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night in the County Jail with another man; because, he said, it made his tongue feel so good to talk, and added further, “One man is as good as five newspapers."
The third great feature of the Auburn system is moral and religious instruction. The evil communication being cut off, the good instruction is communicated. The morning and evening prayers; the private visits, conversation, advice, and sympathy of the chaplain ; the kind and faithful admonitions, instructions, and prayers of the Sabbath school teachers ; the appropriate and pungent preaching; and, not unfrequently, the paternal advice and counsel of the warden, in the chapel, on the Sabbath, in the presence of all the officers and visitors ; — this is the third great feature of the Auburn system.
In the chapel of the Auburn Prison, the late Judge Powers addressed a few words of kindness and affectionate regard to the prisoners, and about one half the whole number were in tears. How admirably this combination of the great features of the system is calculated to bring men to reflection! A prisoner was asked in the new Prison at Wethersfield, Conn., which is built and conducted, substantially, on the Auburn plan, “ How do you like the new Prison, compared with the old Prison, where they were lodged seventy feet under ground, in large night-rooms?” He said, “ There, it is, Hail, fellows, well met; but here, it is prayers the first thing in the morning, and the last thing at night, and silence by day and by night; we see our comrades, and say nothing ; but thịnk, think, think. I do not like this so well as the other.''
Several other important features of the system, although not, perhaps, as important as those which have been mentioned, are essential to its completion, and distinguish it from any system ever introduced previous to the present century.
The building is a Prison within a Prison, greatly diminishing the chances of escape, and preventing the ceaseless anxiety, calculation, crast, and cunning, of the old Prisons, in regard to escapes.
Moreover, the construction gives a place, in the area, around the block of cells, for a sentinel to be always on duty, during the night. If the prisoner gets out of his cell into the area, he is exposed to the fire of the sentinel on duty. This is a very distinct and important feature of the Auburn system, greatly distinguishing it from the old system of Prison discipline, where plots to escape, combinations for the purpose, insurrections, and rebellion, were the order of the day. We have scarcely heard of such a thing since the Auburn system was introduced.
There are still other features of the system, too important not
to be mentioned, going to show that it is no one thing, but many things, that make the Auburn system.
The same relative position, to a vast extent, is preserved among the men. My neighbor to-day is my neighbor to-morrow and the whole year. The names, faces, crimes, sentences, of prisoners, in different shops, and, to some extent, in the same shops, are not known to fellow-prisoners. The extent to which this remark is true, owing to preserving the same relative position, would surprise any critical examiner.
And then the same relative position is preserved, by the lockstep, froin the shops to the night-rooms, froin the night-rooms to the chapel, and from the chapel again to the shops; and thus the jostling, bustle, and confusion of the old system is done away.
Again, to prevent evil communication by signs, the men are extensively arranged, on the Auburn system, improved to the highest degree, back to face, and not face to face; so that the thing signified by signs, what does it signify, if it is not seen?
This is an imperfect outline of the Auburn system. There is evidently much in it to subdue, to silence, to instruct, to restrain, to render submissive and pliable, to keep in safety, before a word is said about stripes. The stripes are as the drop to the ocean, compared with the whole. It is not true, that it depends on stripes. Its efficiency does not depend upon them ; its success does not depend upon them; the preventing evil communication does not depend upon them; the good instruction does not depend upon them; the construction of the Prison does not depend upon them ; its reformatory character does not depend upon them; the keeping down insurrections, and the preventing escapes, do not depend upon them; keeping the convicts ignorant of each other does not depend upon them. In short, stripes ought to be, if they are not, either a very small part, or no part, of the system.
What becomes, now, of the principle, which we set out to discuss, that terror, and not moral improvement, is the great end of the Auburn system of Prison discipline. We have seen that all the great features of the system aim at moral improvement, by preventing evil and communicating good.
The solitary confinement at night; the silence by day and by night; the moral and religious instruction ; the very construction of the Prison; the chapel, the solemn assembly, the morning and evening devotions; the Sabbath school; the paternal advice of the warden; the sympathetic and affectionate visits of the chaplain; the night watch; the preserving the same relative position; the cutting off the language of signs; - all, all is designed to prevent evil communication, and, in the place of it, to pour upon the mind good instruction. The man who says it depends altogether upon the lash, does not understand the system. It is a powerful system without stripes.
We are now prepared to show that it can be conducted, and has been conducted, as well, if not better, without stripes. In the House of Correction, at South Boston, with 300 inmates, it has been in successful operation six years without stripes. The Auburn system, in all its great features, can nowhere be seen in more successful operation.
ENLARGEMENT OF WORKSHOPS IN PENI
The warden of the Massachusetts State Prison, in his last report, speaks of the necessity of some additions to the workshops.
The warden of the Connecticut State Prison, in expending the moneys appropriated by the last legislature for repairs, has greatly enlarged and improved the workshops, so that the whole range of shops in this Prison is now very ample, well adapted, and complete. Probably no Penitentiary in the United States is now provided with better workshops.
