Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

dreds of pounds have been expended on the Industrial Schools of the South, which are now completely successful, and completely self--supporting. A little encouragement from those who have means and opportunity to advance a cause of real importance to all who have the welfare of the poor at heart, and especially dear to the Catholics of this city, would soon make St. Joseph's Industrial School, not only complete in its working order, but a model, which, with wonderful advantage, might be copied in every district and parish of Dublin.

May help come in timely and abundant measure! Meanwhile, the managers with their little band of earnest fellow workers must strive untiringly, trusting in God's blessing. Their determination to struggle to the last in the furtherance of what they deem the true source of the people's regeneration-their hope to meet cordial cooperation from those to whom the cause is dear-their dream to change into an Industrial Population the rising generation of Bally. bough Bridge, and to make a Mettray of Mud Island.

Judged by the opinions of the Public Press, and by the testimony of Home and Foreign Authorities.

Just four years and a half ago, we commenced to write, in THE IRISH QUARTERLY REVIEW, on the subjects of Prison Discipline, on Reformatory Schools, on Industrial Training, and on National Education, a series of papers, which many people thought nonsense, and a great number thought stupid, and of which a vast number never read one single line, and we subsequently disgusted the greater part of our readers by printing regularly, a Quarterly Record of the Progress of Reformatory Schools and of Prison Discipline. Strange as it may appear, these once despised portions of THE IRISH QUARTERLY, are the very parts now most approved by the thinking section of our readers, who feel an interest in social subjects.

From the first hour in which we had the great pleasure of becoming acquainted with the Directors of Convict Prisons in Ireland, we felt, as did all who came in contact with them, that they were men determined to do their duty, fully, thoroughly, and entirely. In 1855 we wrote:—

When, in the year 1854, the Directors of Convict Prisons in Ireland inspected the establishments placed under their direction, they found, as their first Report declares, 3,427 prisoners confined, although there was accommodation for only 3,210.

With prisons thus situated, and without hope of being enabled to draft away the Convicts to a Penal Settlement, the Directors first endeavoured to enlarge the accommodation, and thus, and by classification, resolved to attempt reformation. By an official communication, from the Superintendent's Office in Western Australia, they found that, owing to the want of system in our Irish Prisons, the 600 convicts sent out in the ships "Robert Small" and "Phoebe Dunbar," seemed incapable of comprehending the nature of moral agencies; they knew nothing of the necessity of prudence and selfreliance, as means to extricate themselves from the consequences of their former errors; and the Superintendent declared coercion appears to be the only force they are capable of appreciating." In a word, they were unfit for the world, by reason of their crimes; they were unfit for the Penal Colony by reason of prison mismanagement at home. Under these circumstances, and knowing that from want of good arrangement, the chief mischief springs, and knowing too, that, by sending such Convicts from our Gaols to our Colonies, they but retarded the advancement of our dependencies, the Directors set vigorously about their work of reform. And we shall


permit them to relate, in their own words, some particulars of the course adopted :

"The same feeling which prevents our inflicting on a colony convicts who have not been subjected to a proper course of prison discipline, also precludes our bringing forward prisoners for discharge in this country on Tickets of License as in England. We consider such Tickets of License to be a sort of guarantee to the community. that in consequence of a prisoner having been subjected to a proper course of prison discipline and reformatory treatment, he is considered a fit subject to be received and employed by those outside the prison.

Such reformatory course not having hitherto been pursued in this country, we have not felt ourselves justified in recommending the issue of Tickets of License.

On commencing our duties we found the most pressing evil to be remedied was, the indiscriminate association of the young with those more advanced in years and crime; instead, therefore, of awaiting the completion of the Juvenile Penal Reformatory Pri son, (a period, probably, of eighteen months or two years,) we immediately selected all the male convicts under seventeen years of age, and placed them at Mountjoy and Philipstown Prisons. In the former there are separate sleeping cells, and convenient accommodation for working in association during the day. We have every reason to be fully satisfied with the results as evinced by the conduct and industry of the prisoners located here. In the latter there were facilities for separating the juveniles from the adults; but similar advantages to those possessed by Mountjoy were not here presented, and the effects have not been so favorable; however, we hope that great improvement will result from arrangements which we are now enabled to make in consequence of the barrack (situated within the walls of the prison), having been recently transferred to the convict department, and by which the prisoners will be placed under more effective supervision.

