Read online or download a free book: Six Years In The Prisons Of England
Publisher: RareBooksClub.com (16 Oct. 2012)
By: A. Merchant -. Anonymous (Author), Anonymous (Author)
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Excerpt: ... would send a less experienced and more sensitive man to the hospital in a month: whilst his familiarity with all the petty rules and regulations of the prison, which the novice is in constant danger of breaking (quite unintentionally), enabled him to steer clear of any offence that could be reported if he thought it for his interest to strive for the convict's prize. In fact, 'good conduct,' as exemplified by a convict according to the prison standard, affords no more reliable evidence of his moral qualities and industrious habits, than proficiency in drill affords of the moral character of the private soldier. It is quite clear that selection on these terms could only by a rare accident find the suitable men for sending abroad. And yet it is my firm conviction that I, or any other man possessing ordinary intelligence and insight into human character and experience of convict life, could, with the utmost ease, have selected from the inmates of our prisons a very large number for exportation, whom our colonists would have been glad to receive, and who would have been rescued from a life of ignominy or crime at home. The question may very naturally be asked--Why could not our prison officials have done the same? The only answer I can give is that our prison officials (excepting the very highest) are directly interested in maintaining and increasing, and not in reducing, the number of our convicts, and they are therefore inclined to favour the liberation of those whom they are pretty sure will soon return. As a fair and forcible example of the advantage which might have been taken of the 'Transportation Act,' in dealing with a certain class of prisoners, and also as an illustration--not nearly so forcible as others I have alluded to, and will yet notice--of the fault of the authorities in the matter of selection, I will mention one case. Three young men received sentence of twenty years' penal servitude for rape. One of them, quite a...
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