consider its gradual growth and the steps taken to establish it. Its foundations were laid by Sir George Grey, home secretary, when transportation ended rather abruptly by the refusal of the chief colonies to The Modern British System.continue to be the dumping ground for British convicts. Sir George Grey sought to deal with the difficulty as a. whole, and to provide for all classes of criminals, the most heinous deserving severe correction and the minor offenders in the earliest stages of misconduct. For the first there was some urgency, the latter was still the business of the local jurisdictions. The system now introduced consisted of three principal parts: (1) of a limited period of separate confinement in a home prison or penitentiary, accompanied by industrial employment and moral training; (2) of hard labour at some public works prison either at home or abroad; and (3) of exile to a colony with a conditional pardon or ticket-of-leave (q.v.). No pains were spared to give effect to this plan. Pentonville was available for the first phase; Millbank was also pressed into the service, and accommodation was hired in some of the best provincial prisons, as at Wakefield and Leicester. Few facilities existed for carrying out the second stage, but they were speedily improvised. Although the hulks at home had been condemned, convict establishments in which these floating prisons still formed the principal part were 'organized at Bermuda and Gibraltar. Neither of these was a conspicuous success; they were too remote for effective supervision; and although they lingered on for some years they were finally abolished. The chief efforts of the authorities were directed to the formation of public works prisons at home, and here the most satisfactory results were soon obtained. The construction of a harbour of refuge at Portland had been recommended in 1845; in 1847 an act was passed to facilitate the purchase of land there, and a sum of money was taken in the estimates for the erection of a prison which was begun next year. At another point, Dartmoor, a prison already stood available, although it had not been occupied since the last war, when ten thousand French and American prisoners had been incarcerated in it. A little reconstruction made Dartmoor into a modern gaol, and in the waste lands around there was ample labour for any number of convict hands. Dartmoor was opened in 1850; two years later a. convict prison was established at Portsmouth in connexion with the dockyard, and another of the same class at Chatham in 1856. l' he third stage in Sir George Grey's scheme contemplated the enforced emigration of released convicts, whom the discipline of separation and public works was supposed to have purged and purified, and who would have better hopes of entering on a new career of honest industry in a new country than when thrown back among vicious associations at home. The theory was good, the practice impossible. No colony would receive these ticket-of-leave men. Van Diemen's Land positively refused to do so, even though this denial cut off the supply of labour, now urgently needed. The appearance of a convict ship at the Cape of Good Hope nearly produced a revolt. Although Earl Grey addressed a circular letter to all colonial governments offering them the questionable boon of transportation, only one, the comparatively new colony of Western Australia, accepted. But this single receptacle could not absorb a tithe of the whole number of convicts awaiting exile. It became necessary therefore to find some other means for their disposal. Accordingly, in 1853 the first Penal Servitude Act was passed, substituting certain shorter sentences of penal servitude for transportation. It was only just to abbreviate the terms; under the old sentence the transporter knew that if well conducted he would spend the greater part of it in comparative freedom.' But although sentences were shortened it was not thought safe to surrender all control over the released convict; and he was only granted a ticket-of-leave for the unexpired portion of his original sentence. No effective supervision was maintained over these convicts at large. They speedily relapsed into crime; their numbers, as the years passed, became so great and their depredations so serious, especially in garrotte robberies, that a cry of indignation was raised against the system, which led to its arraignment before a. select committee of the House of Commons in 1863.
Meanwhile prison discipline in the elementary stage, as inflicted on lesser offenders, was continually discussed. The subject was referred to many committees for inquiry, and it was shown that there was a lamentable want of uniformity in the enforcement of legal penalties. The processes and treatment varied with the localities. Dietaries differed, here too ample, there meagre to starvation. The amount of exercise allowed varied greatly; there was no universal rule as to employment. In some prisons hard labour was insisted upon, and embraced tread-wheels or the newly-invented cranks; in some it did not exist at all. The cells inhabited by prisoners (and separate cellular confinement was now very general) were of different dimensions-variously lighted, warmed and ventilated. The time spent in these cells was not invariably the same, and as yet no authoritative decision had been made between the solitary and silent systems. The first named had been tried at Pentonville, but the period had been greatly reduced. The duration had been at first fixed at eighteen months, but it was proved that the prisoners’ minds had become enfeebled by this long isolation, and the period was limited to nine months. In many jurisdictions however the silent system, or that of associated
labour in silence, was still preferred; and there might be prisons within a short distance of each other at which two entirely different systems of discipline were in force.. In 1849 Mr Charles Pearson, M.P., moved for a select committee to report upon the best means of securing some uniform system which should be at once punitive, reformatory and self-supporting. He urged that all existing plans were inefiicacious, and he advocated a new scheme by which the labour of all prisoners should be applied to agriculture in district prisons. The result of a full inquiry was the reiteration of views already accepted in theory but not yet generally adopted in practice. Thirteen more years elapsed and still no such steps had been taken. A new committee sat in 1863, and in its report again remarked in no measured terms upon the many and wide differences that still existed in the gaols of Great Britain as regards construction, diet, labour and general discipline, “leading to an inequality, uncertainty and inefficiency of punishment productive of the most prejudicial results.” Matters could only