Puslapio vaizdai

equipped factory for the production of binder twine anywhere in the country, and it has the third largest output of any similar factory.

Here is the revolutionary fact. The manufacture of binder twine in the Minnesota prison is so well managed that it entirely supports the prison, and earns enough more to give every convict a small daily wage.

Now, then, we come to the very core of this matter of prison reform-its economics. No matter how correct, how humane the moral attitude of the prison management toward the prisoner, no matter how skilfully the psychology of the prisoner is understood and developed, nothing permanent can be accomplished unless his economical relation to his fellows is founded on justice that is broader than the present legality.

And from this platform we must ascend to the future, for the prison reform of the coming decade will be concerned very largely with economics. The moral reform is already fairly comprehended. It still has to penetrate certain dark spots, but it is inevitably and indisputably on the


How slowly this truth has penetrated our consciousness is shown by the fact that Minnesota is cited as a State in the far vanguard when her prison is willing and able to pay its convicts only about nine cents a day for their labor. So firmly has the contract system been saddled upon us that we still only dimly perceive the new light.

This new light, the light of the future, is merely an economic recognition of the moral truth which has already been recognized; namely, that prisons exist for the reformation, not for the punishment, of criminals. Therefore, though the State possesses an accurately defined right to limit, to confine, and to direct both the labor and the pay of a convict, it has no right to deprive him absolutely of either. If he is not treated as an independent economic unit while in prison, how can the State expect him to become an independent economic unit when he leaves prison?

"The day that we drove our last contractor out of our prison was a red-letter day in our history," said a warden, recently. "Now we can tackle our real problems."

And they are real problems. What sort of work shall be given these branded men? Shall we flounder along in our present absurd way of employing them in trades which will give them no employment when they leave prison? The prison farm has great vogue just now, and there is a tendency toward placing all prisoners to work on farms. Is that wise when more than half our criminals are the products of great cities of whom no power on earth is very likely to make farmers? What percentage of their earnings shall be turned over to these felons who have already cost the State so dearly; in fact, as much as the education of all her free children? And how and when shall it be turned over to them?

We have been charging head on into this problem, and making little progress. Perhaps a solution is coming from an angle. Take such an apparently unrelated fact as the passage, three years ago, through the Missouri legislature of the Mothers' Pension Law. Who would have thought that such a law eventually might solve the problem of how to treat economically the problem of a criminal's pay? Yet within the year it has broken the ice in over half the States of this country.

The Missouri Mothers' Pension Law provided incidentally for the support of all mothers whose husbands are in state prison. The measure quickly justified itself, and was soon on the statute-books of Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and other States. Over twenty other legislatures either this winter or last winter have considered similar laws.

The only link required now to chain that law to the solution of the convict's economic independence is to require that his earnings, while in prison, shall go to the mother of his children. Then she will not be receiving a pension, as charity, but only her basic human right. Better even than that, the husband will have added to other outlooks the strongest kind of moral incentive to work faithfully and comport himself properly while in prison.

Of the half-million men who go to prison every year about one third are married. Of course many have never supported their families, but probably a half of the married men have done so. More than that, fully half the men who go to prison are under moral obligation to sup

port some one. Take from them not only the obligation, but the opportunity, and you stamp them deeper into the mire of criminality.

Thus this pathetic cry of the innocent wife and children of the man in the cage bids fair to point the way to a proper system of work and pay whereby he regains in prison that economic independence which he usually has lost before he goes there.

In the coming prison, what a difference from the old régime confronts the convicted criminal! Formerly he went to hard labor, without recompense; his wife and children or his dependents were left to shift for themselves or to starve; for the period of his incarceration he was to wear stripes, have his head shaved, lose his name, and have no communication with the outside world; he was to be taught nothing useful; his word was never to be accepted; he was to be trusted in nothing; he was the arch-enemy of society, different from other men, enchained, brutalized, damned, and forgotten.

To-day the best prisons have no stripes except for the worst grades of recalcitrant prisoners; heads are not shaved; in at least three the men keep their names; they are paid a little something, if only a few cents a day, for their labor; they are otherwise treated like men, it being assumed that they have honor until they prove the contrary; they are permitted to communicate with friends and receive visits; where before they had no recreation, they now indulge in all manner of healthful sports.

The convict of the future will be still better off, for we are in a passing stage of development. His economic independence will persist in prison, as it is outside; energy and industry will be rewarded within, just as without, and laziness will be similarly punished.


Finally will come the last step. No convict will ever be sentenced to any specific term or to any specific institution. Neither judge nor jury will be able to do more than convict an accused person of a specific crime. The atonement for that crime, and society's special privilege of the conduct of that person during the period of his atonement and his reëstablishment of character in the eyes of his fellows, will be placed in charge of men who have had nothing to do with his prosecution or trial.

In other words, when the new convict steps into prison he will begin an absolutely new life, on which his past will have only such bearing as he himself places there. Every opportunity to reform will be extended to him, and the length of his incarceration will depend entirely on the impression he makes not on the judges of his past, but on the judges of his present.

For prison should be to a man's moral and economic life what the confessional is to the soul of the Romanist, what the bankruptcy court is to the finances of the business failure. It should wash him clean, and remove from his weak and uncertain shoulders the burdens of his past


Toward that ideal of a prison we are rapidly approaching.



HEY sing of love who never won his grace;
On harp and lute

They vaunt the glories of his dwelling-place.
They who are in his presence, face to face,

Are stricken mute.

[graphic][merged small]

WITHIN your eyes are memories

Of foam-ringed isles in azure seas,
Of dragon-guarded groves and gold
That none but destined hands might hold;
You were a sprite of that wild world
Hercules challenged; you were curled
Within the enchanted bowl and kept
Watch for the hero when he slept,
Lulled to oblivion curiously
By pleasant clangor of the sea
Against the hollow gold. You saw
High-towering Atlas without awe,
And, perched upon the tilted rim
Of your odd craft, eluded him,
You were so little. And you came
To a white isle of unknown name
Where hideous Gorgons l'aired together;
And found Medusa's shining feather,
And saw slim Perseus from the air
Descend, and met Quicksilver there,
Adorable god! Oh, was it he
Persuaded you to come to me,
And bound the wingèd sandals on
That bore you far from Helicon?

To-day you were remembering
Some glorious prenatal thing,
And I, who saw a snowy gleam
Like a great sail across your dream,
Heard music that I knew must be
Orpheus awake, till suddenly
The Argo swept with sheer surprise
That blue Ægean of your eyes,
And there were you, close folded in
The warmth of Jason's leopard-skin,
Showered with foam, shouting in glee
Till Jason laughed; and even she,
The goddess of the talking oak,
Smiled down at you and softly spoke,
"Child, happy child, and is it true
We sail to win the fleece for you?"

[ocr errors]

So when your eyes more thoughtfully
Take on the color of the sea,

I feel your heart go hungering home
Down the immortal wind and foam
To find again the friends you knew—
Pandora and her wayward crew
Of playfellows, small Marigold,
The sisters weird and gray and old,
Europa on the snow-white bull,
The little lad who watched the pool
Till Pegasus appeared and flew
Sun-bright across the mirrored blue.
Will you recall-that I may guess—
The tint and breath and loveliness
That were Proserpina? Again
Hear Ceres crying through the rain
To call her darling back, and run
To comfort her as you have done?

And since I would not have you miss
That winged life, remember this:
For you will Pegasus alight

In any garden, and the white,

Small bloom Quicksilver cherished spring

To beauty at your summoning.
Stoop deftly down, my wonder-maid,
Secure that flower, and unafraid
Enter the seaward-looking room
That holds the song of Circe's loom;
Draw very near, that you may see
Ulysses cross her tapestry;

And should you be inwoven there,
Whisper the wanderer to beware.
But I shall watch the fountain change
In the wide porch, upflinging strange,
Frail crystal shapes that prophesy;
And should a brisk youth happen by
With cap most oddly fluttering,
And wilful sandal-shoon that spring.
Into the air to make him laugh,
And careless cloak and twisted staff,
Shall I not say, befriending you
As any mother ought to do:

"Sir, will you bless her with your care
Who has the golden fleece for hair?
Give her the wingèd mind and wise
Who has the deep sea in her eyes"?

[graphic][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

THEY grew up, with the tenacious vitality of the Scotch-Canadian, despite the adventures. At nineteen Loch was six feet one, slant-shouldered, as silent as an Indian, and, according to his aunts in Caledoniaville, of an affectionate disposition. His people started him in a bank in the far West, and Jimsy went with him. But the bank was only "held up" twice, so Loch found it dull, and went. He took Jimsy. Then-it happened some years ago-he enlisted in Somebody's Horse, and went to South Africa for the war. He took Jimsy. When I say that he took Jimsy, I mean it; he took him as a cyclone takes a barn-roof. They and a man from Wolf Creek were

separated from their troop, held a kopje for a week, were captured by an angry commando, escaped, and arrived in Kimberley in nice time for the siege. When the war was over, the man from Wolf Creek took up land in Natal to raise pineapples. Jimsy rather liked the idea of pineapples; but Loch was gathered in by the railway, and took Jimsy. When I say the railway, I mean the Great Railway, vision of a great man. Their work pushed them farther and farther north into a new Africa, an enchanted Africa of high forest and grass-plain, of a vertical sun and frosty nights. They learned the blessing and the bitterness of work. They lived through that rainy season, which came a month late, when the green jungle grew over the right of way, as it seemed, in a night, and the elephants tore down the telegraphwires, and the fever followed the rain, and the black men grew weary of cutting and carrying fuel, so sat them down and died. Jimsy was clever at many things; he was given charge of a siding, a telegraph-instrument, six account-books, and two assistants of sorts. Loch had no gift but that of handling men, which made him so

« AnkstesnisTęsti »