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As to disgraceful labour or treatment of any kind, it has not had, nor can have, any valuable tendency towards restoring an offender to usefulness in society, and it is therefore discontinued.

III. WANT OF ACCOMMODATION. As to this objection, it is evidently the duty of every government to provide it. It is a strange kind of economy, to hang our fellow-creatures to avoid the expense of preparing a proper place of confinement : but I may add, that our empty rooms have encreased so as not only to admit of more convenient accommodation, but far beyond our expectations.

IV. WANT OF SECURITY AGAINST ESCAPES. I have already stated, that prisoners are, and always may be, secured by proper care, watchfulness, and lenient treatment. Beside the gaoler, turnkey, and clerk, there are but two officers in the house; one over the men, and one over the women; and they are found to be quite sufficient, whilst the place is conducted upon the present plan.

V. WANT OF BENEFIT TO SOCIETY. How little effect the former system of punishments had in preventing crimes, is too well known to need any explanation at present. We are now to examine, whether

any

beneficial consequences have followed the alteration that has taken place in the treatment of the convicts.

It is not more than two years that the new regulations have bad their full operation, although the law which authorised them, was passed some time before. But in that short time, the effects which have flown from them, have been remarked with much satisfaction by the citizens at large, as well as by those whose situation offered superior opportunities for observing them. These effects proceed, either from a real reformation taking place in the minds of the prisoners, or from a terror of the consequences which they know will attend a second confinement.

During their continuance in prison, they learn many things which operate as a check upon the commission of new crimes. They learn the difficulty of evading justice; and

that, as the laws are now mild, they will be strictly put in execution. They now see that juries are not unwilling to convict, and that pardons are not granted till they discover some appearances of amendment. The penalty, though not severe, is attended with many unpleasant circumstances, and many

of them deem the constant return of the same labour and of coarse fare, as more intolerable, than a sharp, but momentary punishment. They know that a second conviction would consign them to the solitary cells, and deprive them of the most distant hopes of pardon. These cells are an object of real terror to them all, and those who bave experienced confinement in them, discover by their subsequent conduct, how strong an impression it has made on their minds. They know that mercy abused will not be repeated, and neither change of name nor disguise will enable them to escape the vigilant attention with which they are examined. These reflections, or reflections like these, have had their weight: for out of near 200 persons, who at different times. have been recommended to, and pardoned by the governor, only four have been returned : three from Philadelphia, reconvicted of larceny, and one from a neighbouring county. As several of those, thus discharged, were old offenders, there was some reason to fear, that they would not long behave as honest citizens. But, if they have returned to their old courses, they have chosen to run the risk of being hanged in other states, rather than encounter the certainty of being confined in the penitentiary cells of this. We may therefore conclude, that the plan adopted has had a good effect on these; for it is a fact well known, that many of them were heretofore frequently at the bar of public justice, and had often received the punishment of their crimes under the former laws.

Our streets now meet with no interruption from those characters that formerly rendered it dangerous to walk out in an evening. Our roads in the vicinity of the city, so constantly infested with robbers, are seldom disturbed by those dangerous characters. The few instances that have occurred of the latter, last fall, were soon stopped. The perpetrators proved to be strangers, quartered near the city, on their way to the westward.

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Our houses, stores, and vessels, so perpetually disturbed and robbed, no longer experience those alarming evils. We lie down in peace, we sleep in security.

There have been but two instances of burglaries in this city and county for near two years. Pick-pockets, formerly such pests to society, are now unknown. Not one instance has occurred of a person being convicted of this offence for two years past. The number of persons convicted at the several courts have constantly decreased ; thirty and upwards, at a session, have frequently been added to the criminal list : at this time, when both city and county courts are but a few days distant, there are but fide for trial! Such have been our measures, such is the state of things, and such the effect. If any one can assign other causes for them, than are here adduced, they must have other opportunities, other means of information than I am acquainted with.

