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PENAL CODE AND PENITENTIARY SYSTEM.
fresh marks of an infamous distinction; the moral effect end to this practice for the future. And if these should of which, such as it is, decreases in an inverse ratio with prove unavailing, a system of counter action appears to the number of inflictions. The inefficacy of this mode us to be equally requisite. It is manifestly unjust for any of punishment, therefore, is sufficiently obvious. state to throw the burden of its convicts upon another
4. Nor have we reason to think more favourably of state. The forced introduction of criminals into parts of
blic whipping, as a punishment for offences. Like this country, during their colonial condition, was one of that, which we have just mentioned, it is rarely allotted the grievances, of which our ancestors loudly complainto the higher species of crimes. As a spectacle, it has ed, and which led, in a measure, to the declaration of inbeen found to excite no sensation in the public mind, dependence. The state which pardons its convicts on productive of useful results, and, perhaps, the contrary condition of their leaving its territory, enjoys an exempmight with safety bc affirmed, from the operation of tion from evil, at the expense of its fellow communities, syinpathy, with subjects of a punishment, apparently which no constitutional or social relation obliges them to severe and oppressive to the human frame. Whatever acquiesce in. No state has a right to require a sister may be the pain or suffering to the offender for the time, state to become the penitentiary of its convicts. The it is but temporary; and when the sentence of the law is right of self defence fully authorises the state in complied with, it leaves him at liberty to return immedi- which such convicts may arrive, to remove them by comately to his career of crime and to qualify himself for pulsion, and return them to the state from which they higher and more durable and lengthened punishments. were let loose. We conceive, therefore, that should it We are not aware that the practice of any community be found by experience, that criminals from other states has been found favourable to this species of infliction. arrive in Pennsylvania, under circumstances such as we
5. Banishment or transportation has been used as a have stated the legislature would owe it in duty to the mode of punishinent from the most ancient times; and people of this commonwealth, to adopt such measures of late years has occupied a large share of public atten- as would most effectually put an end to the practice. tion, and considerably divided public opinion; at least 2. We have applied the term, deportation, to that spe. in other countries. The importance of the question un-cies of punishment which consists in the removal of of der some circumstances may serve as our excuse for fenders to some distant place, and the deposit of them at treating it more in detail than those to which we have such place, without further care on the part of the gohad occasion to advert.
vernment, whose laws they have infringed. It differs This species of punishment is of three kinds. from simple exile in this, that the removal is the act of 1. Simple Exile.
the government, by whom the place of deposit is select2. Deportations by which we would designate the ed for the purpose. We should have little to remark compulsory removal of offenders to some foreign shore, upon this method of punishment, were it not, that it has where they should be left without further care on the recently been pressed upon the consideration of the le. part of the government.
gislature, and the public, by some of our active and well 3. Transportation, or the compulsory removal of of intentioned citizens. It has been suggested that the obfenders to a distant place, where they are subjected to jects and ends of punishments might be attained in an ef. the penal government and discipline of the mother fectual manner, were the government of the United country.
States to take possession of some uninhabited island; We use those terms for the sake of convenience and such as the island of Tristan da Cunha, in the Atlantic distinction, and not perbaps, according to their exact ocean. The respective state governments might then, signification.
at stated periods, remove their convicts to this great de1. We understand by simple exile, the mere banish- pot of crime; and after supplying them with sufficient ment of the offender from the soil of the state or coun- food and clothing for a time, and with tools of trade and try whose laws he has violated; under some stipulation, implements of husbandry for future support, might with or the denunciation of some severe penal infliction in the propriety and convenience, it is said, leave them to their event of his return.
