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substitute a Penitentiary for all the forms of punishment, coercion or restraint, as the graud corrective of all crime-from guilt of tbe deepest die, to delinquencies which fault and folly bave barely tinged.
Though our readers may not coincide with all the arguments, however plainly they proceed from a feeling heart and an intelligent mind, yet the facts communicated and considerations offer. ed in this volume to those who would do good with knowledge," entitle it to inuch attention. There are some particular considerations which make it of unusual importance to us on this side the water. Our population is not only swelling beyond parallel, but of the thousands flowing in upon us from under ihe operation of different and various laws, very many will probably be rightly adjudged to tenant for a time, and crowd our prisons. The question then becomes an important oneHow shall their punishment be made productive of good to themselves and the community ? Mr. Roscoe labours solely to answer this question. Both bis general arguments, we mean those founded on the nature and effects of punishment,--and bis inductive reasoning from the many valuable facts witb which his book is stored as to the existing varieties of prison discipline as well as the codes of penal law, unite in support of a Penitentiary as best suited to answer the ends of all punishinent. First as respects the individual, to soften the mind and not barden the heart, and secondly as regards the community, to turn the labours of the imprisoned to the public account; and at the same tige hold out to the transgressor the opportunity of amendment, and furnish him with motives to reform. We cannot, in a notice which is intended only to invite attention to an important subject, begin with a statement of Mr. Roscoe's sentiments and doctrines in the several departments of Penal Jurisprudence, and lead our readers after him through the chief prisons of almost every state and metropolis in Europe ; giving next a full account of the prisons, prison-discipline, and pepal laws of England; then crossing the water, and entering into a minute history of the State Penitentiaries and Prisons in our own country, describing and accounting for their original success and subsequent decline of usefulness; then discussing the best mode of Penitentiary discipline, and closing with a large and full appendix, stored with docuinents and facts, all going to substantiate the positions and confirm the reasonings of the author. Much Jess shall we attempt to answer all the arguinents (many of which we hold to be exceedingly fallacious and ungrounded) which he has ingeniously enough arrayed to beat down established doctrines, that are at war with his Penitentiary project, and to New Series-vol. I
establish his point. We shall however enter a little more into a detail of the contents of this book, and notice some of the author's peculiarities of sentiment; and shall give some extracts, which may very probably furnish a better knowledge of the work, than any general statements of ours on the subject of which it treats.
Mr. Roscoe begins with discussing the motives and end of Punishment; and as his whole system binges on his peculiar sentiments here, which, as expressed, we think, are without sufficient qualification, we sball give what we deem the essence of the doctrine.
“Instead of connecting the ideas of crime and punishment, we ought to place together the ideas of crime and reformation-considering Punishment as only one of the modes for effecting such reformation."
“It requires but a very slight acquaintance either with the principles of human nature, or the history of civil society to be convinced, that pun. ishment, simply and in itself, has never been found a sufficient preservative against the commission of crime. The first impulse of the mind upon the iofliction of pain by way of punishment is not contrition, but resentment; a hardening of heart, not only against those who inflict it, but agaiost the rest of the world; and too often, it is to be feared, a resolution to balance the account, as soon as possible, by a repetition of the same, or a commission of a greater offence. Hence, it has been shown by the experience of all ages, tbat as punishments have increased in severity, crimes have been multiplied. It is only by the calm exercise reason, by removing
ipducement, or correcting the disposition to crimes, or by taking a sincere interest in the welfare of the offender, and convincing him, that the evils he experiences are the unavoidable consequences of his own misconduct, and are inflicted upon him for his own good, that we can expect any beneficial effect. l'pon the practicability of this is founded the great plan of modern improvement, called the Penitentiary System, the advantages of which are every day becoining more apparent, and which, when perfected by ex. perience, cannot fail to produce the most important and happiest results on the moral character and condition of mankind." p. 10.
By the reformation of which he speaks, be means that of the individual criminal - thus laying too entirely out of the idea of punishinent, its terrifying eflects on all who are not within the immediate
grasp of offended Law. Though we are aware that this doctrine of bis is occasionally qualified a little in this work, -yet we are forced to contess, and we do it once for all, that the whole tenor of his reasoning, and the effects of his proposed improvements bave too exclusive a tendency to ameliorate the condition and improve the characters of those, whose guilt bas subjected them io punishment, and too reinote and weak an influence in the prevention of crime. So long as the fears of men sball be among the prime regulators of action, so loug must punishment, if we would not surrender the peace of society, bave something more in view than the mere reformation of the offender.
We come to a Chapler, which does not need our praise, and which, if our limits permitted, we would give to our readers entire-on the Prevention of crime. This subject is ably discussed. Crimes are rightly attributed to the vicious habits of the age. The prominent are specified. Intoxication is at the head of the list. The second, is the open and unresirained practice of gaming-originating in the highest classes, and descending, and corrupting as it descends, through all ranks, till it reaches the very children in the streets. The third, is the alarming extent of female profligacy. This enumeration will apply 10 our own society as forcibly as to the English ; and as the establishing a correct sense of moral duty must be at the bottom of every endeavour to prevent crime-The exertions of the benevolent in counteracting these vices will do more toward prevention, than the building of many prisons and penitentiaries.
As we shall not be able to examine very minutely Mr. R’s. Penitentiary Plan, we ought in justice to give some of the gen. eral principles on which he rests the propriety of its establishment. Objecting, as he does most strenuously, to the specific punishments, of which Montesquieu, Beccaria, Voltaire, and the Abbe Tourreil are the most distinguished advocates, he proceeds to lay out the ground for his Penitentiary, by the aid of arguments, strikingly plausible, yet to us not wholly satisfactory:
“When we speak of punishing crimes, we are in danger of being misled by a fignre of speech. In fact, we do not punish the crime, but the individual, who commits the crime; and whatever end the punishment is intended to answer, it must bear a relation to the nature, disposition, and circumstances of such individual. To hang up indiscriminately a certain number of persuns, because they have committed a certain act, without any regard to the peculiar circumstances under which such act was committed, or by which every different case is distinguished, or even without any clear idea of the result to be produced, would be the height of folly, if it were not the height of injustice; and with regard to interior pupishinents, it must be apparent on the slightest reflection, that the same punishment, applied to different persons, may produce not only a different, but a contrary effect, and that which may be necessary to reform one, may only serve to harden another. To apply the same punishinent to all is therefore a kind of empiricism in legislation, which preteods by a certain specific to eure a certain crime, without any reference to the state of the party, on ho m the nostrum is to be tried." p. 76.
“We must inquire into the character, temper, and moral constitution of the individual, and acquaint ourselves with his natural and acquired talents, his habits and bis views, in order that we may be enabled to adopt such measures for his improvement, as may be best adapted to the case. If he be ignorant, we must instruct him; if he be obslinate and arrogant, we must humiliate bim; if he be indolent, we must rouse him; if he be desponding, we must encourage him ; and this, it is evident, cannot be accomplished without resorting to different modes of treatment, and the full exercise of those moral and sympathetic endowments, which subsist in a greater or less degree between all human beings, as incident to our common nature." p. 77.
Thus is the fitness of a Penitentiary to be the sole instrument of punishment in the hands of the Executive, made out to the satisfaction perhaps of many, who may not have seen human nature under its most bideous forms, nor have looked so attentively into its construction, as to know that the heart may be callous to every thing else, yet alive to the startling denunciations of the Law's awful vengeance.
As the appendix contains a fuller history of the Penitentiaries in our own country, embracing an account not only of their establishment and growth, but of their management and discipline, than the chapter devoted to this subject in the body of ibe work, we refer our readers to its complete and accurate statements for much valuable information. The Chapters respectively on the penitentiary systems of the Continent, and that of England, we must also pass with a single observationthat the latter contains, among many interesting facts as to the character and discipline of the existing establishments in England, a notice of the able and successful endeavours of Sir Samuel Romilly, to soften some of the severest features of the Brit. ish penal law, by expunging from its code a number of its most sanguinary statutes ; and also, those of Sir William Blackstone, Lord Auckland, and Mr. Howard, in obtaining in 1779 the first legislative encouragement of the Penitentiary plan ;-—and that the former embraces a general view of the varieties of prison and penitentiary discipline on the continent, and a valuable record of the facts ascertained by the laborious personal examinalions of Howard, and oiber philanthropic travellers. The following is from the account given by the Hon. Henry Gray Bennet, who visited the prisons of Paris in 1814 and 15, to a Committee of the House of Commons. He states
“Though little advance has been made in France towards a penitentiary system, yet the greatest pains seem every where to be taken to keep the prisoners in a state of active and useful labour ; and under proper restrictions and regulations, there seems to be no trade, that cannot with safety be received within the walls of a prison ; that in the prison of St. Pelagie, where persons are confined for sinall offences, the imprisonment is for various terms, none above ten years. There were three hundred and fifty criminals, varying from all ages, from ten years old to sixty. A general system of work is introduced ; there was hardly any one idle; work is found by manufacturers in Paris, and a person is in each workshop, to watch over and instruct the workmen. p. 124."
"In the St. Lazare there were eight hundred and eighty women under sentence. The common crime was domestic theft, and the majority of the prisoners, servants in Paris. The system of correctional police seems to be good. In twenty years, about twelve hundred have been discharged, out of whom about two hundred bave again heen confined ; and many persons, who have been there, are now living rich and respectable at Paris. The prison is inspected daily. Mass is performed once a week on Sundays. No prayers on week days. No religious or moral instruction whatever. A general system of labour prevails thronghont the prison. From one hundred to one hundred and thirty, in each work-room under one inspector." p. 126.
• In the Bicetre, (a prison in Paris) six hundred and eighty two persons of all descriptions were confined, four hundred of whom were at work in different trades. Some earned as high as thirty or forty sours a day. The earnings were divided in thirds, as before mentioned. No irons usedbut the prison was in general dirty and offensive." p. 127.
Our remarks have so grown under our hands, that we have but little time or room to notice the last, and, in our opinion, decidedly the most able and philosophic chapter of the work that on the Discipline of a Penitentiary. We wish it were in our power to lay the whole of it before our readers ; for it cannot well be abridged. His prominent rules are, that a Penitentiary should never be a place of confinement for the untried; that it should not be a goal; that a person who had once been discharged should never be again received; that corpo. ral punishment should not be resorted to, but measures more consistent with homane feelings and Christian principles be adopted, to reclaim the offender and restore him to society ;ibat a penitentiary should be in the community, what the lungs . are to the human body, an organ for purifying the circulation, and returning it in a healthy state to perform its office in the general mass; that society should be as far as possible prohibited, and each criminal be confined, by night at least, alonereform must coine from reflection, and solitude will force reflection; that reasonable relaxation should be allowed ; and, with regard to the application of motives to voluntary labour-it is as justly as eloquently remarked, “It is not perhaps too much to say, that the greatest cruelty, that can be exercised upon an individual, is to separate his labour from his hope ; to compel him to strike a certain number of strokes, but to deprive him of the sentiment that should invigorate them. Let the reader reflect upon this, and consider what is the curse of slavery." He adds, ihat for this reason, whatever the criminal obtains should be applied to his entire profit and advantage ; that these profits however should be subject to deductions for his maintenance, and restitution to the injured ; and that a continuance of good behaviour should be the ground of a recommendation to