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chapel—yet man knows not man. There is contiguity, but no neighbourhood; and the very names of the prisoners are lost in the mechanism which assigns numbers in their stead.
It requires the aid of sense to confirm the testimony of others, that the prison is really tenanted; the impulse is irresistible to ascertain the fact. A small aperture is so contrived in the door of each cell as to permit the visitor to see its inmate without himself being seen; and he can now traverse a corridor and remark the intensity of still life. All are profoundly engaged -one plying his trade, another busy with his slate, a third fixed and motionless over his Bible. The shoe-maker is squatting cross-legged and stooping over his last; the tailor raised on his table with his implements and materials about him ; the weaver hardly distinguishable amid the framework of his active machinery; the basket-maker in his corner, distant an arm's length from the heap of osiers from which ever and anon he is selecting that to which he is about to give a form and shape. It is not here, as in the solitary occupations of the world, that the artizan can beguile his labour with snatches of some favourite melody; nothing must break the silence of the cell. Its inmate soon learns to concentrate all his energies on his work, which becomes to him a solace—a necessity. Unconscious that any eye is upon him, he has no part to act, no sympathy to dream of exciting; and as he now appears, so he vill be found at any interval of days, weeks, or months.
If the visitor be still disposed to linger and observe, he will presently see a long file of prisoners emerging from their cells, in such a pre-arranged order that each man is fifteen paces apart from his fellow, and so masked as to render mutual recognition impossible. Thus accoutred and marshalled, and shod so as to prevent sound, one half of the prisoners (250) proceed rapidly to the chapel, the interior of which is so arranged as to preclude even the tallest man from overlooking the one in the next slip. The pulpit is placed high, so as to command a perfect view of every convict, but intercommunion is further prevented by warders perched up on elevations, each with a full inspection of his own section of prisoners. at last is the silence broken-by the congregated sound of the simple melodies of our hymns; and there are few places where they strike so impressively on the heart as when they are poured forth amid the suggestive influences of the prison.* The service done, a dial-plate turns round presenting certain letters and numbers, which correspond to the sectional numbers and letters
* There is one daily service at past 8 A.M. The other 250 attend a second service at ) past 4 P.m.
of the prisoners; as these appear, the peak of each cap is again let down so as to mask the features, and the chapel is as silently and quickly emptied as it had before been filled. At present the distribution of the week-day gives
min, To school instruction
15 To chapel
30 To exercise in open air
0 To reading, writing, arithmetic, in cells. 47 To cleaning
37 To rest
0 To meals
0 To trade instruction .
51 The whole prison is thoroughly warmed and ventilated. There is an abundant supply of water for all purposes of cleanliness and comfort in every cell; and gas is let on during the requisite hours, according to the season.
Every prisoner has at least one hour's exercise daily in the airing grounds. The bedding is removed by each to his exercising yard to be aired-in summer once every week, and in winter as often as weather permits. The prisoners have warm baths every fortnight, and are supplied with clean sheets once in every six weeks, and at proper periods with soap, towels, combs, flannels, whiting, brickdust, and all other articles necessary for keeping their cells in high order, and for personal cleanliness.
‘On Sundays the warders assemble at half-past seven, instead of six A.M. The wards and cells are dusted and swept immediately after unlocking. The prisoners are exercised, but no work is performed. There are three services—morning, afternoon, and evening; each occupying an hour and a half. This arrangement admits of every prisoner attending Divine service twice on every alternate Sunday.'
What are the effects of such a system of discipline ? Quite innocuous, say some; madness or premature disease, say others. Both opinions are partial. It is hardly to be expected that any individual can fail to suffer, when he is at once imprisoned in body and constrained in mind. On the other hand, those who have designated prisons on the Separate System as manufactories for madness,' have probably confounded the solitary with the separate system. In France, Esquirol and other high authorities on mental diseases have asserted that the latter system has no tendency to deteriorate mind; and, as far as a five years' experience of the working of discipline at Pentonville has gone, close observers all coincide with them. A very strong impression on the nervous system is le, and it requires careful watching to regulate it, but we believe that with such watchfulness it not only is controllable, but essential to that change of mind
which reforms character. There can be no doubt at least of this fact, that both mental and bodily disease are much less among the Pentonville prisoners than they would have been among the same men, if permitted to pursue their career unchecked. There is a false standard of comparison when you would measure the mortality of vice with that of virtue of the dissipated with the sober. The ratio should be struck between the criminal population free and the criminal population fettered; and who that has turned a page of any writer on the classes dangereuses can hesitate in believing that great saving of life and protection from disease have been effected? Be certain that of all poisons there is none so sure, so penetrating, as a rampant vice, which will first enslave, madden, and then kill, nay, even transmit its fatal tendencies to the offspring.
However, let us examine the facts. If it be true that this Separate System is maddening, it ought to tell most decidedly on such prisoners as are constitutionally predisposed to mental disease. Now on this point we can adduce distinct proof that some two or three score of persons, out of 1000 subjected to the discipline of Pentonville, have actually benefited by it in spite of indubitable hereditary taint or absolute individual predisposition. Take the following table from the Chaplain's Evidence in the App. to Fifth Report :
OBSERVATIONS made upon certain Prisoners in whom injurious effects might have
been feared from Separate Confinement.
J.C. Mother touched with
Improved in reading and improved genesymptoms of insanity.
rally. R. L. Grandmother insane Read imperfect. Read well; write imperfect
ly; 4 rules of arithmetic. J. H. Sister rather weak in Only knew the Read and write well; Rule Very cheerful; mind. alphabet. of Three.
improved in general know
ledge. H. N. He and most of his family of the lowest Read very imperfectly; write Sent away incorevinced symptoms of
a little; learned a little rigible. insanity.
arithmetic. J. C. Two sisters insane . . . Of the lowest in Read well; write tolerably; Somewhat imtellect: did not 4 rules.
proved in geneknow A, B, C.
ral. D. M. His mother subject to
Read and write well; Rule Mentally, not monervous fits.
rally,improved. J. D. One of his family (his
Read and write well ; 4 rules Improved in remother, as I have every
ligious know. reason to believe), la
ledge; bouring with insanity.
cheerful. of a simple turn of mind.
Improved considerably In Scriptural Uncle in an asylum.
knowledge also W.J., Skull fractured three
Improved in reading and Improved in Scripalias
tural knowledge. years ago.
writing; Rule of Three. W.C, B.
W.G. Sister considered rather or lowest intel Read and write imperfectly ;
lect: did not 4 rules.
Much improved absent after failure in rits.
in spirits; found business, and showed
comfort in relisymptoms of insanity.
gion J. N. Considered rather as an Very low degree Read and write well ; Rule Improved in geidiot. of intellect, of Three.
ledge. W.N. Almost irresponsible Of very weak in Well educated previously.
Rather improved tellect,
mentally. A. A. Weakness of
Low in spitits Read and write well; Rule Mentally immade sport of by fellow and in intellect, of Three.
proved. servants. F.W.K., Uncle died in an asylum: Low in spirits ; Very well educated
Morally improve alias another committed sui over - active
ed, A. K.
cide. Father and sisters mind; disliked
his trade. J.M. F. Motlier's brother is re Of a low degree Read and write well; Rule Improved in ge. ported to be imbecile; of intellect.
neral; was reharmless if let alone,
commended to be master tailor
on board ship. R. B., Not considered quite cor- Peculiar turn of
Greatly improve alias rect in his mind. Aunt mind.
ed, especially E. E. S., mad for a long time.
in Scriptural a Jere.
knowledge. D. M. Considered a simpleton Low intellect. Read well; wtite imperfect. | Improved gene
ly; 4 rules.
rally. J. M. Uncle killed himself in Low in spirits
Read well; write tolerably;
Much improved. • alias a fit of insanity.
and intellect. Rule of Three. J. T. C. J. C. Eldest brother exhibited Good intellect
Well educated .....
