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a reform of the criminal code. This reform, however, was not carried, in the opinion of the Quakers, to a sufficient length. Accordingly, they took the lead again, and exerted themselves afresh upon this subject. Many of them formed themselves into a society "for alleviating the miseries of public prisons." Other persons co-operated with them in this undertaking also. At length, after great perseverance, they prevailed upon the same legislature, in the year 1790, to try an ameliorated system. This trial answered so well, that the same legislature again, in the year 1794, established an act, in which several Quaker principles were incorporated, and in which only the crime of premeditated murder was punishable with death.
As there is now but one capital offence in Pennsylvania, punishments for other offences are made up of fine, imprisonment, and labour; and these are award ed separately or conjointly, according to the magnitude of the crime.
When criminals have been convicted, and sent to the great gaol of Philadelphia to undergo their punishment, it is expected of them that they should maintain themselves out of their daily labour; that they should pay for their board and washing, and also for the use of their different implements of labour; and that they should defray the expences of their com
mitment, and of their prosecutions and their trials. An account therefore is regularly kept against them, and if at the expiration of the term of their punishment, there should be a surplus of money in their favour, arising out of the produce of their work, it is given to them on their discharge.
An agreement is usually made about the price of prison-labour between the inspector of the gaol and the employers of the criminals.
As reformation is now the great object in Pensylvania, where offences have been committed, it is of the first importance that the gaoler and the different inspectors should be persons of moral character. 1. Good example, religious advice, and humane treatment on the part of these, will have a tendency to produce attention, respect, and love on the part of the prisoners, and to influence their moral conduct. Hence it is a rule never to be departed from, that none are to be chosen as successors to these different offi. cers, but such, as shall be found on inquiry to have been exemplary in their lives.
As reformation, again, is now the great object, no corporal punishment is allowed in the prison. No keeper can strike a criminal. Nor can any criminal be put into irons. All such punishments are considered as doing harm. They tend to extirpate a sense of shame. They tend to degrade a man, and
to make him consider himself as degraded in his own eyes; whereas it is the design of this change in the penal system, that he should be constantly looking up to the restoration of his dignity as a man, and to the recovery of his moral character.
As reformation, again, is now the great object, the following (u) system is adopted. No intercourse is allowed between the males and the females, nor any between the untried and the convicted prisoners. While they are engaged in their labour, they are allowed to talk only upon the subject, which immediately relates to their work. All unnecessary conversation is forbidden. Profane swearing is never overlooked. A strict watch is kept, that no spirituous liquors may be introduced. Care is taken that all the prisoners have the benefit of religious instruction. The prison is accordingly open, at stated times, to the pastors of the different religious denominations of the place. And as the mind of man may be worked upon by rewards as well as by punishments, a hope is held out to the prisoners, that the time of their confinement may be shortened by their good behaviour. For the
(u). As cleanliness is connected with health, and health with morals, the prisoners are obliged to wash and clean themselves every morning before their work, and to bathe in the summer-season, in a large reser voir of water, which is provided in the court yard of the prison for this
inspectors, if they have reason to believe that a solid reformation has taken place in any individual, have a power of interceding for his enlargement, and the executive government of granting it, if they think it proper. In the case, where the prisoners are refractory, they are usually put into solitary confinement, and deprived of the opportunity of working. During this time the expences of their board and washing are going on, so that they are glad to get into employment again, that they may liquidate the debt, which, since the suspension of their labour, has been accruing to the gaol.
In consequence of these regulations, those who visit the criminals in Philadelphia in the hours of their labour, have more the idea of a large manufactory, than of a prison. They see nail-makers, sawyers, carpenters, joiners, weavers, and others, all busily employed. They see regularity and order among these. And as no chains are to be seen in the prison, they seem to forget their situation as criminals, and to look upon them as the free and honest labourers of a community following their respective trades.
In consequence of these regulations, great advantages have arisen both to the criminals, and to the state. The state has experienced a diminution of crimes to the amount of one half since the change of the penal system, and the criminals have been restored, in a
great proportion, from the gaol to the community, as reformed persons. For few have been known to stay the whole term of their confinement. But no person could have had any of his time remitted him, except he had been considered both by the inspectors and the executive government as deserving it. This circumstance of permission to leave the prison before the time expressed in the sentence, is of great importance to the prisoners. For it operates as a certificate for them of their amendment to the world at large. Hence no stigma is attached to them for having been the inhabitants of a prison. It may be observed also, that some of the most orderly and industrious, and such as have worked at the most profitable trades, have had sums of money to take on their discharge, by which they have been able to maintain themselves honestly, till they could get into employ.
Such is the state, and such the manner of the execution of the penal laws of Pensylvania, as founded upon Quaker-principles, so happy have the effects of this new system already been, that it is supposed . it will be adopted by the other American States.
May the example be universally followed! May it be universally received as a truth, that true policy is inseparable from virtue; that in proportion as principles become lovely on account of their morality, they