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No. III.
A Statistical View of the operation of the Penal Code

of Pennsylvania, to which is added, A View of the
present state of the Penitentiary and Prison, in the
City of Philadelphia. Prepared and published, in
pursuance of a Resolution of the Philadelphia Society
for alleviating the miseries of public prisons.

Philadelphia, 1817.

Every well informed Pennsylvanian has made himself acquainted with the benevolent principles upon which the criminal laws of this commonwealth have been reformed. The success of the system has penetrated every portion of the civilized world, and obtained for this commonwealth, the plaudits which the humane views and a successful execution of the penitentiary system have merited from the wise and good throughout the universe.

The present publication is made with a view of shewing

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the operation of the penitentiary system, generally, and particularly to invite the attention of all good men, who feel a due sense of the importance of the subject, to a serious consideration of this important question,

Whether, on the facts stated, it is not absolutely necessary, immediately to pursue further measures, not only for the improvement, but for the very preservation of the system, against the evils resulting from the incompetency of the means of carrying it on, with all the effects proposed to be produced by its benevolent authors.

In the year 1795, a publication similar to the present appeared under the authority of very respectable names, subjoined to an excellent essay on the criminal law of Pennsylvania, by the late William Bradford, Esq. formerly attorney general of this state, and of the United States, a gentleman eminently distinguished by his active benevolence, and the dignity and splendour of his public character. The present penal code was chiefly composed by that gentleman, and it will ever remain a monument of his knowledge, and love of human nature. Among other interesting facts stated in the publication referred to, are the following: that after the system had been in operation not more than two years, such was its efficacy, that out of near two hundred persons, who had at different times been pardoned, only four had returned ; that there had been but two instances of conviction of picking pockets or burglaries, in the city and county for near two years; that the number of persons convicted in the several courts had constantly decreased, thirty and upwards of a session, having been frequently added to the list; that, although the city and county courts were but a few days distant, there were but five persons for trial. Such were the means then in the power of the inspectors, of executing the system in its spirit and design, with the aid of extensive accommodations, and sufficient and suitable labour, that the rooms in the prison, and the prison yard, afforded convenient and ample room for the separation and employment of the convicts; and finally so productive was their labour, that when discharged, considerable balances were found in favour of some; and but few, who had not more or less; that those

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balances often exceeded ten pounds, and that some of the prisoners appropriated part of their earnings to the support of their families. Such at that time was the happy effect of the system when properly executed.

The present state of the penitentiary affords a melancholy and striking contrast: the building in which the prisoners are confined, and the yard in which they are employed, are the same used for those purposes in the year 1795 : no additional accommodations, either for the lodging or employment of the convicts, have been provided.

The following facts, which appear in the recent presentment of a respectable grand jury, will enable every one to appreciate the importance, indeed necessity, of giving due efficacy to this benignant system.

« That while thus the « grand jury notice with pleasure the high degree of order “ and cleanliness, they are compelled by a sense of duty to

present as an evil of considerable magnitude, the present “ very crowded state of the penitentiary. The number of

persons of all classes continues to increase, so that from

thirty to forty are lodged in rooms of eighteen feet square.” So many are thus crowded together in so small a space, and so much intermixed, the innocent with the guilty, the young offender, and often the disobedient servant or apprentice, with the most experienced and hardened culprit; that the institution already begins to assume, especially as respects untried prisoners, the character of an European prison, and a seminary for every vice; in which the unfortunate being, who commits a first offence, and knows none of the arts of methodised villainy, can scarcely avoid the contamination, which leads to extreme depravity, and with which from the insufficiency of the room to form separate accommodations, he must be associated in his confinement.

There are at this time (January, 1817), 451 convicts in the Penitentiary; of which number, 162 have been before convicted and pardoned. The number of untried prisoners returned on the calendars, at the different sessions of the mayor's court of the city and quarter session of the county of Philadelphia, was In the year 1813,

516 1814,

538

.

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