ePub 版

be read by every one interested in the proper Nevertheless, as was the case (pointed out in study of mankind. It is one of the most Mr. Lewis's article) in Auburn, on the Fourth humanizing books ever written ; and what is of July there could not have been found a essential to the progress of the new penology more orderly group of men anywhere between is the humanization—not of the convict, but the Atlantic and Pacific than that gathered in of the man outside of the prison. The citi- the chapel at Sing Sing on Sunday afternoon, zen who has kept within the law must be December 6. made to understand that conviction for crime And less than two years ago the warden does not necessarily imply that the convicted of Sing Sing felt it necessary to put a loaded man is a different order of being. The cir- revolver in his pocket when he went into the cumstance that Mr. Osborne, as his book prison yard! It was only a year ago last shows us, spent a week with men who among July that the prisoners in Sing Sing mutinied them had committed the blackest crimes and set fire to the shops! It may be remarked written in the calendar, and whom we might incidentally that, again for the first time in have been justified in believing to be totally the history of Sing Sing, not one infraction depraved, and found there kindness, sympa- of the prison rules was reported for the thy, helpfulness, unselfish friendship, and, in twenty-four hours ending on the Monday one instance at least, nobility of soul, is calcu- morning following the assemblage of the lated to set people to thinking.

inmates in the chapel without their guards. Readers of The Outlook are already ac- The reason given by Warden Osborne for quainted with one outcome of Mr. Osborne's the dismissal of the guards from the chapel prison experience through the article by on this Sunday afternoon was that he might Orlando F. Lewis, General Secretary of the discuss alone with the Golden Rule BrotherPrison Association of New York, entitled hood (the Sing Sing organization modeled on “ The New Freedom at Auburn Prison,” the Mutual Welfare League of Auburn) fifwhich appeared in The Outlook of August teen almost revolutionary changes suggested 15, and first informed the outside world of by the Brotherhood in the prison rules. The the working of the Mutual Welfare League most important of these changes was one in that institution. Describing the entertain- whereby the prisoners asked that they be perment got up and carried out by the prisoners mitted to discipline themselves, without initial themselves on the Fourth of July, Mr. intervention of warden or keepers. They Lewis wrote: “I wish I had the power to couched their request thus : make the readers of The Outlook sense in We ask that the system of discipline be matefull the enormous significance for both pres- rially altered, and that the Executive Committee ent and future of this recent Fourth of July of the Brotherhood, sitting as a court, shall be in Auburn Prison."

allowed to examine all minor cases of discipline Of equal significance was the scene in and determine, if practicable, the nature and Sing Sing on the first Sunday of the present extent of the penalties to be inflicted for violamonth, when, for the first time in the history

tion of the prison rules or the rules of the Brothof the prison, Warden Osborne assembled all

erhood. It is requested that court be held the prisoners in the chapel and ordered the

between the hours of three and four in the afterguards from the room. (The men came in

noon; that the sergeant-at-arms (an officer of

the Brotherhood) be authorized to procure the two divisions of about seven hundred each,

attendance of the witnesses, and that a right of the chapel not being large enough to seat

appeal from this court to the Warden's court them all at once.) Those most familiar with

be given-such appeals to be made by either the the State prisons had felt that the experiment inmates whom it is proposed to discipline, or of self-government as applied in Auburn by one of the prison officers appointed by the might be dangerous in Sing Sing, which has warden to be present at the hearings. The always been the most turbulent of these insti- suggestion is also made that the court may warn tutions, partly because physical conditions and caution the inmate or may suspend him make it impossible to keep the inmates

from any or all of the privileges of the Brother

hood, and that while so suspended he shall cease decently comfortable a large part of the time,

to enjoy his grade privileges, and shall wear on thus generating bad humor among them, and

his arm a “bull's eye” the color of his grade disk. partly because it is the prison for first offenders, who are always more unruly and more To this Mr. Osborne replied that he was easily incited to violence than men who have fully in sympathy with the suggestion, and become accustomed to obey their keepers. that he would carry the idea further and allow the Brotherhood to decide 'all breaches of sitate a great deal of additional Sunday work discipline, with appeal, where the justice of a for the keepers. The request that the prisdecision was disputed, to the Warden's court oners be allowed to see visitors on Sundays

