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THE WOMEN VAGRANTS Have the upper floor of the west wing, and occasionally the use of the women convicts' yard.
MEN VAGRANTS Occupy the first floor of the east wing, and have the use of the yard before described.
SOLITARY CELLS, OR PENITENTIARY HOUSE.
This building, directed to be built by the legislature, was early undertaken, and finished with all possible expedition. It is a plain brick building, three stories high; the first floor is paved with bricks, and is open on the north and south; three arches, running the length and breadth of the building, support the rooms and passages of the house. Each floor is divided into eight cells, six by:eight, and nine feet bigb, and two passages running through the middle; the passages are about four feet wide, have a window at one end, which admits light and air, and a stove in the middle to warm the rooms; each cell has a large leaden pipe, which leads to sewers at the bottom, and which are kept clean by smaller pipes, leading from a cistern, into which, occasionally, is conveyed a sufficient quantity of water. The windows are secured by blinds, and wire to prevent conveyances either in or out. The doors and sashes are so constructed as to admit as much air as the prisoner desires.
The large yard is occupied by the convicts, to labour and to air themselves in. The yard, in which the solitary cells are built, is occupied as a garden, in which vegetables for culinary, and other purposes, are cultivated. It is managed by some of the orderly convicts.
PLAN OF GOVERNMENT, AND REGULATIONS OF
THE HOUSE. The order and management of the house is directed by the inspectors, who meet every two weeks, or oftener, as occasion requires; they appoint two of their number, who continue in their appointment one month, as,
VISITING INSPECTORS, Whose duty is to visit the prison, and inspect the management thereof, the conduct of the prisoners, &c. once a week, or oftener, and report to the board at their next meeting.
The governor and judges of the supreme court, and inayor, with all the judges of the several courts of this city and county, as well as the grand juries, visit quarterly; a circumstance which greatly promotes the success of the plan, as it strengthens the hands of the officers, and encourages the prisoners to a propriety of conduct, and thereby claiming their attention, and obtaining a remission of their sentence; for they well know if they 'bave. conducted themselves improperly, that they have no encouragement to hope ; but on the contrary, great cause. to fear; those especially of the worst characters are thus influenced to a careful attention to preserve a propriety of conduct, in order to have some plea for their application for a pardon
..., 6. Having thus given a short account of the plan and government of the prison and penitentiary house, I proceed to state the method of treating and employing the convicts at present pursued by the inspectors. It is not probable that this will meet the approbation of every one: but it is the best that the circumstances of the place, and the opportunities of those engaged in the work would admit of. There have been many opinions about the mode of treating the convicts. Some seem to forget that the prisoner is a rational being, of like feelings and passions with themselves. Some think that he is placed there to be perpetually tormented and punished. Some prescribe a certain time as necessary to his
One will not allow him the light of heaven, or the refreshment of the breeze-; the comforts of society, or even the voice of his keeper: while another considers a seclusion from his friends and connections, as a ground for accusation of inhumanity. These opinions have not been overlooked by the inspectors: they have adopted that plan, whịch, upon full consideration, was deemed best, though not perfect: and the effects of it have not hitherto disappointed their hopes,
GOVERNMENT. In every prison good government is necessary; and unless this is kept in view, it would be useless to change the penal system, or expect benefit, either to the prisoners or the community.
It is an error very generally entertained, that it is very difficult, if not impossible to reduce these characters to order, and to govern them by mild measures; and that it requires a person of a violent and unfeeling disposition, to manage or keep them in any tolerable bounds. I shall avoid saying much on this subject, and limit myself simply, to an account of the management in this house, and its effects, and let the fact answer those who have been of this opinion. Mild regulations strictly enjoined, will meet with little resistance. There should be no hope of impunity, and there will be little necessity for seeking for the punishment, that shall be the most effectual; but if punishments be deemed necessary, let those of a disgraceful nature be avoided.
When the present plan was last attempted, the prisoners were informed, that the new system was now to be carried into full effect, that their treatment would depend upon their conduct; and that those who evinced a disposition that would afford encouragement to the inspectors to beJieve, that they might be restored to their liberty, should be recommended to the governor for a pardon, as soon as circumstances would admit; but if they were convicted again, the law, in its fullest rigour, would be carried into effect against them. A change of conduct was early visible. They were encouraged to labour, and a number were employed in carrying stones, and other laborious work, at the building of the solitary cells. Their good conduct was remarked. Many were pardoned, and before one year was expired, their behaviour was, almost without exception, decent, orderly, and respectful. This fact is of importance, as it disproves an opinion, that has led to much distress and
cruelty, and will, I hope, be an encouragement to those who can feel for this unhappy class of mankind, who have so long been victims to the sad effects of a contrary treatment.
CLEANLINESS. The house is white-washed three times a year, or oftener, as occasion requires. The passages
and rooms are washed twice a week in sum. mer, and once in winter.
The prisoners have clean linen once a week, and are washed every morning. Towels are hung up in the several passages. The men shave twice a week, and the baths are used in summer.
Dress.. The men are clothed in woollen jackets, waistcoats, and trowsers in winter, and linen in summer, shirts, shoes, &c. The orderly prisoners, who by their industry, earn a sufficiency for the purpose, are allowed a better suit to attend public worship. The principal objects in their cloathing are, usefulness, æconomy, and decency.
The women are dressed in plain short gowns, of woollen in winter, and linen in summer. Most of the cloathing, at present, is spun, wove, and made up in the house, and is designed to be so altogether in future.
LODGING. , The prisoners are lodged in beds, with sheets and blankets on bedsteads; the beds are filled with red cedar shavings. We have found this regulation greatly conducive to cleanliness and decency. The former practice of prisoners sleeping in their cloathes, and being crowded together without any regard to decency, was destructive to the health of the prisoners, and was attended with many other ill consequences, especially where men are collected in the manner they are in prisons.
Diet. The diet is plain, cheap, and wholesome, but sufficient in
quantity. No provisions are allowed beside the prison allow. ance, except the more laborious part, while orderly, who are al., lowed to get some of the heads of the sheep from the butchers, 'at their own expense: this is esteemed an indulgence, and is attended with good effects, both physical and moral. Molasses are experienced to be very salutary to the health of the prisoners, as well as useful in gratifying them with a small luxury. The orderly women are sometimes indulged with tea.
EMPLOYMENT: The men are employed according to their abilities and circumstances. The procuring suitable and sufficient employment was for a considerable time a great difficulty, but there is now a sufficiency of productive and suitable labour for all, and a great number more than are now in the prison.
The principal employments are shoe-making, weaving, and tayloring; chipping logwood, grinding plaister' of Paris, beating hemp, sawing and polishing marble; occasionally swingling flax, picking oakum, wool, cotton, and hair; carding wool for hatters, sawing wood, &c.
The women are employed at heckling, spinning, sewing, and washing
REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS. If the prisoners conduct themselves with propriety, they attract the attention of the keepers and inspectors; who make enquiry into their circumstances; encourage them to bring forward recommendations from respectable citizens that they have lived with, or have had a knowledge of them; and, if it should appear proper, or prudent, they are recommended to the governor for a pardon. If apy old offenders make application, they are not recommended until there ap-pears some encouragement from long habits of orderly conduct in the house; and then with much caution.
There is no corporal punishment, such as stripes, &c. inflicted. But in case of improper behaviour, wbich very seldom
. has happened, they are removed to the solitary cells, and abridged in their diet; the consequences of which are stated in the observations on the effects of this mode of treatment, in this work. The apprehensions of the consequence of dis