own exertions. Necessity, it is argued, would soon proIn the practice of modern times, this punishment has duce order, and some kind of government among them; generally been allotted to political offences, of a grave and the community, whom they had injured, would be character. The moral right of a government to turn effectually relieved from their presence, at a very limit. loose its convicts upon other nations, may, we think, ed expense. This scheme it may be remarked, has well be questioned. The right of every other govern- never, according to the best of our information, been put ment to refuse them admission is unquestionable; and in practice in any country; and depends for success enthis would doubtless be exercised, were the practice of tirely on the reasonableness of its theory. It is liable, banishment for moral crime to become at all frequent. we think, to many serious objections; among which we In effect, therefore, a sentence of simple exile would for may enumerate the following. In the first place, it conthe most part be inoperative. If practicable, however, founds all crimes, by imposing upon all, the same extent we respectfully submit
, that it would be unavailing as a of punishment. As the banishment is to be without limit measure of conviction. A large proportion of offenders of time, it must be for life; and thus either the minor are transitory and cosmopolitical in their characters.class of offences must be excluded, or receive an equal They have few, if any, of those attachments, which bind weight of punishment with those of the most aggravated the virtuous part of the community to the country of their character. Again the plan presupposes the existence birth or choice, and which render exile to them a suffer- of a suitable place of deposit, and the power to acquire ing only short of death. Simple banishment, therefore, such place; neither of which is very obvious to our apwhere practicable, only removes the offender to another prehension. Another, and perhaps the most serious oband perhaps, equally congenial scene of action; and jection, arises from the proposed abandonment of the upon the community at large produces no visible ef- convicts as soon as landed. It must be presumed, that fect,
all the convicts to be removed are able bodied persons, We cannot help in this place, calling the attention of capable of acquiring the means of support—which of the legislature, to a practice, which appears to prevail course implies that all others are to remain; and be the in some of the states of this Union, and which must in its subjects of some other kind of punishment. If we beoperation prove extremely prejudicial to the interests of lieve that order will prevail among those removed, and this commonwealth, as well as of others. We allude to that contrary to all probability, rapine and bloodshed the banishment of offenders from the particular state, will not ensue among themselves; it cannot be doubted leaving them at liberty to commit depredations and out that this band of criminals will obtain the means of esrages in every other state. A just sense of the rights cape, or resolve themselves into a nation of pirates.and dignity of this state, seems to require that measures Accident, ship wreck or other causes, must occasionally should be taken by remonstrance or otherwise to put an Ithrow vessels, or the materials of vessels, on their shore;
PENAL CODE AND PENITENTIARY SYSTEM.
and the history of navigation teaches us how readily mentioned. In point of effect, all distinction of crime men, in similar circumstances, obtain the means of es- is confounded, by the difficulties in the way of the cricape, and return to their own country. We must therefore minal's return on the expiration of his sentence, whatconclude that this system of punishment would be found, ever difference exists nominally in the number of years in practice, attended with unavoidable and insurmount to which the sentence extends. The government does able difficulties.
not undertake to return the prisoner; his means seldom 3. The punishment of transportation, as adopted of permit of his return at his own expense, if the opportulate years in Great Britain, consists in the removal of of nity of a private conveyance occurred; and thus a pufenders for life, or for a term of years, to a distant place, nishment of exile is superadded, not less unjust in prinunder the jurisdiction of the government, whose laws ciple, than impolitic, in destroying the classification of they have violated, and subjects them to penal disci- crimes. pline in such place, which becoraes, in effect, only an Such are the views we have taken of the punishments enlarged penitentiary. Of the efficacy of this system of of banishment or transportation. punishment in producing the desired results of penal 6. Simple imprisonment of criminals, or the mere relaw, we believe the experience of Great Britain does not straint of their persons, by day and night, without labor authorise us to speak favourably.' For the time being, or separate confinement, is so obviously defective as a doubtless, transported convicts are placed beyond the mode of punishment for convicts, that little is requisite reach of repeating evil in the mother country. The in- to be observed on this head. Neither personal suffering sular position and remoteness of New Holland, and the nor amendment of the individual, nor any degree of inrigorous system of government pursued there, have ren- Auence upon society is to be looked for in this case; and dered escape and return to Great Britain difficult, if not the expense of maintenance is borne by the honest poraltogether impossible. So far, too, as the convicts have, tion of the community, exclusively. The experience of after the expiration of their sentence, applied them the evils of this system has accordingly produced an abanselves to the cultivation of the soil, or other kinds of in- donment of it in almost every part of Europe, in which dustry, their establishment in a new country may be con- public attention has been turned to the subject of penal sidered as a beneficial exchange. We believe, however, discipline. In our own commonwealth it has been rethat the corrupt habits and infirm constitutions of most pudiated from the earliest times. The tenth section of of the convict settlers of New Holland, have rendered the laws agreed upon in England, in May 1682, declared the number of useful labourers very small. But what that “all prisons shall be work-houses for felons, vagrants ever advantages may attend the system of colonial trans- and loose and idle persons; whereof one shall be in portation, they are attended with drawbacks and evils every county.” The same provision was repeated in which probably counterbalance them. In the first place, the great law; and acts of Assembly were subsequently the necessary expense of this system must in any event passed to carry this wise ordinance into effect. Labour be of great magnitude. The removal of the offender to has at all periods of our history been inflicted as the just a distant place; bis necessary support there for a time punishment, and meet retribution of convicts. The exat least; the maintenance of the colonial government, tent to which it shall be exacted, and the circumstances all imply great charges, which must be defrayed by the under which it shall be performed, are questions upon mother country; and the experience of the British nation which a diversity of opinion bas prevailed in the public has been in accordance with this belief.