Taking into consideration the insufficient state of the educational departments of the Convict Depots, and the importance which should be attached to them in this country, where the causes of crime are principally ignorance and destitution, we have felt it our duty to recommend that all the Government Prison Schools should be placed under the inspection of the National Board of Education. We are much indebted to the Right Hon. Alexander Macdonnell, the Resident Commissioner, and P. J. Keenan, Esq., for having been the means of securing the services of two gentlemen, as Head Schoolmasters, for Mountjoy and Philipstown Prisons. For the former we have selected Mr. M'Gauran, late master of the Andrean Free Day School, in Cumberland-street, who has great experience in training as well as teaching, amongst a class of persons from which the criminals may be expected to emanate.*

See two admirable reports, by this gentleman, on the Andrean School, and printed in THE IRISH QUARTERLY REVIEW, Vol. IV., No. 14, p. 1237. In fact, Mr. M'Gauran is a man of first-rate

Our intention is to train our different masters from time to time, under these gentlemen, and thus ensure a uniformity of system, throughout the Government Prison Schools. We trust, therefore, the experience they have had will exercise a beneficial influence through the different convict establishments.

In order further to increase the influence which we trust these teachers will exercise over the convicts under their care, we thought fit to recommend the Government to allow them to visit the different Penal and Reformatory Establishments in England, and practically acquaint themselves with the systems adopted therein, tirus giving them an opportunity of forming opinions on a broad basis, which would render them more efficient for the reformation and training of the prisoners. Permission to carry out this recommendation was readily accorded by Lord St. Germans, and we have reason to believe the result will be most advantageous to the service.

We have found it necessary to call for special reports on the cha racter and capabilities of the different officers of the prisons, with a view to remove those who are not qualified for so important a posi tion: and regret to add that we have been compelled to recommend the dismissal of several warders for drunkenness, a crime that cannot be tolerated for an instant in a prison, where a good moral example should operate as one of the principal elements of reformation."

Having thus arranged the prisons under their management, the Directors were in a condition to observe, closely and acurately, the result of their labors; and having carefully watched the whole working of the system adopted, and after consultation with his colleagues, Captain Crofton, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, resolved to test the following plan of the gradual restoration to liberty of the Ticket-of-Leave men.

Finding the Smithfield Prison was no longer needed as a Prison, he stated to all employed within its walls, that he was about to use it in a peculiar manner, and that turnkeys, so called, would be no longer needed. That he was about to collect, from all the Convict establishments in Ireland, the men of the very best characters as prisoners, and who were entitled, at an early day, to Tickets-of-Leave.

That these men were to receive the suit of clothes given to Ticketof-Leave-men on quitting prison, that he would bring these men to Smithfield, that he would not make them free men, nor yet would he by any means, let them consider themselves prisoners. That each of these men, ignorant of a trade, should be taught one. That no man should leave the Establishment until, if possible, some means of honest livelihood had been obtained for him. That every man should perform his part in the Establishment, some cooking, some

ability for his duty, almost equal to Mr. Driver, of the Belvedere Refuge. This, it may be said, is high praise, so it is, but not higher than is deserved. We must also add that he is a writer on subjects connected with Prison Discipline, and is not alone well informed, but eloquent and concise in style; without any slang-"the right man is in the right place."

sweeping, all useful. That each of the turnkeys should know some trade, and that he should act as foreman of his craft, and sit and work with his pupils-in fact, that all within the Establishment should be usefully employed.

How the system thus founded was carried out; how, with ccaseless watching it has been tested; how with wonderful certainty every phase of character has been studied; how completely and fully it has succeeded, all the thinking men of these Kingdoms, and many of Foreign States know, and know it truly, through the exertions of Mr. Recorder Hill, of the Rev. Örby Shipley, and of Captain Crofton.*

We now propose to show, through the opinions expressed by the Public Press, on the books named in the foot-note, the complete hold which the subject of Convict Management has secured on the minds of all who have read these works. If the system thus approved has been so successful in Ireland, why should it not be adopted in England-why should it not succeed, if the same zeal, self devotion, and energy be bestowed upon it as in Ireland? The necessity for the adoption of some measure is now more pressing than ever, since, by our abuse of the opening afforded by transportation in ridding ourselves of our Convicts, we have closed every settlement against our prisoners.

As it is unnecessary to enter into the consideration of the question of Transportation, we shall place before our readers the opinions held on the subject of Convict Management at home. We take first the Dublin Daily Express of Tuesday, October 20th, 1857.

*See "The Purgatory of Prisoners; or an Intermediate Stage Between the Prison and the Public; being some account of the Practical Working of the New System of Penal Reformation Introduced by the Board of Directors of Convict Prisons in Ireland." By the Rev. Orby Shipley, M.A., Deacon in the Diocese of Oxford London: Masters. Oxford: J. H. and J. Parker, 1857.

"Memoranda Relative to the Intermediate Convict Prisons in Ireland from their Establishment in January, 1856, to September, 30th, 1857." Dublin: Thom and Sons, for Her Majesty's Stationery office, 1857.

"Suggestions for the Repression of Crime contained in Charg Delivered to Grand Juries of Birmingham; Supported by Addi tional Facts and Arguments. Together with Articles from Review and Newspapers, Controverting or Advocating the Conclusions o the Author.' By Matthew Davenport Hill. London: J. W.

Parker, 1857.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »