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hurried us to the platform. I was still dulled with sleep. I could n't think or speak. But at the door Barby began to wail: 'I want a dwink! I want a dwink!' "'I'll get it for her. Go on,' he said. He carried the imperious little thing back to the water-cooler, and stood holding her while she drank at her ease. Just then a man came shouldering up. He was a big, bronzed fellow with a rolling gait. He stopped and stared at the old man, then he snatched off his cap and saluted.
"I did n't know 's you were in this part of the country, Admiral, sir,' he said very respectfully. Then he saluted again, and hurried away.
"Well, Granny, you 've got me guessing for sure. Who was your elderly cavalier? Hurry and tell."
He stared down the avenue as if his eagle young eyes could pierce those miles of jeweled darkness. I watched him, and I waited. At last he turned to me again. There was a curious wonder in his eyes.
"Say, Granny, can you beat it! Look at those two men, Farragut and Sir Christopher. Different? As day from night. One was a gentleman born, the other a little cockney waif, fighting for his life in a London slum. Farragut spent his whole life in living gorgeous deeds. Sir Christopher has never lived at all. He 's painted life for other folks to look at. Farragut would n't have known a backdrop from a bushel-basket. Sir Christopher would pat a torpedo on the head if he met it in the street. Yet when you get down to the real stuff, the vital fiber, why, they 're as like as two peas. Quiet and simple and tender, eager to serve those who are in need, glad to give happiness to little children-say, Granny, what is a genius, anyway? When you try 'em out, they 're nothing so amazing. A size bigger than we are, maybe. A bit quicker to see and to do and to give; but they 're just as human as we are, every time. A lot more human at that."
Probably that 's why they're ge
There was a pause.
"If only I had skill with a sculptor's niuses," said I.
THE NEXT STEP IN PRISON REFORM
BY RICHARD BARRY
Author of "New Hope for the Convict "
HE United States contains the best and the worst prisons in the world. The best, though excellently managed and with admirable physical equipment, are handicapped by our collective social ignorance of the criminal, which is mired in fear. The worst are horrible in equipment, brutal in management, and exist in a morass of social terror. We are only at the dawn of the new era; noon, though inevitable, is yet to come.
First, let us glance at the darkest night. Take Richmond, Texas. This is not Calcutta, June 20, 1756, when 123 Englishmen perished in a single night in the terrible Black Hole. It is the United States of America, September, 1913.
One Saturday evening, as the other convicts were going to their cells at the end of a week's work, twelve men were locked in the "dark cell" at Richmond. They were negroes; they were convicts; each had broken a prison rule. Still, they were human beings.
This modern "Black Hole" was underground; it measured eight by ten by seven feet, thus containing 560 cubic feet of air, while the best prison cells now are required to contain at least 800 cubic feet of air-space for each prisoner. In the ceiling were sixteen half-inch holes to let out the foul air. In the floor were four tiny vent-pipes connecting with the outer world.
In placing his prisoners in this "dark cell," it was the purpose of the warden to terrorize them, and thus break resistance. So light was cut off at every angle. In doing this, the floor ventilation stopped, probably unintentionally. teen hours after the cell was locked, it was opened, on Sunday morning. Eight of the men were dead, and the other four dying.
This shocked every one, even the warden. Certain newspapers dwelt feverishly on the incident, craving political capital. The opposition papers ignored it. Most people saw nothing to condone, yet some
glossed it over by saying: "Anyway, they were only niggers. It will be a lesson for the others."
The sincere apologists, however, had what appeared to be a convincing argument. They explained that since the "bat" (flogging-whip) had been eliminated from Texas prisons a few years before, the only drastic mode of punishment left a warden was the "dark cell." They declared that the negro criminal was more difficult to deal with than any other kind, that he was less amenable to reason or restraint, and that he could be reached only through his epidermis or his primitive imagination, which recoiled at the dark. “Restore the bat," became their shibboleth.
But Texas had traveled too far on the road to return to the bat, despite the fact that the leading factions in the State seem to be spending their time arguing whether or not it is necessary to preserve discipline by returning to that archaic instrument of discipline.
Meanwhile the fundamental causes of the conditions in the Richmond prison that produce the mental attitude in a convict which makes necessary either a dark cell or a bat are ignored. Many persons think that a prison in which the bat is not used is necessarily humane. And when they are told that the dark cell has been abolished, they proceed immediately to forget about the convict, thinking that his condition is as near ideal as could be expected-for a convict.
At this precise point more than half our state prisons are languishing in the doldrums of reformation. From most of them the old and revolting forms of brutality have been stripped, but nothing has been devised to take their places. The whipping-post, the leg-irons, the mugging penalties are abolished. The convict immediately, with sly glee, notes his immunity from severe punishment, and dares to go to lengths he never would have dreamed of in the old brutal days. Where
upon discipline relaxes; work is undone; prison factories do not pay; the solitary confinement cells and the hospitals are overcrowded.
All of which places in the hands of the reactionaries a powerful argument. They call sternly for a return of the former tools of discipline. "I don't believe in the talcum-powder treatment for criminals," said an old warden, recently. "They are
this pedagogical idea. For instance, there is Dr. James A. Leonard of the Ohio state reformatory. He conducts a prison farm on the honor system, and when he considers a man fit for free work in the fields, he asks him to sign a bond, which has no legal value whatever. This is a large, florid document, printed in red and black, and made duly impressive with a huge red seal. It binds over the prisoner,
STATE OF OHIO
Bond for Faithful Performance of Trust
OHIO STATE REFORMATORY
know all Den by These Presents:
Serial Number_#5656 –, as Principal, and 3. B. Leonard, General Superintendent,
as Surety, are held and firmly bound unto R. U. Hastings, Assistant Superintendent, of the Chio State Reformatory, upon the word and honor of the above named and guaranteed by the above-named surety, that said
-, shall well and truly carry out and honestly
and faithfully perform all things to be done upon his part as hereinafter set forth.
Now the Condition of This Obligation is Such, That,
bereas, the aberc,bourden.
–, has been recommended to the Paperintendent of the Chie State Reformatory, by said R. U. Hastings, Resistant Superintendent, as being worthy of employment outside the enclosure of said Chio State Reformatory and nitkout special direction of a guard, with the request that if snid recommendation is approved by said Paperintendent, that authority be granted permilling said inmate to be employed outside said enclosure as oforesaid; and,
bereas, said Superintendent upon the strength of said recommendation and upon his judgment based upon a personal interview with said inmate, together with the conduct of said invaate during his stay at said institution, has approved the recommendation of said Assistant Superintendent, and has authorized the employment of said inmate ratside the enclosure of said institution, without special guard.
Now if the said
Serial Number $5656. – shall well and faithfully execute the trast thus reposed in him and shall observe and obey all the rules and regulations governing said trast, then this obligation with all penalties provided for in the rules and regulations shall be void, and on the release of said „on parole from The Chio State Reformatory, he shall be given this band to keep and to hold as postive evidence to all concerned, not only of his good record as an inmate of the Reformatory, but that he enjoyed the confidence and forth of the management on the grounds, that in all things, he conducted himself as becomes a man and a good citiren. day of November
itnessr hands this 20th
hard men, and if you use baby lotions on them, they merely despise you."
"You are wrong," replied a younger warden. (This conversation I overheard one night during a session of a recent prison congress.) "Criminals are only children. They are not full grown mentally. If so, they would not be criminals. Being children, very pitiful, weak little children, using 'talcum powder,' if you choose to call it that, is the very treatment for them. The only mistake a warden can make is in letting the convict think that he, the warden, is also a child.”
In fact, some of the most advanced penologists are placing in practical effect
BOND ISSUED BY THE OHIO STATE REFORMATORY
Bonds like these are used when permitting an inmate of the reformatory to join the group of men who are employed without any physical restraint whatever, that is, when a man undertakes to regulate his conduct by inhibitory forces rather than to be subject to prohibitory stress. Since this system was instituted, ten years ago, the superintendent has signed more than 2600 such bonds, and only 18 of this number have been dishonored.
as principal, to the assistant superintendent of the reformatory, and is guaranteed by Dr. Leonard as surety.
After signing this bond, another document of no standing in any court of law is handed the prisoner. It is a "card of honor," which serves as a pass to the free world, and is signed by Dr. Leonard personally. On the card is printed:
In giving you this pass, I give you my confidence. I am sure you will fully appreciate this opportunity to demonstrate not only to me, but to the board of managers and to your friends who await your restoration to freedom that you have the self-con
trol, the respect for law, and the proper regard for your word of honor that justifies us in permitting you such a large measure of freedom. Remember when tempted that trustworthiness is the bed-rock of character.
If the prisoner reaches the parole date without violating any regulation, he is permitted to keep both card and bond as evidence that in all things he conducted himself as becomes a man and a good citizen.
That is the sort of thing that the old wardens call "talcum-powder treatment." It may appear childish flummery, but because convicts are children, it works. During the ten years that the system has been in operation in the Ohio reformatory twenty-six hundred prisoners have been allowed to work in the open without guard. Only eighteen ever attempted to The others preferred their healthy, interesting work in the open, and the bond and the card.
These methods of treatment, after all, simmer down to a personal equation. A penitentiary is only the lengthened shadow of the warden. He has in many ways a curiously despotic power over the inmates. He can make life hideous for the unfortunates under him or he can immeasurably lighten their burdens. One of the new progressive wardens recently told me how a perception of this power and its awful responsibility was borne in on him.
"Three days after I came into this position," he said, "I suddenly realized that I held the happiness, the peace of mind, and perhaps even the eternal salvation of over a thousand men in the hollow of my hand. I saw how I loomed as the biggest fact in any of their lives; how I could punish, reward, embitter, enlighten, free, or enslave any or all of them. And in that moment I went down here on my knees by my desk, and lifted up my voice to God, and asked for divine wisdom to guide me right while I remained in this prison."
