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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, January 24, 1895, Image 5

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90060762/1895-01-24/ed-1/seq-5/

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with these people; remember they
are not up to the average man m
many particulars; that they meet
the rebuffs measured out to the
ex-convict by the “Holier-than
thou” of this world; that they get
out of employment and out of
money; that they dislike to return
to the reformatory, and have no
means to do so if they wished; that
then the old chum of former days
puts in an appearance, and the good
resolutions go down and are forgot
ten, and what is saddest of all
they are not likely to be again re
newed. The reformatory did its
work, and did it well; it followed
the man as far as the law or the
means at its command would per
mit, but the result is too often a
failure; all the effort, all the caie,
all the anxiety, all money has been
lost, wasted, uselessly thrown away.
But, you ask, is there no rem
edy? Is there no way of saving
these men now that a desire for
reformation has been kindled in
their minds, and their habits have
been disciplined for better things?
I believe there is a remedy; that
primarily it lies in strengthening
the state agent with sufficient
means and help, so that he can
give to every paroled prisoner suf
ficient oversight, care and en
couragement. to ensure him an
equal chance with others in his
struggle for bread. The agent of
4,
tlie reformatory should be attached
to the institution; he should study
the men during their imprison
ment, and learn their characteris
tics, their strength and their weak
ness. and become sufficiently ac
quainted with their abilities to en
able him to intelligently place them
at work which they are adapted to
do. Reformatories are in advance ot
public opinion in many localities,
and as the latter improves, the
former will become more helpful
to the unfortunates who are com
mitted to their charge. Christian
men and women all over the state
must take up this question, and
learn what their duties are toward
the paroled prisoner, aqd there
must be earnest people in e\ eiy
community upon whom the re
formatory* can depend for assist
ance and co-operation, and v. ho
are willing to lend a helping hand
; and a Godspeed to the prisoner
• who will try to reform.
It is not enough that the prodigal
repent and retrace h is steps; societ y
must be willing to receive him and
respond to every honest effort he
puts forth; the paroled man needs
sympathy—not that which is a
cheap gift, but that which comes
from one who is able to enter within
the shadow in which the prisoner
stands, wiio can feel as lie feels,
and see the world from his point
of view.

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