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especially they were to consider the sort of buildings best adapted for the efficient working of the penitentiary system. Finally, they were to show whether penal agricultural colonies are desirable, as a gradation in the penalty, or whether it might not be arranged that such penal colonies should be employed, by way of mitigation, for convicts whose good conduct might deserve it. Much is to be hoped from the investigations of the commission.
We have to add also, that on the 27th January, 1861, a code of prison regulations, containing 331 paragraphs, was issued for the Kingdom of Italy.
III. As regards experience on the subject of prison discipline; it is a cause of complaint that, owing to the Governments keeping the executive power in their own hands, much, especially with regard to prison administration, is kept secret, and consequently nothing can be known of the working of the separate system as is the case in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Switzerland. The prison directors give in their annual reports to the ministry, but these reports remain official secrets, and are never published—the prison employés are even bound by oath to make no communications to third parties. Thus important facts cannot be turned to account, and the press is deprived of a principal means of censuring error, and of exposing prejudices and misunderstandings with regard to new and improved systems. In Prussia, latterly, an official notice* on prisons has been published, but one cannot be satisfied with this way of enlightening the public. Such reports can only attain their end when, as in England, Ireland, and Scotland, the director, as well as the pastor and the physician, give in their separate reports, with their individual observations and experience. Thus, the citizen possesses the direct testimony of the prison officers—whereas, after the Prussian manner, Herr Visschers only, as Governor of the Prisons, makes a
" Communications from the Official Reports of the Prussian Royal Prisons under the Jurisdiction of the Minister of the Interior; During the Years 1858, 1860." Berlin, 1861.
general statement, in which he quotes certain passages from the reports of the several officers, as may appear fitting to him from his own point of view. There is much to condemn in the Prussian prison regulations. The ministry had announced to the members of parliament, that the Government authorised the trial of the separate system in one of the prisons, through a special order of administration, though as a system it was not recognised in the law of the country. It would seem that the proposed changes do not accord with the spirit of the constitution. In Prussia, likewise, the prison administration most inexpediently comes under the jurisdiction of two different ministers - those in which are confined prisoners under examination and convicts under sentence, fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice; while the houses of correction and prisons in which convicts sentenced for longer terms are kept, fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Interior. It is evident that thus no uniform and suitable system can be acted upon in any of the Prussian prisons. Only in the Moabit Prison in Berlin is the separate system used for criminals sentenced to the house of correction, and they should be between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, and such as it may be deemed advisable to isolate entirely, day and night. It is evident that from experience obtained in such a prison, in which, moreover, the convicts for the separate system are selected, no decision can be arrived at as to its being really injurious. It was stated above that the overseers in this prison are all Brothers of the Rauhen Haus, and that this circumstance creates dissatisfaction. The principal German prison built upon the separate system is that of Bruchsal, in Baden. To that are sent convicts sentenced to the house of correction, not, however, for longer than six years, so that at the expiration of this term the convict passes into the common prison, unless he prefer to remain isolated. Experience shows favourably for the result of the separate system as conducted in Bruchsal, in that it has a decidedly reformatory influence on the convict. Though it is not to be denied that several of the liberated from Bruchsal have relapsed, yet the number is not so great as from other prisons, and the blame in many cases no doubt lies rather in the want of proper establishments where the liberated could be suitably employed and guarded. It was mentioned above that, according to the report of the officiating physician, insanity often ensued at Bruchsal. It is, however, shown that in 1860 there was only one insanity, and in 1861 none at all.
The Government is willing to grant tickets of leave to such convicts as, either from physical or moral causes, could not safely be committed to solitary confinement; likewise in many cases clemency has been shown on account of good conduct, and the remainder of the sentence been remitted. In 1860 there were thirty-five such cases. In 1861 there were twenty-five. The most remarkable fact is, that each year the number increases of those who, having been in solitary confinement six years, might be admitted into the common prison, yet prefer continuing in their cells—this is a satisfactory testimony to the preference given by the convicts themselves to the separate system. In 1859 there were ten such cases.
Satisfactory experience has been made in the prison of Vechta in Oldenburg, in which the very zealous Director, Hoyer, has effected much in the reformation of criminals. Latterly, convinced of the advantages of the Irish intermediate prison, considerable acquisitions of land have been made in the neighbourhood of the prison, enabling them greatly to improve their discipline—the gradations of which are: isolation at first, to which all are committed for a longer or shorter period: where there are proofs of decided and durable reformation, the convict may be removed into the intermediate prison, in which the treatment is milder, combined with the privilege of working in the open air: in case of bad conduct the convict returns to his former class. Facts speak much in favour of this prison. But few of the liberated have been recommitted, and they have been chiefly imbecile and indifferent, or convicts
26 Prison Discipline : The Present State of the Question.
that had been in other prisons and become more and more depraved through bad association.
We have yet to observe that a Prussian "Prison Association” in Rhenish Westphalia publishes an annual report, in which the resolutions passed by Government are given, and important facts communicated, showing the serious necessity there is for prison reformation, with accounts of the condition of different prisons, often accompanied by severe criticisms of their defects and deficiencies. One signal service this association renders is, its'taking upon itself the presenting of petitions to the ministry.
The general result of the views entertained by the true friends of prison reformation in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, is the conviction that the separate system, well organized, can alone strike at the root of the evil; that considerable misunderstanding still prevails as to the object aimed at in the separate system—the principle not being sufficiently recognised that the end proposed by the penalty ought to be the reformation of the criminal. This was most ably demonstrated by the Attorney-General of Ireland, Mr. O'Hagan, at the Dublin Congress of the Social Science Association.* “ While the prison,” he says, “ should ever retain its dread character of justly incurred penalty, still there must be combined with this severity the endeavour to reform the convict.”
Everywhere it is becoming better known that where the introduction of the separate system has not appeared successful, the Government has been to blame, in dealing with half measures—from mistaken economy, neglecting the means and regulations on which depend the success of the separate system. Blame likewise rests with the prison officers, who do not enter into the spirit of the new system—they cannot understand that reformatory education, adapted to the individuality of the convict, is the desired aim in the separate system.
* Transactions, 1861, p. 61.
ART. III.- GENERAL AVERAGE.
UR readers are no doubt aware, from the two articles on
General Average which have appeared in the Law MAGAZINE, that an attempt is being made, chiefly by mercantile men who are practically conversant with the subject, to bring about uniformity, or at least some approximation to uniformity, in that portion of the Law Maritime of this and other countries which relates to the important subject of general average.
The inconvenient and even absurd results which follow from the want of uniformity on the subject must be very striking to mercantile men. The act or loss which gives rise to the right of general average, such as the jettison of cargo, or the cutting away of masts, is one that takes place on the high seas. The persons jointly interested in this act—the owners of the ship and cargo-are, as likely as not, persons of different nations. The contract which has for the moment bound them together, the contract of affreightment, is a contract which is commonly entered into and takes its inception in one country, while it is to be carried into completion in another country. These things being so, it would seem theoretically reasonable that the results which should follow upon the jettison or other act done for the common good ought, so far as the effect of laws is concerned, to be precisely the same, whether the ship’s head happens, at the time when that act is performed, to be turned eastward or westward,—whether the ship is on her way from New York to London or from London to New York. There is, in fact, a close analogy between a jettison or similar act and marine salvage. Questions of salvage are settled in the Admiralty Court on principles of international, as distinguished from municipal law; and it is not easy to see why it should not be the same with questions of general average.
It may perhaps be thought that, however valid such reasoning as the above may be as a matter of pure theory, the difficulty of carrying it into practice would be insuperable. Granting, it may be said, the advisability of having one uni