-which is composed of the Warden himself, and holidays, which had not up to that time the principal keeper, and the prison physician. been permitted because of the inconvenience The roar of delighted applause that greeted it worked to the keepers, was granted by Mr. this announcement was an augury for the Osborne, however, with the comment that he successful operation of the new order. Inci- fully realized that many of the friends of the dentally I saw an old man in prison garb inmates of Sing Sing were unable to leave their standing in the rear of the chapel move work on week-days without suffering pecuniary behind a pillar to. hide his tears from his loss. Up to the first Sunday of the month cheering companions. Even so short a time there were many restrictions upon the writago as a year the suggestion on the part of ing and receiving of letters, and upon the the convicts of Sing Sing that they be allowed receiving of the small amounts of money pristo try one another for infraction of the prison oners are allowed to expend for tobacco and rules would have been regarded as an im- other such luxuries, which restrictions the pudent ebullition of humor.

Brotherhood asked to have removed. The One of the suggestions made by the Warden granted these requests, with the obBrotherhood, entirely of its own initiative, servation that most of the restrictions ought moved the new Warden considerably. It was never to have been made. Another rule that the beds in the dormitory—the former that Mr. Osborne declared should never have chapel, where the overflow from the cells is been promulgated, and which he promptly accommodated, and the most comfortable abolished at the request of the men, preplace in the prison to sleep—be assigned vented their receiving sweaters and shoes first to those inmates who are suffering from from friends or relatives outside of the heart trouble or epilepsy, or who are crippled. prison. " As gray is the fashionable color “I am greatly pleased,” Mr. Osborne told here,” he said, referring to the prison unithe men, “to have this evidence of concern form, “ ask your friends to send you gray for the general welfare. The places in the sweaters, however.

As to shoes—the more dormitory should, of course, be given to those you get from outside, the less expense the who suffer most from the bad conditions of State will be under." The Warden also, at the cell block. I will have a list made of the request of the men, allowed them to those who should be changed at once.” change the time for the weekly moving-pic

Of the suggestions for changes in the ture show and entertainment from Saturday prison rules Mr. Osborne immediately ap- to Sunday afternoon, in order that they might proved all but two, and in these instances he have an extra hour out of their cells on the merely held matters in abeyance. One of day of rest. He further promised them an these was the removal of the screens in the exhaust fan in the mattress shop, where they visitors' room. At present a visitor to a complained that the floating lint and dust prisoner is compelled to sit some four feet produced bad sanitary conditions. away from him, with two thicknesses of coarse Thus in an hour on that Şunday afternoon wire grating between them, so that there is three weeks ago the new Warden made life no possibility of their coming into personal in Sing Sing immeasurably better worth living contact. This practice is said to have been for the hundreds of men within the walls and introduced after a convict had killed his wife, for many hundreds more to come. 'The who had come to pay him a visit in Sing heartiness of the applause of his audience as Sing The new Warden told the men that one after another of their requests was personally he did not consider the screen a granted was sufficient evidence of unqualinecessity, but that it was so old established fied appreciation of his brotherly efforts on an institution that he did not feel like abolish- their behalf. They even cheered enthusias ing it without further consideration. The other tically when he gave his reasons for reserving request that he told the men he would think his decision with regard to the screen and the over was with regard to their having the Sunday newspapers. No speaker ever had an Sunday newspapers in their cells. One rea- audience under more complete control than son for not granting this request at once was had Mr. Osborne this aggregation of crimi that to deliver the bulky New York Sunday nals at Sing Sing. They responded to his editions to fifteen hundred men would neces- every mood, which was continually changing