mind, both here and in Europe. Under the remaining It appears from the returns made to the British parli divisions of the subject, we shall cffer to the legislature ament, that from the year 1787, when the settlement of the result of the best examination we have been able to New Holland commenced, to 1820, the number of con- give to these embarrassing questions. victs transported amounted to 25,878. The cost of 7. Imprisonment with hard labour, but without classitransporting is estimated at £100* sterling each: And fication or separation by day or night, was the earliest in the annual expense is not less, probably, than £40+ ster- the series of what are now denominated penitentiary puling: equivalent to $177 60 of our money for each con- nishments. It has been already mentioned, that the vict. From the returns laid before parliament, it ap- strong and far-sighted intellect of the founder of Pennpears, that the expenditure of the British government sylvania, perceived the expediency of employing labour for the transportation to, and support of convicts at New as a means of punishment and a compensation to society, Holland from 1786 to 1817 inclusive, was about four mil. half a century before the legislators of Europe began to lion pounds sterling, or upwards of seventeen and a half turn their thoughts to the subject. The earliest provimillions of dollars. In 1820 the annual expense of the sions of our laws directed the employment of convicts colony is stated at £300,000# sterling, or $1,332,000. It wat hard labor in the house of correction," for a term of is estimated by British writers that one-tenth of the sum years, corresponding with the enormity of the offenoc. expended on this colony would have subsisted at home of the manner in which the punishment was inflicted, or the whole number of convicts, while something might its effect in practice, we have no means left of judging. have been gained from their labour to the public treasu- The alteration of the criminal code which took place in ry, which was not obtained at New Holland. On the 1717, in consequence of the pertinacious attachment of score of expense, therefore, the system of transportation the British government to capital punishments, seems in is objectionable. Again, experience shows that refor- practice, to have restored the dominion of idleness in mation of the offender is not to be looked for in a com- the interior of our prisons; for although to some minor munity of convicts. From the returns to the British offences, the punishment of confinement for a short peparliament before mentioned, it appears that out of 4376 riod at hard labour was annexed, yet the concurrent convicts, whose sentences had been remitted, or whose testimony of all, who remember its condition, represents time had expired, only 369 were considered respectable the provincial prison of Philadelphia as a scene of proin conduct and character. In fact, the same causes Aligacy and license, in which all sexes, ages and colours which have operated to render our own penitentiaries were confounded without classification, without labour, the seats of crime and the schools of iniquity, namely, and without restraint. During the revolutionary contest, free intercourse with the contagion of vice, have ope- it is not to be wondered, that the attention of the legisrated on a larger scale, and with more powerful effect in lature was diverted from the spectacle, or that it was New Holland. Other objections exist to transportation deficient in the means of reformation. The constitution of as practised by the British, of which one only need be 1776, however, had directed a reform of the penal laws,
and the introduction of hard labour as the punishment Edinburg Review, vol. 13, p. 181. Quarterly Re- for offences. One of the earliest measures after the view, vol. 12, p. 42.
consolidation of independence, was the reformation of 7 Quarterly Review, vol. 12, page 42.
the penal code, and the substitution in many cases, of Quarterly Review, vol. 24, p. 247.
the penitentiary discipline for the punishment of death.
The act of 1786 provided, that certain crimes, which had sight into the working of the machinery, and of procur-
45 hold them. The severity of the law, and disgraceful 1788
92 manner of executing it, led to a proportionate degree of 1789
116 depravity and insensibility, and every spark of morality 1790
145 appeared to be destroyed. The keepers were armed 1791 with swords, blunderbusses, and other weapons of de 1792
In 10 years, 990 struction. The prisoners, secured by cumberous iron collars and chains fixed to bomb-shells. Their dress was Thus, apparently, proving that the introduction of peformed with every mark of disgrace. The old and har- nitentiary punishments did not produce any augmentadened offender daily in the practice of begging and in- tion of crime. During the 10 years fron 1797 to 1807 sulting the inhabitants collecting crowds of idle boys, the number of convictions, for the same offences, and holding with them the most indecent and improper 1311; an increase perhaps not greater than might have conversation. Thus disgracefully treated, and heated been expected from the great augmentation of the popwith liquor, they meditated and executed plans of es- ulation. From 1807 to 1817, however, the number of cape-and, when at liberty, their distress, disgrace and convictions rose to 2612; a frightful increase; to almost fears, prompted them to violent acts to satisfy the imme- double those of the preceding term. During the last diate demands of nature. Their attacks upon society 10 years from 1817 to 1827, the convictions have were well known to be desperate and to some they amounted to 3151, an increase almost equally alarmproved fatal."*
ing The discipline of the prison was not less remarkably The condition of the prison of Philadelphia, during deficient in wisdom and humanity. It will hardly be cre- the first 10 or 15 years after the change of system, bedited, that so recently as the year 1788, the prison of came the subject of universal remark. Foreigners, as Philadelphia presented the spectacle, of the confine- well as our own citizens, were struck with the degree of ment of debtors with criminals, of honest poverty with order and decorum that prevailed, with the exact discithe most vile and revolting of crimes, and the indiscri- pline pursued, and the great apparent amendment of the minate intercourse both by day and night, of women and demeanour and habits of the convicts. men, whether debtor's or convicts. Nor was this all, We quote from a memorial of the inspectors to the lespirituous liquors were sold at a bar, inside of the wall, gislature, dated January 8th, 1821, the following testito all its inmates, and produced, as might be expected, mony to the character of the prison, in its early stages, scenes of profligacy and impurity disgraceful to the city and at a period when solitary confinement was not spo of Penn. "It is the peculiar blessing of free institutions ken of, except to enforce the prison discipline. that no abuse can long survive the broad light of public “The prison was well managed. Industry was enexamination. The legislature were no sooner made sen- couraged among the prisoners. Employment was abunsible of the evils of the prevailing system, than they at- dant, and in consequence of the number of the criminals tempted its reform with vigour and carnestness. The being small, classification to a certain degree was obacts of 1789, 1790, 1791, 1794 and 1795, prove the anx- served. The consequence was, that the internal part iety that existed to correct mistakes, and establish a of the building appeared to a visitor, rather like a well system of punishments, which should combine severity regulated manufactory, than a prison. Instances of reand certainty with humanity; and by removing public dis- formation in the early period of this system occurred, grace, and the temptations to excess, leave room for and among all the prisoners, order and good discipline the possible entrance of reformation. The system of were maintained.”f The successful result of the expepenitentiary discipline, now pursued in the prison at riment in this state, led, as is well known, to the adopPhiladelphia, and subsequently imitated at New York, tion of the penitentiary system in almost every other Boston, Baltimore and other places, was prescribed by state in the Union, and has been quoted as authority and the acts we have enumerated; and consists of that spe. evidence for reformation in Europe. Within the last cies of punishment which we have ranked as the seventh twenty years, however, a remarkable and melancholy in the order enumerated. From the establishment of the change has taken place, which so completely reverses penitentiary system in full effect in the year 1794, to the the picture, that a stranger might well doubt whether it present time, its progress and results have been watched were drawn for the same institution and the same comwith intense anxiety, by a large portion of the public. munity. In 1803 it appears from a petition to the legisA problem of immense importance to the condition of mankind was to be solved, and the natural interest in its . *This fact is taken from an official statement published solution, kept public attention earnestly fixed upon the in the appendix to the very instructive essay on the pusubject. Fortunately, too, the means of obtaining in- nishment of death, by the late William Bradford, esq.