be mended by the exercise of legislative authority, and this came in the Prison Act of 1865, an act which consolidated all previous statutes on the subject of prison discipline, many of its provisions being still in force. Yet the years passed and uniformity was still far from secured; it was impossible indeed while prison administration was still left to a number of local authorities, no two of which were often of the same mind. The legislature had tried its best, but had failed. It had exercised some supervision through its inspectors, had forbidden cells to be used until duly certified as ht, and had threatened to withhold exchequer contributions from prisons of which unfavourable reports were received. Such penalties had exercised no sufficient terrors. It began to be understood, moreover, that the prisons under local jurisdictions were not always conveniently and economically situated. Crime, with the many facilities offered for rapid locomotion to those who committed it, had ceased to be merely local, and the whole state rather than individual communities ought. to be taxed; prison charges should be borne by the public exchequer and not by local rates. These considerations gained strength and led at length to the introduction of the Prison Bill which became law in 1877, by which the control of all gaols was vested in a body of prison commissioners appointed by and responsible to the home secretary. These commissioners had power to consolidate by closing superfluous prisons, to establish one system of discipline, and generally by watchful supervision, aided by the experience of specialists, to maintain that much desired uniformity which had been so long and unsuccessfully sought. At the same time the co-operation of the local magistrates was invited so far as advice and assistance were concerned; but all real power and control has passed from their hands into that of the commissioners of prisons. The system established by the act of 1877 is that now in force. As for penal servitude, the punishment reserved for the gravest offences, great changes had been introduced. We left this branch of the subject at a parliamentary inquiry. The verdict given was in the main satisfactory; but doubts were expressed as to the severity of the discipline inflicted, the principal features of which were moderate labour, ample diet and substantial gratuities. The first was far less than the work free men did for a livelihood, the second larger, the third excessive, so that convicts often left prisons with thirty, forty, , even eighty pounds in their pockets. Penal servitude, to use the words of the lord chief justice Sir Alexander Cockburn, one of the members of the committee, “ was hardly calculated to produce on the mind of the criminal that salutary dread of the recurrence of the punishment which may be the means of deterring him and, through his example, others from the commission of crime.” The chief recommendation put forward to mend the system comprised lengthening of all sentences, a diminution in the dietaries, the abolition of large gratuities, and, speaking broadly, a general tightening of the reins. The most notable change however was in regard to labour, the quantity and value of which was to be regulated in future by the so-called “ mark-system.” This plan had originated with Captain Maconochie, at one time superintendent in Norfolk Island, who had recommended that the punishment inflicted upon criminals should be measured, not by time, but by the amount of labour actually performed. Int support of his theory he devised an ingenious system of recording the convicts' daily industry by marks, which on reaching a given total would entitle them to their release. This mark system had already been tried with good results in Ireland, where the Irish system, as it was called, introduced by Sir Walter Crofton, had attracted widespread attention. There had been a. very marked diminution in crime, attributable it was supposed to this system, which was in almost all respects the same as the English, although the Irish authorities had invented an “intermediate stage” in which convicts worked in a state of semi-freedom and thus practised the self-reliance which in many produced reform. As a matter of fact the diminution in crime was traceable to general causes, such as a general exodus by emigration, the introduction of a poor law and an increase in the facilities for earning an honest livelihood. It may be added here that judged by later experience the Irish system had no transcendent merits, and it is now extinct. But we owe something to the Irish practice which first popularized the idea of maintaining a strict supervision over convicts in a state of conditional release, and it reconciled us to a system which was long wrongfully stigmatized as espionage. The mark system, 'as recommended by the committee of 1863 and as subsequently introduced, had however little in common with either Maconochie's or the' Irish plan. It was similar in principle and thatwas all. According to the committee, every convict should have it in his 'power to earn a remission-in other words, to shorten his sentence by his 'industry. This industry was to be measured by marks earned by hard labour at the public works, after a short probational term of close “ separate ” confinement. But the remission gained did not mean absolute release. All males were to be sent, during the latter part of their sentence, “ without disguise to a thinly peopled colony, ” to work out their time and their own rehabilitation. The committee still clung to the old theory of transportation, and this in spite of the lively protests of some of its members. The one outlet remaining, however, that of Western Australia, was soon afterwards (1867) closed to convict emigrants; and this part of the committee's recommendations became a dead letter. Not so the mark system, or the plan of earning remission by steady industry. This was carried out on a broad and intelligent basis by officials prompt to avail themselves of the advantages it offered. Thus in 1877-1878 efforts were made to minimize contamination by segregating the worst criminals and restricting conversation at exercise. A special class was formed in 1880, in which all convicts “ not versed in crime, ” first offenders and comparatively innocent men, are now kept apart from the older and more hardened criminals. The committee last quoted gave it as their opinion that “ penal servitude as at present administered is on the whole satisfactory; it is effective as a punishment and free from serious abuses . a sentence of penal servitude is now generally an object of dread to the criminal population.” Since then, steps have been taken in the classification of convicts when undergoing sentence with a view to dealing more effectually with habitual criminals.