Improved genesymptoms of insanity.
rally. T. N. Whole family eccentric; Weak intellect Read and write well ; Rule Improved geneand very weak in intel.
rally. lect. R.R. Uncle's intellect affected Low intellect ; Read well; write imperfectly: Improved geneat times.
only knew the
rally. alphabet. J. T. Father died a lunatic Ordinary intel Reads and writes well; Rule Very much im
provedl in general. J.S. I have thought, and more, More than ordi- Read tolerably; wrote imper-On the whole I am sure, that at times narily reserved fectly; improvement very
rather improv he was not altogether and very dull. little.
ed, right in his head. H.C. The prisoner's conduct, A good intel Conld read and write well; Improved very alias more especially his wan lect ; apparent considerably advanced in much, Found L. dering propensities, are ly much com the higher rules of arithme peace and com
irreconcilable with per punction lor tic. Improvement tolerably fort in the Gos-
pel. G. R. He was not quite sound
Could read and write 'very Improved in spiin mind, and sometimes spirited man. well; considerably advanced rits. Found not conscious of what
in the higher rules of arith comfort in rehe was about. His own
metic; intelligent. Made ligion also, I sister destroyed herself.
think. W. H. His mother has evinced Nothing at all Read well, wrote tolerably; Improved very
symptoms of insanity peculiar. higher rules of arithmetic. much, especial. within the last three
Improvement tolerable. ly in the me years.
Gave himself learning hymns,
chapters, &c. 1. L. His father was subject to Very low spirited Could read and write well; Very down fits.
hearted; would tolerable.
have sunk here, I think, but for some religious hope.
A very low.
J. B. One member of the Ordinary .
Rend well, wrote tolerably; Improved. family has exhibited
knew the common rules of symptoms of insanity.
arithmetic. Very much im
proved. H. B. I have known the priso- Ordinary •
Read well, wrote tolerably; Very cheerful. per to have fits when
common rules of arithmeúc. over-fatigued.
Improvement tolerable. J. K. He received an injury in A very active Could read and write well; Cultivated his
his head, from which mind, but most higher ruies of arithmetic. mind assiduoustime he became flightv perverse, Improvement tolerable.
ly, but was very and unsteady. His fa
perverse to the ther was in some measure imbecile in both
body and mind. W.S, Has found him a little Ordinary .. Could read well, write toler- Rather improved. aljas insane at times ; he was
ably; knew the first 4 rules R. kicked by a horse in the
in arithmetic. Improvehead,
ment little. W.F. I knew him to labour Good, but his Read and write well; ad- | Very cheerful ; under a severe nervous constitution ap vanced in higher rules of
much improve fever for several months, parently weak. arithmetic. Tolerably im. ed, I think, in which I always observed ened by intem proved.
every way. afterwards to cause a perance.
Gave great atlowness of spirits. It
tention to rewas about 8 years since.
ligion. J. A, Has not his senses per.
Half-witted .. Could read well. Made Rather worse. alias fect.
scarcely any improvement. E. W. W.D., I fully believe him to be Clever; good, Was well educated on admis. Not improved. alias at times insane. His but perverted sion. Was excused from J. B. maternal grandfather and abused. school; improved himself died insane.
tolerably by reading and
private study. W.B. Very soft in many things Low intellect . Could scarcely read any. Very Rather worse.
little improved. His grandmother is in a Ordinary, but Read well, write tolerably ; Improved rather lunatic asylum.
first 4 rules of arithmetic. in spirits.
Improved a little. J. B.
His mother, grandmother Very peculiarand Read scarcely any. Improve Worse when reand great aunt, were all low spirited.
ment very little.
moved, but got subject to insanity.
better at Wool
wich. D. B. Showed decided symp
A very good in Read and write well ; higher Improved, I toms of insanity. On tellect, but re rules of arithmetic. Con think, generalone occasion he sought served and very siderably improved.
ly. for an instrument to peculiar,
take his life. H. G.,
Has been subject to fits Ordinary; com Read and write well; higher Was, on the alias at different periods: I municative, but rules of arithmetic. A fair whole, better. V. have always found him very dull in his degree of improvement. Gave great atvery dull in intellect. manner.
tention to religious know
ledge. S. H. Of very curious temper, Nothing peculiar Read well, write tolerably; Rather improvand sometimes rather
first 4 rules of arithmetic. ed. childish.
Improved a little. C.F.
Light and incoherent in Ordinary intel. Read well, write tolerably; Always cheerful, his habits. Eldest bro lect, but looks higher rules of arithmetic. and rather imther perfectly deranged, & talks strange- Improvement tolerable. proved in those and was kept bound, ly.
things in which hands and feet.
he was singular.