Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

968 Dispensaries have now to be supplied with properlyqualified attendants: the withdrawal of these Hospital grants would, in the opinion of your Committee, occasion the ruin of this great educational system; and at a time when Parliament has shown so munificent a disposition towards the diffusion of knowledge, and the encouragement of science and art, your Committee hope that it will not hesitate to provide an adequate sum for the developement of that science which is most beneficial to mankind."


This paper forms the first of a series to be devoted to the recording of such facts, to the analyzation of such statistics, to the reproducing, for general readers, such lectures, speeches judicial charges, or School or Prison Reports as may seem to us so important as to be advantageous to the Reformatory School Movement, or to the cause of the friends of improved Prison Discipline.

We have been induced to adopt this plan of a Quarterly Record from a knowledge of the fact, that many of the most important Reformatory School and Prison Reports are unknown to the majority of even those who take a lively and christian interest in the cause. For example; in this Quarter's Record we introduce a Report from the Kingswood School; and an account of the noble philanthropy of Lady Noel Byron we are enabled to report the opinions of the Rev. Mr. Field on the Separate System, showing that he is more fully persuaded, now, of its efficacy, than when, seven years ago, he published his admirable work on Prison Discipline, and we analyze the various publications of the quarter bearing on these questions. And turning to our own country, we can proudly state that though last in the active working of the Reformatory School movement, yet now we can record, from the evidence of Mr. Commissioner Senior-from the evidence and reports of Mr. Corry Connellan; from the recent charge. of Mr. Thomas O'Hagan to the grand jury of his county; from the expressed and able adherence of The Daily Express, of the Northern Whig, of the Tipperary Free Press, and of the Midland Counties Gazette, that Ireland shall not be long without the protection afforded to England and Scotland by the passing of the Youthful Offenders' Act.

In the Thirty First Report of the Inspectors General of Prisons on the General State of the Prisons of Irelnd, 1852, the attention of the Legislature was powerfully and emphatically claimed for the juvenile criminal population of the country. The condition of the various gaols throughout the country was analyzed; their woful inappropriateness for all the requirements of separation, or even division, was pointed out. The

associated system which prevails in but too many gaols, the total want of all selection, the terrible negligence which allows the bold and hardened male criminal, or the fallen woman whom sin and the world's scorn have seared and degraded to brutishness in mind, to associate with the young and comparatively guiltless prisoners, were all clearly and vividly proved. The want of proper educational arrangements, and the imperfect industrial system discoverable in many prisons were reported; and having placed these facts before the country, the Inspectors thus conclude:

"Under these circumstances of wide spread evil and imperfect means of correction, it is a matter of thankfulness rather than wonder, that the moral status of our youth is not worse, and that not more than a twelfth (on an average) of the annual committals is supplied by juveniles at, and under the age of sixteen years. This number, however, is sufficiently formidable to call for immediate measures of prevention and repression, representing as it does, the springs of crime, which soon expand into a wider and stronger stream of pollution. It has passed into a proverb that one thief makes three,' i.e., that the contaminating example, or the seductive persuasion of one offender involves two others in similar guilt, and, if we examine the next classification in age to that above stated, namely the period between 16 and 21 years, we shall find this calculation borne out approximatively; so rapid and certain is the progress of corruption.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The above average, namely, a twelfth of the committals, is to be understood as applying to the totals of the kingdom collectively, but in the metropolis, to which the idle population of all the provinces is naturally attracted by the greater means of livelihood, both honest and dishonest, a fifth is furnished by youthful delinquents; and, if we take the category of vagrancy-which is the fertile source of iniquity-we find that even a larger proportion is derived from juveniles under 21 years.

[ocr errors]

In 1852, the committals for vagrancy to Richmond Bridewell (the city gaol assigned to male prisoners) amounted to 3,481, divisible thus as to their localities and their ages.

From the county and city of Dublin,
From different parts of Ireland,



[blocks in formation]

the majority being utterly destitute, and living unprotected in night cellars, and in other haunts of depravity.

The annexed analysis of the condition of juveniles committed to the above prison during the month of January in this year, is given here as presenting a melancholy substantiation of the necessity for vigorous interposition.

Of 338 prisoners committed in the month of January, 1853, 109 are of the age of 17 to 20, and 67 of 16 years and under. Of this latter number 34 are from the city and county of Dublin, and 33 from other parts of Ireland-8 have father only, 16 mother only, and 20 are orphans, 8 have been twice in prison; 6, 3 times; 5, 4 times; 5, 5 times; and 14, 6 times and upwards.

'Of 61 boys in the school class, of 16 years and under, committed for criminal offences, 32 were born in the city or county of Dublin, and 29 in the provinces.-Munster, 10; Leinster, 12; Ulster, 5; and Connaught, 2.-24 have parents: 2, father only, 14, mother only, and 21 are orphans, of whom 16 are destitute-12 are in prison for the first offence, 8 for the second, 7 for the third, 4 for the fourth, 4 for the fifth, and 26 for the sixth and upwards. Included in the number of boys from the provinces, 7 were originally committed for begging, and now are confined for petty thefts.

In another class formed of juvenile vagrants, committed for periods of 7 and 14 days, there are 38 boys not above 16 years of age; of these, 5 only are from the city or county of Dublin, and 33 are from the provinces-being from Ulster, 5; Connaught, 5; Leinster, 9; and Munster, 14. Such as have both parents, 1; father only, 4; mother only, 10; and orphans, 23. 9 can read, 6 read and write, and 23 are illiterate. 3 are confined for the first time, 4 for the second, 7 for the third, 2 for the fourth, 2 for the fifth, and 20 for the sixth and upwards.'

We further subjoin some interesting tables which throw light upon the circumstances of youthful delinquents, upon the nature and amount of their offences, and of the legal process affecting them, not only in Dublin but in the whole of Ireland,

No. 10.-Table showing the Ages of Juvenile Persons Discharged, Summarily Convicted, and Committed for Trial, for Four Years ended 1852, as reported by the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

No. II.—Table showing the Ages and Number of Persons Committed.

[blocks in formation]

Policy therefore, and economy obviously dictate, if we set aside higher considerations, and the observance of the duties which attach to a state, that the enormous expense annually incurred in dealing with crime, which is thus permitted to reach full maturity, should be abated, and that the youthful energy, which is now wastefully and dangerously employed in the destruction of property, should be directed to self-support, and in the production of national wealth.”

With these opinions all who know the position of our criminal juveniles must agree. Indeed no country needs the extension of the Juvenile Offenders Act more than Ireland. If this statement be doubted, the fullest proof of its truth is found in the following tables from the Annual Report of the Inspector of Government Prisons in Ireland for the Year ending 31st December, 1852. We learn that in six of the Convict Prisons of Ireland the total number of prisoners, of ages not exceeding 20 years, was about 1,910, maintained at a cost to the country of £20,000 : 6 : 3. That the facts, in all their bearings, may be fully and plainly before the reader,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »