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Notes, the convict goes through the larger proportion of h in the ordinary prison; should his conduct there be orde comes eligible to be transferred to one of the intermedia those in which the convicts are employed on rude labour, kind of artisan work, according to their previous training capacity. But there is no other selection" in this proce seventy-five convicts, or indeed a larger number, prove to or later, available for this transfer ; the selection, if such found in that residuum of convicts who prove to be absolu rigible, or who perpetually relapse, and who must go thr whole sentence in unmitigated and unqualified imprison sides the intermediate prisons, the prison directors of Ire latterly established the use of ingeniously constructed huts able of holding about one hundred men, and easily taken put up again
where out-door labour may render such kind requisite. This enables no small number of convicts to be in out.door work. While they are thus engaged they ar jected to hard prison fare; and they have the opportun forming work harder than that which is exacted from t prison. Their privileges consist in the opportunity of small gratuity, which they may lay out at once or lay by, i ing together, and in enjoying some degree of freedomstrictest watch and guard. To a great extent the labour ployed renders the prison self-supporting ; but the chief ef the prisoners are gradually trained in some cases for a life of industry and freedom out of doors, in others not for to that life, but for making their first acquaintance wil they have never known it.
Colonel Jebb's third conclusion assumes that althoug police superintendence over discharged prisoners may succ land it is impracticable in England ; but here again th dashes his head against the rock of evidence which star front him, not only in Ireland but in England. Such as dence is maintained in this country, as Captain Crofton quoting the blue-book of the Select Committee on Tran about three sessions back-that committee which Colonel to convince that transportation must be continued becaus be impossible to control the convicts at home or to provid on discharge.
But in Ireland the prisoners are discharged ; there are between fifty and sixty convicts in the city of Dublin al ployment. New as the system is, some of these men ha regular daily employment for two years. And how is this By the unceasing exertions of Captain Crofton, of Mr. Lecturer, and of their coadjutors, to find employment, to k men at their duty, to multiply employers, to multiply the e success in this direction, and in short to carry out that sys Colonel Jebb pronounces to be impossible. Everything i ble to the unwilling ; possibility sometimes means nothing the will to do the thing: Colonel Jebb assumes that police tendence is impracticable, because, he says, in the earlier
Observations, if the police know the convict, his employer will know, and his fellow-workmen will know, and he will be driven away from his engagement. This may have been true in some instances where, as in England, the police have no distinct indications to guide them, but in Dublin, under the ceaseless superintendence of Captain Crof. ton, the police manage to maintain a watch over the discharged convicts ; they are the instruments to convey to the head-quarters a standing report upon the behaviour of the men, a report marked by extraordinarily few instances of failure; and as we have seen already the system continues to expand, instead of being prevented by the impracticability which so alarms the imagination of Colonel Jebb.
İn the fourth of his conclusions, admitting the impressiveness of the experience gained in Ireland, Colonel Jebb insinuates, as he has done more distinctly in an earlier portion of his Observations, that the intermediate system carried out in Ireland originated in England, and almost with his own department. He points to the Refuge at Fulham, established on the strength of an opinion by Lord Palmerston, that it would be very desirable to place women " in some inter. mediate condition between close imprisonment and discharge on licence"-not a very specific description, certainly not indicating anything like the system we have already described. But this treat. ment is applied to women exclusively; Colonel Jebb contending that men should be dealt with in masses, women alone individually. He shows no grounds for this extraordinary anthropological dictum. There can be no doubt that the value of mass treatment is very simi. lar with regard to men and women both, and that the training of both seses must principally depend upon the close application of a system to the individual character. In the case of women, however, there is rather a considerable difficulty. Their numbers are not so great amongst the convicted classes, and it generally proves that their characters are more irregular, while there is much greater difficulty in restoring them to regular life, partly on account of the severer retribution which attends the fall of woman. Thus an intermediate stage is applied by any official machinery with much great difficulty, while there is not the same large demand for it. On the contrary, it has been found in Ireland that a charitable apparatus, the agency of cer. tain charitable associations, has been sufficient for the purpose and the most suitable ; and this is very intelligible when we remember how much women are governed by feeling, and how good a medium such associations are for the application of feeling to the case. system employed in Ireland, however, with regard to men, whose numbers and condition demand the whole strength that the State can bring to bear upon the subject, began with Captain Crofton and his associates in the Irish department, in 1855 or before, when they endeavoured to adopt the process of individualising as the basis of the reformatory system. Colonel Jebb's fourth conclusion is evi. dently calculated to create the impression that if he does adopt the Irish example, it is only because Ireland has adopted his example, but he will not be suffered to carry off that impression long.
The fifth conclusion assumes that the best plan of carrying out the intermediate training for men would be, not by separate prisons, but
by "some special information or instruction,” &c.-terms sufficiently vague. He assumes that the Irish system would not succeed in England, because a gang of men have been employed at Vern Hill on the fortifications, at some distance from Portland Prison ; and he thinks that if the Irish system were introduced amongst them, it might make them more zealous at their work, but might give occas. ion to some disorder. For within the Portland Prison associated rooms have been tried-rooms in which the prisoners are allowed to meet for meals, for reading together, and for conversation in the evenings, with such serious detriment to their morals, that the chaplains have begged the discontinuance of the experiment, Colonel Jebb imagines that these cases amount to something like an experiment of the Irish system in England: we will not insult the understanding of the reader by showing how puerile is such a supposition. Evidently bis idea of “ some special information or instruction," consists of a little schoolmaster tutoring—a sort of lay preaching writing-lesson style of treatment for the men some months before they are finally discharged from prison ; and again we will not insult the reader by exposing the puerility of that notion. The Irish system has been barely three years in operation ; since January, 1856, 1327 prisoners have been discharged from the intermediate prisons, 511 unconditionally, 816 on licence. Of the 816, 30 have been reconvicted. Colonel Jebb assumes that 30 per cent. will relapse, but in Ireland we find on practical experience that only 4 per cent. do so. Of the same number, 45 have had their licences revoked-have been recalled to prison for relapsing into bad courses, drinking, keeping evil company, failing to report themselves, &c. The information on these subjects is positive and specific. Of the 511 discharged from the intermediate prisons unconditionally, 5 have been re-convictednot one per cent. It is needless to contrast this practical experience in Ireland with Colonel Jebb's unfounded and unargumentative assumptions.
From the Spectator, September 4, 1858.
ENGLISH AND IRISH PRISONS. Why did Colonel Jebb in his annual report on the progress, state, and prospects of English convict prisons, include observations on the Irish convict prisons ? Perhaps we shall be able to answer this question when we have glanced at the character of Colonel Jebb's observations, and compared bis view of Irish prisons with the facts.
Colonel Jebb, principal Director of English Convict Prisons, has placed on record his present ideas about the Irish prisons. He starts from the principle that “male convicts must be treated in masses rather than according to their individual characters," individuality must be more regarded with female convicts. Certain “ associated rooms " giving increased liberty of taking meals together, of reading, and of conversing during evenings, have been tried at the English Prison of Portland, taking men from the solitary cell of the prison, and allowing some fifty of them to assemble in each room; but the Rev. Mr. Moran, and his successors in the office of chaplain, “have each and all represented that there is a gradual loss of the
moral advantages which can be gained,” and have urged the discontinuance of the associated rooms. If it were proposed to select some of the best men for association, there would then be a loss in withdrawing the exemplary men who are spread through all the working parties. About a mile and a half from the Portland prison, 200 men are employed on the fortifications of Vern-Hill, a position which Colonel Jebb thinks analogous to that of the huts; and if there were some additional indulgences granted to these men, they might perhaps use more exertion, and might possibly be trusted to go a journey with messages ; but such tests of moral character would be value. less in an English prison. Colonel Jebb admits that assistance on discharge is the secret of success in any system of reformatory discipline, but in the Irish case, he says, " only 75 per cent of the men are selected from the body as anxious to enter on an honest course of life," and they are altogether different from the class of English convicts. However, he discovers one cause of the success in Ireland, and he even intimates some effort in the same direction for England.