Having thus traced the history of secondary punishments and prison discipline in England, it will be well to de- Latest scribe the system now actually in force. This will M°”“f¢be best understood if we follow those who break;"'E"f°'° gPeuaI
the law through all the stages from that of arrest, Dimpmsthrough conviction, to release, conditional or in England. complete.
After a short detention in a police cell, an offender, unless disposed of summarily, passes into one of His Majesty's prisons, there to await his trial at sessions or assizes. The period thus spent in the provinces will never exceed three months; in London, with the frequent sitting at Clerkenwell and of the Central Criminal Court, it is seldom more than one month. While awaiting trial the prisoner may wear his own clothes, provide his own food, see and communicate with his friends and legal adviser so as to prepare fully for his defence. His fate after conviction depends on his sentence. If this be “imprisonment,” so called to distinguish it from “penal servitude,” although both mean deprivation of liberty and are closely akin, it is undergone in one of the “local” prisons-the prisons till 1878 under local jurisdiction, but now entirely controlled by the state through the home secretary and the commissioners of prisons. The régime undergone is cellular; able-bodied prisoners are kept in strict separation for at least a month, and during that time subjected to severe labour; although the term of first-class hard labour and of purely penal character no longer exists. The tread-wheel has also been abolished. A system of progressive stages based on the mark system has been adopted in the local prisons, and the prisoner's progress through each depends on his own industry and good conduct. During the first month he sleeps on a plank bed, a wooden frame raised from the floor, with bedding but without mattress. When he has earned the proper number of marks, which at the earliest cannot be until one month has elapsed, he passes into the second stage and is allowed better diet and a mattress twice a week. The third stage, at the end of the third month, gives him further privileges as regards diet and bed. The fourth stage concedes to the prisoner a mattress every night, and the privilege, if well conducted, to communicate by letter or through visits with his friends outside. These stages are applicable to females except as regards the plank bed; youths under sixteen and old men above sixty are also allowed mattresses. A small gratuity may be earned during the second and three following stages, amounting in the aggregate to ten shillings. The labour, too, may be industrial, and include instruction in tailoring, shoe making, basket-making, bookbinding, printing, and many more handicrafts. Throughout the sentence the prisoner has the advantage of religious and moral instruction; he attends divine service regularly, and whatever his creed is visited by a chaplain professing it, and receives educational assistance according to his needs. His physical welfare is watched over by competent medical men; close attention is paid to the sanitary condition of prisons; strict rules govern the size of cells, with their lighting, warming and ventilation. Dietaries are everywhere the same; they are calculated with great nicety according to the time of durance, and afford variety and ample nutrition without running into excess. In a word, as regards discipline, labour, treatment, exactly the same system obtains in the “local” prisons throughout the United Kingdom.
Where the sentence passes beyond two years it ceases to be styled imprisonment and becomes penal servitude, which may be inflicted for any period from three years to life. The prisoner becomes a convict and undergoes his penalty in one or more of the convict prisons. These are entirely under state management. A sentence of penal servitude as now administered consists of three distinct periods or stages: (1) that of probation endured in separate confinement at a so-called “close” prison; (2) a period of labour in association at a public works prison; and (3) conditional release for the unexpired portion of the sentence upon licence or ticket-of-leave. 1. In the first stage, which was limited to six months, but which it is proposed to reduce to one month, the convict passes his whole time in his cell apart from other prisoners, engaged at some industrial employment. He exercises and goes to chapel daily in the society of others, but holds no communication with them; his only intercourse with his fellow-creatures is when he is visited by the governor, chaplain, schoolmaster or trade instructor. This period of almost unbroken solitude is of a painful character, and its duration has therefore been wisely limited.
