Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/383

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

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 andrso forth. Prison management is essentially a local concernjbut 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[1] “ 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 delinquent, &c. (1899); Beaumont and A. de Tocqueville, Systéme pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis (1837); Crawford, Report on Penitentiaries (U.S.A., 1838); Maconochie, Prison Discipline (1856); Dr Guillaume, Progress o Prison Disci line in Switzerland (1872); Arthur Griffiths, A/[emoria s of Millbank (1873), Chronicles of Newgate (1882); Armingol y Cornet, Prisons and Prison Discipline in Spain (1874); Stevens, Régime des étoblissements pénitentiaires en Belgi ne (1875); F. V. Holtzendorf and von jagemann, Handbuch des (ifdngniswesens (1877); Scaglia Beltrani, Reforma penitenzaria in Italia (1879); Sir Edmund F. Du Cane, Punishment and Prevention of Crime (1885); Braco, Estados penitenciarios e criminals (Lisbon, 1888); Garofalo, Studio sul delitto, sulle sui cause e sui mezzi di repression (1890); Adolphe Guillot, Les Prisons de Paris (1890); Tallack, Preventive and Penological Principles (1896); Salillas, Vida penal en Espana (Madrid). (A. G.)

PRISONERS' BASE (Prisobers' Bars), an ancient game much affected by children. The players are divided into two sides, each standing within a base or home marked off at some distance apart. After preliminary songs and war-like challenges, a player on one side runs out and is pursued by one of “ the enemy ”; if touched he becomes a prisoner of the side to which his Captor belongs. If another player from the side of the pursued runs between him and his pursuer, the latter has to follow him, but the last to leave his base is privileged to touch any one of the enemy who left his base before him. The rules of the game are, however, traditional, and necessarily somewhat elastic. The end comes, of course, when all of one side have been captured by the other.

PRITCHARD, CHARLES (1808–1893), British astronomer, was born at. Alberbury, Shropshire, on the 29th of February 1808. At the age of eighteen he was enrolled as a sizar at St John's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated in 1830 as fourth wrangler. In 1832 he was elected fellow of his college, and in the following year he was ordained, and became head master of a private school at Stockwell. From 1834 to 1862 he was headmaster of Clapham grammar school. He then

  1. Report of the Royal Commission on Penal Servitude (1878–1879).