The difference may possibly have been caused in part An account of the alteration and present state of the by the recent occurrence of a criminal court. penal laws of Pennsylvania, &c. by Caleb Lownes, 7 Senate Journal 1820-1, page 335.
lature by “the society for alleviating the miseries of pub- shaved close, at least one in each week; they were to be lic prisons," that the prison was then “no longer capa- sustained on the coarsest food, and kept to labour of the ble of containing the prisoners in such a way as to an- hardest and most servile kind, during which they were swer the intention of the legislature.” In 1816 the same to be “kept separate and apart from each other, if the valuable association published “a statistical view of the nature of their several employments will admit thereoperation of the penal code of Pennsylvania,” in which of;" and "where the nature of the employment requires it is stated, that““ the institution already begins to as two or more to work together, the keeper of the goal sume, especially as respects untried prisoners, the cha- or one of his deputies shall, if possible, be constantly racter of an European prison, and a seminary for every present.” A subsequent section enacted, that if proper vice, in which the unfortunate being, who commits a employment could be found, the prisoners might also be first offence, and knows none of the arts of methodized permitted to work in the yard; provided it were done villainy, can scarcely avoid the contamination, which in the presence, or within view of the keeper or his de. leads to extreme depravity; and with which from the in- puties. The number of hours of work was also presufficiency of the room to form -separate accommoda- scribed, viz: Eight in November, December and Janutions, he must be associated in his confinement." The ary; nine in February and October, and ten in every same judgment was pronounced, in almost the same other month. terms, by a committee of the legislature of Massachu An act, passed on the 22d of April, 1794, (3 Smith's setts, who in the year 1818 visited this state, for the pur- Laws, 186,) provided, (sect. xi.) that persons convicted pose of examining into the operation of the penitentiary of crimes, which by former laws were punishable with system.
death, (except murder in the first degree,) should be In 1821, the then board of inspectors addressed a let- kept in the solitary cells, on low diet, for such portion of ter to a committee of the senate, in which the condition the term of imprisonment, (not more than one half, nor of the prison was forcibly delineated, and some of the less than one twelfth part thereof,) as the court in their causes of the unhappy change were clearly and justly sentence should direct and appoint. The act of 18th indicated. We make the following extract, because it April, 1795, (3 Smith's Laws, 246,) enacted, that the inmust be considered as an authentic exposition.
spectors of the prison should have full power to class the “It seems to be generally admitted, that the mode at different prisoners, in such manner as they should judge present in use in the penitentiary, does not reform of- would best promote the object of their confinement. fenders. It was intended to be a school of reform; but The provisions of the act of 1790, which directed that it is now a school of vice. It cannot be otherwise, where the clothing of the convict should be of the coarsest maso many depraved beings are crowded together, with-terials and their labour of the hardest and most severe out the means of classification or of adequate employ- kind, were repealed; as was also a clause of the same ment. There were in confinement on the first instant. act, which allowed the keeper of the prison a commis(January) 424 men and 40 women convicts. For want sion of five per cent on the sale of articles manufacturof room to separate them the young associated with the ed by the convicts. old offenders; the petty thief becomes the pupil of the These are the chief provisions of the acts relating to highway robber; the beardless boy listens with delight penitentiary punishments. It will be seen, upon examto the well told tale of daring exploits, and hair breadth ination, that they contemplated a system of classification, escapes of hoary headed villainy; and from the experi- at least as between the tried and untried, of severe and ence of age derives instructions, which fit him to be a unremitting labour during the hours at which labour is pest and terro I to society. A community of interest and practicable by day-light; and of separation of the offendesign is excited among them, and instead of reforma ders, during the period of labour, where the nature of tion ruin is the general result."*
the employment permitted of it. No provision was Many other testimonies might be cited, if necessary, made, however, for any general system of solitary conto prove that the condition of the prison of Philadelphia, finement, nor even for the solitary confinement of any within the last ten or fifteen years, has been the standing class of criminals, during the period of imprisonment:reproach and contradiction of the friends of the peniten- All that appears to have been contemplated was solitary tiary system, and furnishes a melancholy contrast to the confinement, for a greater or less term, according to the evidences and promises furnished by its early operation. sentence of the court, and the subsequent return of the Such being the existing state of things, it becomes im- offender to the society and intercourse of the convicts. portant for a first determination upon the subject, to as- Certainly, no provision was made for separate dormitocertain whether the recent evils have sprung out of the ries, or separation during meals. The size of the cells, system itself, or are the result of an imperfect or vicious which the act of 1790 required to be constructed, seems mode of administering it. For which purpose, it is ne- to negative the idea of their being intended for the sepacessary to take a brief review of the different acts of as- rate confinement of individuals. The cells in the Ausembly, by which the penitentiary system was establish- burn prison are only seven feet high, and three and a half ed, that it may be seen whether they have been duly ob- feet wide, and are sufficiently capacious for the intendserved in practice, and if not, what circumstances have ed purpose, The area of the cells at Philadeiphia, acoccurred to prevent their proper observance.
cording to the directions of the act, was to be more than The act of April 5th, 1790, (2 Smith's Laws, 531,) twice this size, or as 48 to 21. It was evident that the which repealed all the former laws upon the subject, and limits of the prison would not have admitted of the concompleted the essay of the penitentiary system, after struction of cells of this size for more than a small numproviding the punishment of hard labour for certain of- ber of prisoners. And it soon became evident, that the fences, directed, in the 8th section, that the commis- cells constructed by the commissioners were not suffisioners of Philadelphia county should cause a suitable ciently numerous even for “the more hardened and number of cells to be constructed, six feet wide, eight atrocious offenders.” Consequently, the intercourse befeet long, and nine feet high, "for the purpose of con tween the convicts, both by day and night, became confining therein the more hardened and atrocious offen- stant and corrupting. ders, who may have been sentenced to hard labour for The alterations in the system, produced by the act of a term of years. Separation between convicts, vagrants, 1795, were perhaps more important than they appeared and persons charged with misdemeanors, was directed at first sight. The repeal of the clause in the act of to be enforced ' as much as the convenience of the 1790, which directed the convicts to be clothed uniformbuilding would admit.” The convicts were to be clothly in coarse habits, the heads of the males to be shaved, ed in habits of coarse materials, uniform in colour and and that they should be subjected to the hardest and make; the males were to have their heads and beards most servile labour, may have produced a prejudicial
effect on the discipline of the prison, or the penitential Senate Journal 1820-1, page 334.
operation of the punishment. We are, at all events, un
acquainted with the causes which induced the repeal; On Saturday last, March 22, there was a fall of Snow and inclined to believe, that, especially that part of the on the Broad Mountain, about ten miles from this place, old laws which required the labour of the convicts to be four inches in depth. There was no snow here, whatof a severe and servile character, was sound in theory, ever, at that time.-Miner's Journal, Pottsville. and serviceable in practice; and that, one of the great On the 7th inst. we had the pleasure of seeing a Marfaults of the existing system, so far as we have had an tin, we believe the first of those agreeable accompaniopportunity of personal cxamination, is the lightness of ments of the spring season which has made its appear the labour, both in respect to its character, and the ex Perched alone upon a lofty tree, the note of the tent of time devoted to it. The provision, which gave little stranger attracted much attention from having made to the keeper of the goal five per cent. commission on its appearance so early in the season.—Ibid. the sale of manufactured articles, may also have excited on his part an interest in the labour of the convicts, which Union Canal.-The water is in this canal, and we tended to produce more constant application, and left were yesterday informed by a merchant of this place, less time for idleness and corrupting communication.—that a boat had arrived at Middletown from PhiladelThe repeal of this clause, therefore, may have been pre- phia. judicial to the interests of the institution. The same act Pennsylvania Canal.—The water was, on Tuesday repealed a clause of the act of 1790, which authorised last, let into this canal at M'Allister's mill; and a genthe infliction of moderate whipping, not exceeding thir- tleman has just stepped into our office with the inforteen lashes each time. We are ignorant, however, whe-mation, that it has reached and is filling the basin near ther the punishment of whipping was frequently admin- this place.—Harrisburg, March 20. istered, or otherwise, under the former act. Whatever may have been the operation of these alter.