2. The second is a longer stage and endures for the whole or a greater part of the remainder of the sentence, its duration being governed by the power a convict holds in his own hands to earn a remission. It is now passed at a public works prison; either at Aylesbury (females), Borstal, Dartmoor, Parkhurst or Portland. While cellular separation, except at work, at prayers or exercise, is strictly maintained, labour is in association under the close and constant supervision of officials. Intercommunication no doubt takes place; men working together
in quarry, brick field or barrow-run, and out of earshot of their guardians, may and do converse at times. But the work is too arduous to allow of long and desultory conversation; the chance. of contamination is now minimized by the careful separation of the less hardened from the old offenders. There is no reason to suppose that any great evils arise from this association, and without it the execution of the many important national public works which now attest its value would have been impossible. Among these may be mentioned the following: the quarrying of stone for the great Portland breakwater, nearly 2 m. in length and between 50 and 60 ft. deep in the sea, with the defensive works on the Verne, batteries, casef ments and barracks intended to render the island of Portland impregnable, and the enlargement and extension of the dockyards at Chatham and Portsmouth. At Borstal a line of forts intended to protect Chatham on the south and west have been erected by convicts; they have also built magazines at Chattenden on the left bank of the Medway. Besides this, convict labour has been usefully employed in the erection of prison buildings at new points or in extension of those at the old. In all cases the bricks have been made, the stone quarried and dressed, the timber sawn, the iron cast, forged and wrought by the prisoners. The great merit of this system is the skill acquired in handicrafts by so many otherwise idle and useless hands. Convict mechanics are rarely found ready made. It is a fact that a large percentage of the total number employed at trades learnt them in prison. These results are no doubt greatly aided by the judicious stimulus given to the highest effort of the mark system. The chief objection to enforced labour has been the difficulty in ensuring this; but the convict nowadays eagerly tries his best, because only thus can he win privileges while in prison and an earlier release from it.- Every day's work is gauged and marks recorded according to its value; upon the total earned depends his passage through the stages or classes which regulate his diet and general treatment, and more especially his interviews and communications with his relations and friends. Yet more; steady willing labour continuously performed will earn a remission of a fourth of the sentence. It must be borne in mind that the marks thus earned may be forfeited at any time by misconduct, but affect remission to this extent only. The full remission in a five years' sentence is one year and ninety-one days; in seven years, one year two hundred and seventy-three days; in fourteen, three years one hundred and ninety-seven days; in twenty, four years one hundred and ninety days. “Lifers” cannot claim any remission, but their cases are brought forward at the end of twenty years and then considered on their merits.
3. Having earned his remission the convict enters upon the third stage of his punishment. He is released, but only conditionally, on licence or ticket-of-leave. This permission to be at large may easily be forfeited by fresh breaches of the law. Stringent conditions are endorsed upon the licence and well known to every licence holder (see Ticket-of-Leave). Further modifications have been introduced from time to time in the British penal system, tending mostly to milder discipline, more intelligent classification of prisoners and a certain amelioration of their lot. In its general outlines the system as set forth above has been maintained, but the departmental committee appointed in 1895 made some important recommendations which were presently adopted in part. The committee was dissatisfied with the moral results achieved and thought that more attention should be paid to reformatory processes. They believed that “few inmates left prison better than when they came in.” Recommittals were frequent and recidivism on the increase. Imprisonment was not sufficiently deterrent to the habitual criminal class, and small attention was paid to the reclamation of less hardened offenders. The views of this committee were embodied in a Penal Servitude bill which was long debated, but became law in 1898. It
emphasized the excellence of the system devised in 1879 for the segregation of the comparatively innocent from convicts hardened in crime. The system of the “star ” class as originally established provided that the prisoner never previously convicted should be kept absolutely apart, at chapel, labour, exercise and in quarters, from his less fortunate fellows who had already been imprisoned. The rule was strictly enforced and with the most conspicuous results, so that little more than 1% of “ stars ” have been re-convicted when once more at large. The privilege of the “ star ” is only accorded after careful inquiry and reasonable proof that the individual has never before been sent to prison. Reference is made to the police at the time of conviction, and the duty of looking into previous and present character is very strictly performed. The inquiry is continuous and may be prolonged into the sentence; then, if necessary, correction is applied. But as a matter of fact very few mistakes are made. It is obvious that wrongful admission into the “ star ” class might be fraught with mischievous consequences, and it is well known that a first sentence does not necessarily mean absolute unacquaintance with crime. For administrative convenience the “stars ”-whose name comes from the scrap of crimson cloth worn on cap and jacket sleeve-have been generally concentrated at Portland, and employed in labours specially allotted to them, for the most part demanding a higher rate of intelligence than the general average shown by convicts. Moulders, blacksmiths, carpenters, tinsmiths, stonemasons, bookbinders, painters and various other trades and handicrafts are the peculiar province of the “ stars.”