Many of the new reforms are the inspiration of individual wardens. There is the "honor system of scenic road building" conceived by Cleghorne and perfected by Tynan in Colorado, the "golden rule" of Wells in Kentucky, the base-ball league of Johnston in California, the "free speech" development of Moyer in
the federal prison at Atlanta, the fishing and berrying parties of Homer at Great Meadow, New York, the "bond-and-card" idea of Dr. Leonard in Ohio.
Wonderful in its way is each of these improvements. Each adds its bit of illumination to the general enlightenment. Each has left its mark on the lives of hundreds and even thousands of weak men.
Yet beyond the "honor system" and the "golden rule" and "free speech" for convicts lies the necessity for certain basic and fundamental changes in our convict system. These changes are already under way, although for the country at large we have only seen the dawn.
Doubtless the worst element in our convict system to-day is contract labor. A tremendous change has occurred in that, also, in the last decade, yet at the beginning of 1914 there are still twenty-four States that sell the labor of their convicts to contractors who have no moral or human interest in their sorry slaves.
It was only seven years ago that I spent three months in the convict turpentine camps of Florida and Alabama, and there secured definite proof of the fact that men were being hired in lots, like slaves, at an average cost of eleven cents a day when free labor brought from a dollar to a dollar and a quarter a day; that the traffickers in this bondage used bloodhounds and the whip to enforce their desires for work accomplished; that they surrounded their purchased convicts with such temptation, and so removed from them inducements to reform, that in the majority of cases the pitiable men existed many years beyond their original sentences in peonage or practical slavery.
In the intervening seven years the force of public opinion has largely changed the condition in those two States, although the laws providing for contract labor have still to be abolished. The whip, however, has been abolished, and the price of contract labor has advanced from eleven to thirty cents a day. Apparently the State is profiting, if not the convict.
But is the State profiting? Is it profiting when it succeeds in implanting in the minds of its convicts that not only their liberty, but their labor, has been forcibly taken from them? Is it profiting when it embitters free labor through starving it by this unfair competition?
All of these questions have been answered in the negative by the most advanced States, notably by New York. There the state-use system of convict labor, as distinguished from the contract-use system, has been in operation for seventeen years.
Under the state-use system no convict ever does any work for private profit. The prisons manufacture only those commodities which can be sold to other institutions of the State. The idea is widened sometimes to accommodate county and city institutions and even the schools and the departments of government. Thus desks for the schools, brooms for the streetcleaners, shirts for the firemen, and shoes for policemen now frequently come from a penitentiary, but they are sold openly at an established price.
Though the advantages of such a system are obvious, it took exactly a hundred years for New York to discover it. The first open manifestation against convict competition with free labor occurred in New York in 1796. The state-use system, as it now exists, was not established in New York until 1897. Between those dates lies a century of bitter struggle on the part of organized labor, free manufacturers, and social workers.
And yet the first fifteen years of the state-use system in New York were years of failure. Due to political manipulation of men who desired it to be a failure, it appeared that only about half the output of the prison factories of the State could be used by other public institutions. Other States in which it was proposed to introduce the new system and abolish the old contract labor invariably sent commissions to New York to "investigate" the condition there. Invariably they reported it a failure. Had it not been for that political maladministration of the stateuse idea, perhaps half of the twenty-four States which still adhere to the contract system would now be in the vanguard with the enlightened States.
half-way stop on the road to ideal prison management, if the State fails to reform its convicts, it at least does not deform them, as the contract system invariably does where it is employed.
It was only with a thorough cleaning out of old officers in 1912 that the New York state-use system reached the point of efficiency where it was costing the State less in money than the old system, and was producing enough work for all the inmates of the penitentiaries.
Under this new system, which is only a
However, the state-use system is only the embryo of the scheme for the utilizing of convict labor which is doubtless destined to be eventually installed in most of our prisons. It took a century for that embryo to appear, but it will not take another century for it to reach its full estate.
Already another step has been taken, and more successfully than did New York in her corrupt and halting manner. This is in the Minnesota state prison at Still
It is worth while to describe the Minnesota prison, for it stands to-day as the best type of prison known. Recently the German Government sent four commissioners to this country to study our penological institutions, and at Stillwater they found, so they said, the best prison either in Europe or America.
The Minnesota state prison was established for the "confinement and reformation of convicts." That is the language of the statutes, and similar language is found in the laws of only four other States.
The new cell block was built at a cost of over $3,000,000, and satisfies every advanced idea of prison construction. No more than one prisoner is permitted in a cell; the sanitary arrangements are excellent; light and heat and ventilation are like those in a school.
The discipline is very strict, but consistent. Everything, except some of the machines, operates noiselessly and with precision. There is no dark cell, no whipping-post, no chaining device, or any other manner of corporal punishment. In lieu of these a system of rewards and punishments has been evolved. The prisoner who does not behave gets less food than the others. If he persists in his contrariness, he is put in a darkened, not a dark, cell. As the very limit of punishment his tobacco is taken from him. The loss of his tobacco usually appeals quickly and strongly to a convict's judgment.
In so far the Stillwater prison is similar to the best elsewhere; but in the use of its manufactured products it is unique. Within the prison is located the best