"The chief cause of the measure of success which has attended this experiment (in Ireland) may with greater probability be traced directly to the amount of assistance afforded to the men through his [Mr. Organ the Lecturer's] indefatigable labours in providing places or employment for them, in visiting them after discharge, in encouraging and protecting them at the period of their greatest difficulty, the crisis of their fate. He modestly keeps its importance out of sight, but it appears nevertheless.
New hopes, new resolutions, and better feelings have, in the majority of cases, been imparted to prisoners; and it is inconsistent with common sense and common justice not to make an effort to give them a fair chance to bring them into play.
“Experiments are in progress in forming a connecting link between the prisons and various benevolent societies in this country, which, it is hoped, may give more effect to those efforts."
The English director assumes from the experience gained in this country during the last four years and a half with the release of 7,500 convicts, that “the prospect or continuance of employment of the great majority only depends upon their fellow-workmen and neighbours not knowing that they were ticket-of-leave men.”
But the circumstances in Ireland, he maintains, are different. "The intermediate system there is extended to males which I have shown would not be expedient here." Besides, later in bis lucubrations be discovers that the object of imprisonment is not the reformation of the prisoners, but the prevention of crime” by deterring example; and he thinks that the system has been as much softened in England as it should be.
"It is the clear and solemn duty of a Government to take mea. sures for reforming a criminal whom the sentence of the law has placed under their control, and fitting him to become a better member of society. Much has been done, and much success has attended the efforts made in this direction ; but no plan has been thought of in which the punishment due to crime has been lost sight of.
“It is my firm conviction that the Government, in tion from time to time to the present carefully dev have gone quite as far in the way of encouragementdiscipline, and care for the prisoner's best interests du ment—as is either expedient or necessary. Convict di now stands, plainly exhibits these features; whilst those sentence which has been passed by the judge have not ated.”
On all these considerations, he deprecates the risk o periment in England as that tried in Ireland. Most pa thinks, “that however desirable it may be in a penal however successful in Ireland, it would be impossible in to carry out any general superintendence over discharg by the police without interfering with the means of the employment, and thus a greater evil would be created th which could possibly follow." For throughout his rema Jebb assumes the total difference between England and
We shall soon perceive that the English Director lab total misconception of the facts as they have been elicit perience of the Irish system, and we shall understand misconceives the facts as well as so misapplies them. Colonel Jebb's starting principle has been absolutely rev perience. It has been ascertained that the effect of an discipline, castigation, moral restraint, or reformation fectual in proportion as it is carried out individually, principally the case with regard to men. With regar experience again has reversed the converse of this rule, ation is not so satisfactory in the case of the female se generally be counted that any influence on women is less certain in its effects, from a less fixity of character, a grea and a tendency to be influenced by the circumstances of Moreover, the whole sex being in a less responsible position erned by the men of the grade or circle to which the in longs, it necessarily follows that women are less often count by the criminal law. Perhaps, also, something lies that women are on the whole more conscientious than m addicted to evil of any kind. Whatever the causes may be, convicts are much fewer, but being fewer, that very fac those who are convicted as being more reckless in propo average of their sex than the convicted men are, less easy to and at tbe same time infinitely more difficult to be dispose charge. Who will take a woman from prison? The ve tion wears the aspect of an imposibility stated in terms. directors of Irish prisons have justly come to the conclusio men are not so readily to be treated by the method of it prisons, but by the intermediation of charitable instituti the Golden Bridge and other admirable associations to have referred in former papers. But imagine setting hand of charity in this way to perform the great public reference to those masses of eight or ten thousand men gions of whose reformation Colonel Jebb will give no certi
The English Director thinks that intermediate treatme succeed because a gang of men employed at Vern-Hill, wit