The Prison Act of 1898 made some marked changes in penal discipline. One was the strict limitation of corporal punishment to offences of mutiny and gross personal violence to officers, where previously it might be inflicted for many forms of misconduct, and it can only now be adjudged under great restrictions. It was feared that the removal of this powerful deterrent would adversely affect discipline, but on the contrary, the yearly average of prison offences has diminished from 147 to 131 per thousand prisoners, and it has been felt by the authorities that the limitation was salutary and wise. Another change was the power given to courts of law to differentiate between offenders by ordering them one of three classes of treatment ranging from severe to less rigorous. The first of these divisions was akin to that of former first-class misdemeanants; the second division was allotted to persons guilty of trivial offences not amounting to moral depravity, the third division was apportioned to serious crime calling for severe repression, involving strict separation for the first twenty-eight days with “ hard labour ” (now an obsolete expression, since all prison labour is nowadays accounted “ hard ”). The scheme was judicious, but courts have been slow to make use of its provisions. Yet a third improvement was permission conceded to prisoners locked up in default of payment of fine, to obtain a reduction of time proportionate to part payment of the fine. The numbers under both categories are considerable, and taken together show a steady increase in the ten years from 1892 (when the acts first came into effect) to 1902, the figures being 33,802 in 1892 and 51,302 in 1902. Imprisonment, albeit somewhat modified and diluted, continues to be used as the chief penalty and most trusted panacea for all crime. The medicine is so simple in application and so easily available that it is served out almost automatically and indifferently to every law-breaker; the pickpocket and the burglar are locked up next door to the clergyman at variance with his bishop; the weak-kneed and self-indulgent drunkard rubs shoulders with the political zealot who has endangered the peace of nations. There is an enormous mass of so-called crime in England which is not crime at all, and still is perpetually penalized by ar. infliction of imprisonment for such short periods as to be perfectly futile. The bulk of the offences for which it is meted out are trivial and unimportant. Eighty-three per cent of the annual convictions, summarily and on indictment, followed by committal to gaol, are for misconduct that is distinctly non-criminal, such as breaches of municipal by-laws and police regulations, drunkenness, gaming and offences under the 367
vagrancy acts. The leniency of the sentences indicates the comparatively trifling character of the wrongdoing. Forty per cent. of the males and 39% of the females were sent to prison for periods of a week or less; on the other hand, no more than 4% were sentenced to six months and under, only 2 % were imprisoned for terms between six months and one year; and -7 5% to more than one year. The question will arise some day whether it is really necessary to maintain fifty-six local prisons, with all their elaborate paraphernalia, their imposing buildings and expensive staff, to maintain discipline in daily life and insist upon the proper observance of customs and usages, many of them of purely modern invention. Of course there is in most cases the alternative of a fine, the non-payment of which entails the imprisonment; yet a penalty imposed on the pocket is so clearly the proper retribution for such misdeeds that better methods should be devised for the collection of fines. The chief aim of penal legislation should indeed be either to keep gaols empty or to use them only where distinct reduction in the number of offenders, whether by regeneration or by continuous withdrawal from noxious activity, can be obtained. An axiom based upon this view has been formulated, and although paradoxical it may well be quoted here. The great aim and object of all penal processes, it has been said, should be the recognition of the general principle of dividing all offenders into two categories: (1) those who ought never to enter a gaol, and (2) those who ought never to be allowed to leave it. Praiseworthy efforts to compass the first end have been made in recent legislation. The First Offenders Act in 1887 had the effect of postponing sentence and sparing these offenders from incarceration subject to their good conduct. An average of about 4500 thus escaped imprisonment in the five years between 1893 and 1897, and an average of 5500 the five following years. The gain in this was great, seeing that no more than 6 to 8% were actually sent to gaol after the commission of a second offence, and that there was therefore a very distinct saving in expense of maintenance of prisoners incarcerated. The value of this act is to be seen in its wide adoption. It is in force in some of the states of the American Union. It was adopted in France by the Berenger law of 1891, and in Belgium, where 14% of sentences of imprisonment in one year and a-half were postponed. In some countries the concession has been accompanied by admonition. The Summary Jurisdiction Acts, by which large numbers of minor offenders were discharged on bail, or subjected to fines or very brief terms of imprisonment, have also tended to diminish the prison population enormously. The number annually discharged increased from 33,000 in 1893 to 51,302 in 1902. This excellent system has commended itself to many countries and it is now adopted by the bulk of governments and jurisdictions owing allegiance to the British Crown.
Two new systems of applying imprisonment have commended themselves to English administrators, and both have been effected by the Prevention of Crime Act 1908. The first is a new method for educating and reforming young offenders, already on the frontiers of habitual crime, no longer children, but at an age still susceptible of permanent improvement; the second is the legal acceptance of the principle of indefinite detention, the willingness to inflict an indeterminate sentence on those who have already forfeited the right to be at large. Both these measures originated in the United States. The Borstal scheme of a juvenile-adult reformatory has been to some extent planned on the institutions of Elmira reformatory in the state of New York and of Concord in Massachusetts (see JUVENILE OFFENDERS). Side by side with the new processes introduced, the idea of the indeterminate sentence was started and put in practice, by which release was made to depend upon reasonable hope of amendment and sentences were prolonged until it was more or less certain that the treatment had resulted in cure.
Other measures are set forth in the new classification of convicts, prescribed by the secretary of state in the rules submitted by him to the House of Commons in 1904. All convicts are classed in three categories, viz. (A) the Ordinary division; (B) the Habitual Offenders' division; and (C) the Long Sentence division.
The “A” or Ordinary division comprises all ordinary convicts under old rules who are still separated into the three classes of “star,” intermediate and recidivist, as provided by the act of 1898. The qualifications for each class are clearly laid down. Only those never previously convicted, or known as of not habitually criminal or corrupt habits, are eligible for the “star” class. 'The intermediate class takes those not previously convicted but deemed unsuitable as “stars” from antecedents and generally unsatisfactory character. The recidivist class is for those previously sentenced to penal servitude or whose record shows them to have been guilty of grave and persistent crime.
These three classes begin with cellular confinement, but for varying-periods; the first for three months, the second six months and the third for nine months, in all cases subject to a medical. report upon mental and physical condition. Female convicts pass the first three months of their sentence in separate cells.
The “B” division indicates the worst penalties to be inflicted upon habitual criminals. There is no recognition whatever of the principle of the indeterminate sentence. The law merely prescribes the forfeiture of all remission. The convict is not eligible for release or licence, but when the time of conditional liberation would have formerly arrived the case is submitted to the authorities and dealt with on its merits. Early release depends upon the reports on industry and conduct, and the prospect of his keeping straight if set free. He may have to “do” his whole time but not an hour beyond it.
Certain privileges are conceded to the “B” division to compensate those in it for the loss of remission. They wear a special dress, a band of blue cloth on the left arm; they may earn an extra gratuity and spend a part of it in buying extra food or articles of comfort and relaxation; they may take their meals in association, converse at them or at exercise, but not at labour. .
The “C” division has been designed for convicts serving long sentences, who have gained all possible privileges in the early years of sentence and have little or nothing to expect further until the last year of their sentence, when they may earn an additional gratuity. But after ten years they may enter the “C” division, earn a special gratuity therein, and enjoy the various privileges accorded to the “B” or habitual criminals division with the additional advantage that there is no interference with their remission.
Still milder and more humanitarian prison treatment was that put forward by the home secretary in 1910 in his speech already referred to. In it he suggested that the following reforms should be carried out, some by administrative order and some by future legislation: (1) time for the payment of fines inflicted for minor offences; (2) disciplinary treatment outside prison for all offenders under 21 years of age; (3) punishment of those guilty of offences not involving moral turpitude to be relieved of all degrading features; (4) the reduction of the period of solitary confinement to a maximum of one month; (5) and the abolition of the ticket-of-leave system. It was also proposed to give four lectures or concerts a year in convict prisons.
Prisons in other Countries.—The general progress made in prison treatment will be best realized by a brief survey of penal institutions in the principal countries of the world. It will be convenient to take them alphabetically.
1. Austria-Hungary.—The régime of cellular confinement has not been universally adopted; only six prisons are built on that principle and no more than 15% of the whole number of prisoners can be subjected to the system. Cellular separation is not inflicted for long periods, the minimum being six months and the maximum three years. The bulk of the prisoners live and labour in common. A great feature has been the execution of public works by prisoners in a state of semi-liberty beyond prison walls—the practical adoption of the so-called “Irish” or, intermediate prison—and good results are seen in road-making and the improvement of river courses.
2. Belgium.—This country has spared neither pains nor money in carrying out penal processes, and the Belgian prisons are examples of the cellular system prolonged to the utmost limits of human endurance. There is a minimum of ten years, but the individual may elect to continue in separation, or be transferred to partial association. A new school of Belgian criminologists has been headed by M. Prins, the chief of the prison department, who has protested that to hope the vicious, hardened offender, after a long detention, “surrounded with every attention, soaked with good counsel, will leave his cell regenerated,” is a Utopian dream.
3. British Dominions beyond the Sea.—The principle of cellular separation was accepted as far back as 1836 and the model prison of Pentonville, o ened in 1842, has since been copied throughout the civilized world? The cellular system has been adopted in all British colonies with various modifications, and prisons built on modern principles are to be found in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Cape of Good Hope. India retains association as the system most suitable for its criminal classes, with other methods generally abandoned in Great Britain, such as the employment of well-conducted prisoners as auxiliaries in prison discipline and service; deportation is still the penalty for the worst offences and is carried out on a large scale and with satisfactory results in the Andaman Islands. In Egypt since the establishment of British control a very marked change has been introduced in prison affairs.
4. Denmark.—In Denmark all convicted prisoners pass through several stages, from cellular treatment to the intermediate prison and conditional liberty. Two new prisons on the latest model have been erected at Co enhagen, one for males and the other for females. The smaller gaols for short terms are mostly on the cellular plan.
5. France.—France has devoted very considerable attention to prison matters and is now practising the two extremes of treatment, the strict cellular isolation of the Belgian system and the penal exile or transportation which was long the English rule.
6. Germany.—The unified German Empire has not as yet adopted one system of prison treatment, and its various component kingdoms still retain independence in views and practice.
Baden has a well-known cellular prison at Bruchsal, but separation is not imposed for more than four years and associated labour is carried out in another quarter of the prison.
Bavaria has four cellular prisons, the chief being at Munich and Nuremberg, but the collective system also obtains.