[ocr errors]


from seriousness to humor, from admonition Quite by chance,” Mr. Osborne says, I to appeal. If he began to speak before became acquainted with a certain prisoner in laughter or applause he might previously have Sing Sing, and, through him, became interevoked had subsided, a warning “S-s-s-h!" ested in other prisoners there and in Auburn. rose at once from every part of the chapel, fol- In due time I began to appreciate the imporlowed by immediate silence and eager attention. tance of the general prison problem and the

There is one outcome of Mr. Osborne's difficulties of its solution." self-inflicted term in Auburn Prison which he The new Warden of Sing Sing finds fault did not anticipate when he began the ordeal ; with the law in that it not only proceeds that is, he has won the respect as well as the upon the theory of revenge, but that it affection of his prison-going friends-as he attempts also to make a nicely graduated terms them in and out of their presence. system by which the exact amount of guilt Through the interchange of prisoners be- in the offender must be weighed and detertween Auburn and Sing Sing all the inmates mined, and the exact and proper amount of of both institutions have come to know that revenge administered—for so much crime, he never shirked his prison tasks; that he did so much punishment. “A very

few not—as one of them expressed it—"sneak ments of serious consideration," he says, up to the warden's table " for even one meal “will show us that in doing this the law underduring his week's incarceration; and that takes an impossibility, and an impossibility during that period he actually lived their life which tends to bring the whole system into with all its hardships and privations. The disfavor if not contempt. It is absolutely imfact that he did two weeks' work with one of possible for any human being—for any number the prison highway gangs last July, laboring of human beings—to weigh and determine the at road-making eight hours a day under the guilt of each criminal by the mere facts of his blazing sun-also something of an ordeal for crime. It is still more impossible to gauge a man of middle age unaccustomed to manual the amount of criminality in this one as comlabor—and sleeping and eating in the convict pared with that one; these are things which camp, has not lost him anything in the esti- transcend the powers of humanity; they rest mation of the men in the State prisons. with God alone." Further, these men have acquitted Mr. “ Who can determine the exact amount of Osborne on the charge they first brought responsibility which each one of us carries ?” against him, that of being a reformer (in asks Mr. Osborne. " Who can estimate the which they, in their blindness see the last inheritance, the early training, the effect of refuge. of an unsuccessful politician), all environment, the influence of others, the reunaware that he has already brought about sults of unforeseen circumstances, in order greater reforms in our prison system than to find the exact amount of real blame deany other one man.

served by the perpetrators of each and every Mr. Osborne's intererest in the prison crime and the relative amount of punishment problem did not begin with his determination it would be fair to give to each ? So, as this to find out by personal experience how pris- is manifestly impossible, the law practically oners live. As long ago as 1906 he sug- ignores the whole psychological problem, and gested this plank for the Democratic State confines itself almost entirely to the crudest platform : “A more enlightened system of possible set of facts in each case. But it so justice which shall include the administration happens that the crude facts are the least of both county jails and State prisons; a important and the psychological facts are system which shall aim at reform rather than the most important in determining the real punishment; which shall encourage those guilt of the criminal." unfortunate fellow-men who have broken the To illustrate this point, Mr. Osborne cites laws to learn to adapt themselves to the the cases of two noted criminals of fictionproper "conditions of organized society.” As Bill Sikes and Don José. “ The very souls a director of the George Junior Republic, of these men, the brutal burglar in Dickens's which was successful in its training of wild • Oliver Twist' and the young soldier in and mischievous boys, he had been first Mérimée's Carmen '-best known through brought into touch with the prison system, Bizet's wonderful music-have been laid bare and he afterward became interested in the for us by the genius of these authors," he says. Elmira Reformatory and paid visits there “ The one, a hardened ruffian, the product when Mr. Brockway was superintendent. of the streets, brought up as a burglar,