Extract from a Middlelown paper. ations in the law, it is certain that a considerable in
ARRIVED. crease of conviction took place about this period. The Canal Boat Dauphin, captain Thomas, from PhiThe number of convictions which in 1792 was 65, and ladelphia, belonging to Eldridge & Brick, with a carin 1793 was 45, amounted in 1794 to 92, in 1795 to 116, and 1796 to 145.
487 Spanish Hides to the Dauphin Tannery The testimony of all who had opportunities to exa 10 tons Gypsum,
Carlisle & Humphreys, mine the progress and present state of the Philadelphia 100 Hides, to
of Middletown prison, united with our own observation, convinces us 1 bbl. Merchandise Peter Miller, of Dauphin that the flagrant evils of that establishment, are referri 5000 Shell Fish
Captain. ble to the communication, which takes place between Middletown, Monday evening, March 24, 1828. the convicts by day and night, during their work, at their This boat sailed from Fair Mount Dam in company meals, and in the perilous interval between the conclu- with several of the company boats, and parted with sion of their labour in the evening, and the resumption them on the evening of that day, and heard nothing of of it the next morning. Other causes have also operated them since, excepting
was a report of their to produce the same result. Among the principal of having got on as far as Reading. This boat we consider which is the frequency of pardons, and the system upon to be the first from Philadelphia, with an assorted cargo, which they have of late years been recommended and there was, however, an arrival of a small boat with oysobtained. The enormous increase in the number of ters, &c. some days sooner. convicts, and the insufficiency of the prison accommodations have, we understand, reduced the Inspectors to
In opposition to the opinion expressed in the article on the necesssity of applying, annually, for the pardon of the Delaware Trade and Canal, in our last number, "that a number of the convicts, to make room for others; and by this means it has happened,
that the average term of an uninterrupted canal communication cannot be had imprisonment actually passed, has been far below the on any of the routes from Tioga Point to Philadelphia, amount inflicted by the sentence of the courts. The Baltimore or New York,” a person well acquainted with operation of a state of things like this, could not be other that section of country, says that wise than mischievous. The frequent changes in the persons of the inhabitants, the occasional enlargement “ A complete canal communication can be had with of the most vicious, the abbreviation of the term of pu- Tioga Point from Philadelphia by the Lehigh route, nishment of all, would probably, if the discipline of the and with the same distances as mentioned in that article; prison were in other respects perfect, lead to the results but if rail roads are adopted in part, the distance from we have mentioned; and which have caused the prison Mauch Chunk to Berwick would be reduced to 32 of Philadelphia to forfeit the high character it once pos- miles, which would make the whole distance to Tioga sessed, and to become a reproach to the city in which it Point by that route 287 2-3 miles. But on the plan of is located, and to the state by whom it ought to be su- rail roads, the Lehigh route would go by Wilkesbarre perintended.
instead of Berwick (both which points can be reached The prevailing evils of the prison may, therefore, be in the same distance from Mauch Chunk) in which case considered partly as the necessary consequences, and the distance from Wilkesbarre to Berwick must be departly as abuses of the system established by the acts of ducted, which would reduce the whole distance from 1790, 1794 and 1795. The same is true, we have reason Philadelphia to Tioga Point to about 265 miles; and from to believe, of most, if not all, the prisons in England and New York by the Delaware and Raritan Canal, (which this country, established about the same period. Dif- will no doubt be completed,) Lehigh and Wilkesbarre, fering as men do in some respects, as to the causes of to Tioga Point, about 290 miles, both having the same these evils, all agree that a change or reformation of lockage, which is believed to be less to both cities than practice is impcriously required by every motive of po- by any other route. licy and humanity. In what manner the system shall be reformed, however, is a question upon which, as we have already intimated, there exists a great diversity of Printed every Saturday morning by Willian F. GEDsentiment: The different suggestions that have been des, No. 59 Locust street, Philadelphia; where, and at made with this view will be considered under the re- the Editor's residence, No. 51 Filbert street, Subscrip: maining divisions of punishments.
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