Prussia having declared for the cellular system constructed the well-known Moabit prison in Berlin, also those of Ratibor in Silesia. and of Herford in Westphalia, while those of Graudenz, Breslau, Werden and Cologne have been added since. The total number of separate cells to-day is 11,04I against 3247 in 1869. Two new cellular prisons, Luttringhausen and Saarbruck, have recently been added. Frankfurt has a good prison on the Pentonville (London) plan; so has Hamburg; and new buildings have been erected at Wohlan, Siegburg, Breslau and Munster. Separate cells in Prussia had increased in 1896 from 3247 to 6573. The cellular régime is applicable to prisoners between 18 and 30, and to first offenders of 50 years of age, the term being fixed by the governor of the gaol, but never exceeding three years.
Saxony established a penitentiary at Zwickau in 1850 and in its earlier management exhibited exaggerated kindness to its inmates. Both the cellular and the associated systems obtain.
Württemberg has accepted the cellular system. There are prisons for females at Heilbronn, and for males at Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart; in Württemberg itself the régime is collective.
7. Holland has followed her nearest neighbour Belgium and has now at command separate cells sufficient to receive the whole number of her prison population. The system of unbroken seclusion, prolonged to five years, is maintained with strictness.
8. Italy.—Although accepting the principle of cellular imprisonment, Italy has not adopted it largely, partly from want of funds and not a little because the current of thought has set against it. The really penal establishments are 77 in number, the great ergastolo of San Stefano being one. Agricultural labour for convicts has been tried in colonies of coatti (or those provisionally released) planted out in the islands of the Italian archipelago.
9. Norway.—The separation of Norway, as an independent state, from Sweden has produced no great change in its prison institutions, which still follow the lines of the neighbouring country.
10. Portugal.—There are three or more cellular prisons at Lisbon, Coimbra and Santarem, and the system of strict separation when first adopted in 1884 was expected both to amend and deter.
11. Sweden.—Prince Oscar of Sweden was one of the earliest adherents of cellular imprisonment, and at his urgent representation penitentiary reform was warmly espoused in 1841. His influence is still felt, and the systemin force in Norway and Sweden is progressive from strict separation to working outside the cell. Sweden, which adopted the cellular system in 1842, has now cells sufficient for prisoners sentenced to two years and less. There are three principal central prisons, one at Langholm near Stockholm, a second at Malmo and a third at Mya Varfet near Gothenburg.
12. United States.—The penal system of the United States varies between being the most advanced and the most backward in the civilized world. At one end of the scale are the numerous bad county gaols and the horrors of the convict lease system in the southern states, now nearly extinct; at the other such modern and well-equipped reformatories as Elmira and Concord (see Juvenile Offenders). The worst feature is the indiscriminate association sometimes seen of all inmates, bond and free, the convicted and accused; even witnesses against whom there is no shadow of a charge are sometimes imprisoned among felons. Nor is it only in distant corners of the great continent that this criticism applies, though constant improvements are removing the grounds for it. It is only a short time since the local gaol in the city of New York, “the Tombs,” a house of detention for prisoners awaiting trial, was described in an official report to the state legislature as “a disgrace. It is defective in every modern appliance. It is dark, damp and ill-ventilated . . . worst of all is the hideous system of keeping two or three men in a cell; . . . a means of indescribable torture to a decent man and a prolific source of vice and crime to a criminal. Such treatment of dogs would be gross cruelty.” This building has, however, now been pulled down, and a new and better one has taken its place. The administration of prisons rests mainly with the various state authorities, and there is no federal or general system which would introduce uniformity of treatment. The federal government has no influence or control except for offences against the federal laws, regulating coinage, postal service, the revenue and so forth. Prison management is essentially a local concern, but some general features are common to all states, such as the rule that while petty offenders and prisoners awaiting trial are under county and city jurisdiction, the state takes charge of all persons convicted of serious crimes. The state prisons receive by far the largest proportion of the criminal population, more than half the general total being imprisoned therein. Some of them are models of cleanliness and good order, built on the best and most imposing lines with large comfortable cells and an abundance of light and air. The earnest desire of most prison administration is to develop industrial training and trade profits side by side with mildness of treatment. The latter sometimes lapses into methods which are not usually thought compatible with prison discipline, such as the permission to play on musical instruments, the holding of concerts, the privilege of smoking and chewing tobacco, of receiving baskets of provisions, novels and newspapers from friends outside.
It is worthy of note that prison architecture in the United States misses many of the gloomy features common to such constructions. The newest prisons are generally lighter, more roomy, better ventilated and on the whole more comfortable than even the best British prisons. In 1900 Sir E. Ruggles Brise, the English expert on prisons, declared that “the purity of the air and the cleanliness of the American prisons are admirable, and under a very elaborate system of warming by hot air, a regular and uniform temperature is sustained throughout the year, which, considering the varying nature of the climate from extreme heat to cold many points below zero, is a considerable engineering triumph.”