If you

has murdered his mistress in cold blood be- from the walls, and where he is almost certain cause he learns that she has revealed some to suffer disease? My cell at Auburn was of the wickedness of him and his gang. The palatial compared with the cells at Sing Sing, other, a rather weak young fellow of good for it was six inches longer and six inches impulses and good training, who has been higher. The cells at Sing Sing are not fit to entrapped and his career ruined by a heart- keep pigs in. There are twelve hundred less woman, has killed her in a moment of cells and fifteen hundred prisoners. The wild passion. What possible affinity is there place is so damp that it sends a chill to your between these two cases ? It is true that bones, the food has been execrable, and the they have both committed murder in the first labor—well, what is to be expected ? Slave degree, but what then? If you should set labor is always inefficient. Any one who Bill Sikes free, he would return at once to thinks that slavery is abolished need only look his old life of theft and murder ; he would at Sing Sing. What is slavery but being continue a criminal, for he knows no better. forced to work under inhuman conditions should liberate José, he would


back and without pay? to his mother's cottage, his mad passion for “ Discard the old idea that there is a crimiCarmen all burned out, and soon he would nal type,” says Mr. Osborne. “ The old be married to his old flame, the good girl theory of Lombroso that certain characterMachaela, and settled down to a useful, law- istics and traits denoted the criminal has abiding farmer's life. To place two such been exploded by actual tests in England. men in one and the same category, to deem Convicts do not differ physically from their them guilty of the same crime, is to shut our fellow-men, and from my personal experience eyes to all the facts of human nature, while they do not differ in other respects either. to mete out to them the same punishment is There are no mental or moral criminals. I to be ridiculous as well as inhuman. Yet find the same characteristics inside and outunder the present theory of the law such side a prison." things are inevitable. Nor are they the The foundation of our prison system, Mr. worst. One man, a habitual criminal, pre- Osborne believes, should rest on these three pared to commit murder if need be, is caught principles : First, the law must decree, not at burglary and, after a few years' imprison- punishment, but temporary exile from soment, returns to prey again upon society, ciety until the offender has proved by his while another, inflamed with unaccustomed conduct that he is fit to return; second, sodrink and passion, or overcome with the ciety must brand no man as a criminal, but effects of some baleful drug, fires a pistol aim solely to reform the mental conditions for the first and only time in his life, and is under which a criminal act has been comsentenced to life imprisonment."

mitted; third, the prison must be an inMr. Osborne will work for the abolishment stitution in which every inmate shall have of Sirg Sing and for the erection of a new the largest practicable amount of individual prison on a farm as near Ossining as possible, freedom, because “it is liberty alone that so that the prisoners may be put to work on fits men for liberty." the buildings. He told the Golden Rule While the new Warden of Sing Sing is a Brotherhood during his first talk with its sympathetic man, he is not a sentimentalist. members that he would take great pleasure He uses the “big, big D” on occasions where in lighting the fuse that would dynamite the unusual emphasis may be necessary. He is cell block at Sing Sing. The new Warden a fine type of physical manhood; and, while believes that convicts should receive sufficient his countenance is of an ascetic cast, the pay for their work in prison to support their mouth is humorous. He smiles frequently families outside, instead of the pitiful one and during his conversations with his wards, but a half cents per day that is now their wage. when the smile freezes on his face he does * Every man in prison feels that the balance not need to frown to let the other man know is on the wrong side,” he says ; “and it is. that he has made a mistake. Mr. Osborne is Let us admit that the State has a right to fortunate in having as his deputy and col exile him; but has it a right to deprive him of league Charles H. Johnson, one of the leadhis earning power or of his right of speech, ing social workers of the State, who has for or to lock him in a stone cell seven feet long, over a decade been superintendent of orphan six and one-half feet high, and three feet asylums, and is thoroughly trained in the de and four inches wide, where dampness reeks tails of institutional management.

[graphic][merged small]

A NEW AUSTRIAN COMPOSER Korngola's “Sinfonietta,” which is his fifth numbered work, was performed on December 10 and 11 in New Yorka beautiful and very significant orchestral composition. The photograph reproduced above (and lent to The Outlook by the courtesy of Mr. Cesar Saerchinger, of New York) was taken a few years ago when his earliest compositions first aroused wonder and admiration and some criticism

in the city where he lives, Vienna. He is now only seventeen years old

« 上一頁繼續 »