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NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
ART. I. — 1. Annual Reports of the Board of Managers of
the Prison Discipline Society. Boston. Nos. 1 – 13.
pp. 1234. 2. Annual Reports of the Inspectors of the Eastern Peni
tentiary of Pennsylvania. Nos. 1—9. 3. Report on Punishments and Prison Discipline, by the
Commissioners appointed to revise the Penal Code of
2d edition. pp. 77. 4. A Defence of the System of Solitary Confinement of
Prisoners, adopter by the State of Pennsylvania ; with
Philadelphia. pp. 104. 5. A Popular Essay on Subjects of Penal Law, and on
Uninterrupted Solitary Confinement at Labor, as con-
precies of Prison gan, Progress, antennsylvania : 0
5. A Populated solitary.crum Confinement Bacon, E
The attention, which, within the last fifty years, has been given to the subject of prison discipline, affords cheering
VOL. XLIX.— No. 104.
evidence of the progress of the human race in civilization. Ever since the investigations of Howard, the condition of prisoners has been kept in view by the statesmen and philanthropists of Great Britain. It has, on various occasions, been made the subject of Parliamentary inquiry, and thus the public mind has been prepared for the necessary changes. The same spirit has, to a very laudable degree, diffused itself over some of her most important colonies. Within a few days, we have received from Calcutta the Report of the Committee of Prison Discipline to the Governor-General of India in Council, dated January 8th, 1838 ; a volume of one hundred and thirty-eight quarto pages, together with an Appendix of valuable statistical and illustrative papers. France is also engaged in the same good work. In the speech from the throne, of the last year, we find the following cheering announcement; “Our penitentiary system has long called for all the attention of my government, and you will have to examine a bill for its improvement.” The same subject has also attracted the attention of the government of Prussia ; but to what extent its labors have been carried, we have not at present the means of ascertaining.
It is gratifying to be enabled to add, that, at the present time, our own country seems to be taking the lead in this department of social benevolence. The volumes and pamphlets, whose titles stand at the head of this article, give evidence, that the American public is fully aware of its importance. Every one of these pamphlets contains valuable information, and most of them have been drawn up after diligent and laborious research. But, above all, the prisons in the larger number of our States have, within a few years, been greatly improved ; in some other States, they are at present undergoing improvement; and even the most backward are inquiring for the best manner in which acknowledged evils may be remedied. Legislators are disposed to give to the subject a serious consideration. The people are willing to tax themselves, to any amount that may be necessary, to render prisons in reality schools of reformation, instead of being, what they formerly were, the abodes of horrible sin, and filthy, squalid, unalleviated misery. The State of Pennsylvania has appropriated to the building of one prison, the Eastern Penitentiary, the princely sum of $772,600. That we are not, to say the least, behind the most civilized nations