The inspectors of the Auburn Prison, in their last report, call the attention of the legislature to this subject, as follows:
“ We fully concur in the opinion of the agent, in his report, in reference to the pressing necessity of the erection of at least one new shop, at as early a period as practicable, for the accommodation of the several contractors by hin therein named. At present, the respective contractors for the employment of the hame-makers and tailors, are suffering much inconvenience, and the state a pecuniary loss, for the want of proper and sufficient shop-room. Should the agent continue to be exempted from the payment of sheriff fees for the transportation of convicts hither, we have no good reason to doubt that the resources of the Prison will be ample for constructing such shops, and for completing such other necessary improvements and repairs as he has suggested.”
The agent of the Auburn Prison says,
“ Most of the workshops are in a leaky and very dilapidated condition.”
The physician of the same Prison proposes to the board of inspectors
“ The propriety of establishing an invalid department, separate and wholly distinct from the hospital, the object of which should be the reception and employment of all the convicts after being discharged from the hospital, while yet in a feeble state, and unable to do duty in the shops; also all weak, enfeebled, and broken-down subjects, who are unable to labor in the shops, but still able to do something towards paying for their keeping. At present, there is no stopping-place between the hospital and the workshop; and, although the hospital is the proper place for the sick, it is frequently the wrong place for the convalescent. Men will frequently recover their strength tardily while in the hospital; the consequence is, they are sometimes sent back to the shops before they have recovered sufficient strength; hence ensue relapses, and perhaps the confirmation of some latent disease, which ultimately destroys the subject. Such an improvement would have an important bearing upon the health of the convicts, lessen the amount of mortality in the Prison, and more fully comport with the humane principles of Prison discipline of the present day.”
BAD CONSTRUCTION AND VENTILATION.
The physician of the new Penitentiary in New Jersey, on the Pennsylvania plan, says, in his last report,
“ The evils of bad ventilation ought to be seriously considered. One of the worst systems of heating is adopted in this Prison, – that of radiation from pipes. If a plan were devised for warming without purifying an apartment, a more effectual mode could not be conceived. The same air may remain for days, excepting the occasional entry and escape from apertures, that have not been made for the purpose ; for, owing to a deficiency of heat from the pipes, the ventilators are kept closed, in winter, by the convicts, or they suffer from cold. Heated air, as they cannot have fireplaces, or stoves, in their cells, is the only plan, that ought to be resorted to. . . The first breath that a stranger inhales, is felt instinctively to be unwholesome. The emanations from the prisoners and the ontlet pipes, are floating through the interior of the building, when there ought to be a strong current of air driving them out of doors.”
A correspondent in Louisville, Kentucky, concerning the Indiana Penitentiary at Jeffersonville, says, –
“On each side of a central wall is arranged a row of forty cells. These cells are back to back, and open into two passages, which are on each side between them and the outer wall. The cells are 71 feet long and 4 feet wide, ventilated by an aperture 2 feet long through the outer wall; but are perfectly dark when closed,” i. e., when the cell doors are shut.
The Rev. Mr. Barrett, in a letter dated May 12, 1841, concerning the same Prison, writes that –
“ It ought not to be spoken of with any kind of patience. It is a disgrace to the state. A few years ago, a new building for cells was erected within the narrow walls. A worse place for human beings to sleep in can scarcely be contrived. It professes to be on the Auburn plan; but the blocks of cells are entirely of wood; the doors of wood, with a single small hole through them, without grating. The cells are only 5 or 6 feet from the external wall; and a tight floor at each story goes from the cells to the outer wall, and thus precludes fresh air. The cells cannot be entered without low stooping. Reading in the cells is entirely out of the question ; and how a man can breathe there long, with any comfort, 'tis hard to understand.”
LENGTH OF SENTENCES IN PENITENTIARIES.
Average sentence of 322, the whole number in the Massachusetts State Prison, Sept. 30, 1840,
5 yrs. 9 mos. Average sentence of 189, in the Connecticut State Prison, March 31, 1841, .
7 yrs. 3 mos. Average sentence of 152, in the New Jersey State Prison, Sept. 30, 1840, .
7 mos. Average sentence of 129, in the new Penitentiary
in Philadelphia, received during the year 1840, 2 yrs. 5 mos. Average sentence of 104, in the Baltimore Peni
tentiary, received during the year ending Nov. 30, 1840,
3 yrs. Average sentence of 79, in the Penitentiary in the District of Columbia, during the year 1840, 3
8 mos. Average sentence of 181, in the Virginia Penitentiary, Sept. 30, 1839,
yrs. 10 mos. Average sentence of 162, in the Kentucky Peni
tentiary, Nov. 30, 1840, ... Average sentence of 68, received in the Louisia
na Penitentiary, during the year 1839, . 5 yrs. 1 mo.
CAUSES OF CRIME.
The chaplain of the Massachusetts State Prison says, –
“ Intemperance ever has been, and still continues to be, the fruitful source of more vice and crime than all other known causes combined."
The chaplain of the Prison at Sing Sing says, –
“ About one third of all the convicts now in your Prison were confirmed drunkards at the time of their conviction; another third were habitual drinkers of ardent spirits; and a large portion of the residue were in the constant use of cider, strong beer, &c., and occasionally drank ardent spirits. And all these have freely declared their convic