Prison Industries.—It is an axiom in prison science that enforced labour cannot easily be made productive. No doubt the problem has been in a measure solved in England by that useful incentive to industry, the mark system. But the more substantial returns cannot always be expected with the sedentary employments and single-handed effort inseparable from the régime of cellular imprisonment. England for many years past, in adopting the principle of Public Works Prisons after a certain short period spent in separation, has pronounced in favour of open-air employment in association. Although the system still has many hostile critics its value cannot be contested. It has been said by a trustworthy authority “We are convinced also that severe labour on public works is most beneficial in teaching criminals habits of industry and training them to such employments as digging, road-making and brick-making-work of a kind which cannot be carried on in separate confinement.” A good proof of the value of the system as remunerative and healthful, morally and physically, is seen in the growing desire of other countries to follow our lead. Very similar operations have been carried out in Austria-Hungary, where large tracts of land have been brought into cultivation, and watercourses have been diverted successfully despite serious difficulties, climatic and physical; in Russia convict labour has been largely used in the construction of the Trans-siberian railway; the military operations in the Sudan were greatly aided by convict labourers engaged in useful work at the base and all along the line; Italy passed a law in 1904 enacting outdoor labour for the reclamation and draining of waste lands by prisoners under long sentence; and France, although much wedded to cellular imprisonment, is beginning to favour extra-mural employment of prisoners under strict regulations. The subject was discussed at the Penitentiary Congress at Budapest in 1905, and a resolution passed recommending extra-mural employment for prisoners of rural origin, vagrants and drunkards, and those subject to tuberculous disease, “so largely the concomitant of cellular confinement.”
Prison industries continue to be largely sedentary in character; they cover a wide range, although the conditions of life are for the most part artificial. Most trades and handicrafts are practised, such as shoe making, tailoring, carpentry, the work of white- and blacksmiths; skilful and intelli ent workmen, such as the French and japanese, find a wide outlet for their versatile and artistic talent. The well-known products, styled articles de Paris, prison-made, find a large sale, and many objects of high art, fine paintings, cloisonne enamels and gold lacquer are among the beautiful products from japanese prisoners. The indoor manufactures followed in British prisons are not so varied as the foregoing and have been limited by the protests and objections raised by free or outside labour against alleged unfair competition. Accordingly, the production of goods has been largely curtailed for the open market and prison labour is restricted nowadays to supplying articles required for current use by public departments-such as the navy, army, post office and, of course, all prison establishments. Prison labour has found an outlet, therefore, in such work as service blanket making, hammock making, mail-bag making, the, manufacture of cartridge cases, flags, chopping firewood for barracks and so on, having been diverted almost entirely from mat-making, once an exclusive prison trade originally invented indeed by prison task-masters. The total annual value of the labour applied in English prisons has varied. In 1896–1897 the total accruing from manufactures, farm operations and the ordinary service of the prison was £213,812, the prison population in local and convict prisons being 17,614; in 1903–1904 the total amounted to £244,518, the prison population on the 31st of March 1904 being 21,117. The gross expenditure was £524,289 for 1896–1897, as against £615,656 for 1903–1904. Figures are not available for any exact comparison of outlay and return in other countries, but the earnings in European countries generally run to about half the expenditure. In the United States the policy varies between the two extremes of making prisoners self-supporting and of leaving them in Idleness so that the whole weight of experipe falls upoéi the state. In some states economic considerations have carried the day; in others the stringency of labour laws under the pressure of labour associations has paralysed all prison industry. In the first mentioned, the contract system, by which a contractor hires the prisoner’s labour from the state, has proved very profitable, but at the sacrifice of discipline and neglect of reformatory processes upon the individual. This leasing-out system has been carried further in some of the southern states, and has produced the convict camps, which have been much criticized and condemned from the harshness of the discipline enforced, the many abuses that exist alld the meagre results other than monetary that have been obtained.
The modern movement in favour of industrial employment combined with humane and intelligent considerations has swept away the more or less barbaric method of enforcing labour by automatic machinery such as the treadmill, crank and shot drill (see Treadmill).
Authorities.—John Howard, State of Prisons in England and Wales (1784); Cesare Lombroso, L’Uomo delinquente, &c. (1899); Beaumont and A. de Tocqueville, Système pénitentiaire aux États-Unis (1837); Crawford, Report on Penitentiaries (U.S.A., 1838); Maconochie, Prison Discipline (1856); Dr Guillaume, Progress of Prison Discipline in Switzerland (1872); Arthur Griffiths, Memorials of Millbank (1873), Chronicles of Newgate (1882); Armingol y Cornet, Prisons and Prison Discipline in Spain (1874); Stevens, Régime des établissements pénitentiaires en Belgique (1875); F. V. Holtzendorf and von Jagemann, Handbuch des Gefängniswesens (1877); Scaglia Beltrani, Reforma penitenzaria in Italia (1879); Sir Edmund F. Du Cane, Punishment and Prevention of Crime (1885); Braco, Estudos penitenciarios e criminaes (Lisbon, 1888); Garofalo, Studio sul delitto, sulle sui cause e sui mezzi di repressione (1890); Adolphe Guillot, Les Prisons de Paris (1890); Tallack, Preventive and Penological Principles (1896); Salillas, Vida penal en España (Madrid). (A. G.)
- ↑ Report of the Royal Commission on Penal Servitude (1878–1879).