Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
yji wi'i i" wppujPlMWVl
the young man to reform him. But
we say we- jail the hardened criminal
to punish" him. Beautiful paradox,
"I went once to the million-dollar
'reformatory' at Pontiac, where we
send boys under twenty-one who
have transgressed the bounds set by
society. I soon understood why they
come out of there determined to
wreak vepgeance on society for lock
big them up.
"Hardened, brutal-looking guards,
ready to kill at the first free mpve
of an imprisoned boy, hurried them
at their work. At night they were
locked up in dark, evil-smelling cells.
That is the sort of atmosphere into
which we send our boys for 'reforma
tion. "Don't yqu see you can't reform
anyone that way? Can you imagine
Cjarist approving this sort of reform?
"Reformation is a thing of the
heart. Our way only turns these
boys out as clever crooks, ready and
anxious to prey on an unjust society.
And you can't blame; you dont dare.
"The crime-teaching value of our
jails is not the only bad thing about
them. Jails breed disease and pov
erty. "A healthy, moral man can't live
in jail without growing like his sur
roundings. His surroundings are dis
eased, sub-normal; so he becomes
sub-normal, diseased, in mind and
"We are spending millions in
America to fight tuberculosis.
"Our jails are the greatest pro
moters of tuberculosis. One out of
every two men who go to jail become
"And it isn't the man in jail alone.
Sixty per cent of the men working on
stockings to be sent out to the public
from the South Carolina penitentiary
were, found to be suffering from
tuberculosis. It is the same every
where. "The man who said we. have
Stopped sending murderers to the
jjallows only to send them, to tuber
cular graves told the tuth,
"And did you ever stop to think
of what is likely to happen to the
family of a convict?
"His family must starve while he
is in jail, and when he gets out he is
not fitted for work.
"Have you ever seen them coming
oufof jail; their spirits crushed; their
heads hanging; terror In their eyes
and fear in their breasts?
"They go to their old homes, and
they find them broken up. They wan
der about trying to pick up the
threads of their old lives, and they
are robbed and beaten down on every
"No employer will take them un
less it be some man who wants his
labor cheap and easily driven.
"And it's all our fault, the fault of
us who attend our churc regularly,
and say we send men to jail tofbe
reformed, and after they are freed
refuse to believe they are reformed
and so will not give them a chance.
"You break the man, and you rob
his women and children of his sup
port; you steal the man's life and
you starve his family. Do you think
that's Christianity? Do you think
the Lord wants you to rob and steal
merely to teach other men NOT to
rob and steal?
"A year ago the governor of
"Arkansas pardoned 360 convicts. He
said he did it as a protest against
cruelty, and he called the state
prisons 'revengeful hells.'
"No wonder he did, for he person
ally had inspected them and found
convicts whose flesh was falling from
their bones being driven like beasts;
found men dying of tuberculosis;
found men dying of every disease
"And one of the men he pardoned
was serving a thirty-six-year sen.
tence not for murder but for forg
ing an order for nine quarts q
"Look at what Governor Sulzer'a
commission found in its investigation
of Sing Sing. It found condition