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Referring to this table, the Inspectors-General remark :— "The relative proportion of females in the foregoing table, we regret to state, has advanced to 43.4 per cent; that of 1853 having been only 418, an advance, which is the more to be lamented, because, in the majority of our Gaols the department assigned to prisoners of this sex rarely contains one third of the entire accommodation. We have frequently endeavoured to impress upon the local authorities the policy of combating this evil, and we cannot venture to entertain hopes of any amelioration, until fitting provision for carrying out stringent discipline shall be furnished.'
Another error in local management is that glaring one which gives to the prisoner a better description of food than that furnished by the Union Workhouse; and thus young paupers are led to prefer the Gaol to the Poor House as an asylumthe allowance in the Gaols exceeding that of the Poor Houses, by 3 oz. of meal and 2 oz. of bread daily.
With these inducements to select the Gaol as a home, it can hardly surprize one that re-committals should swell the returns. But the evil does not end here. There is little effort made to introduce Separation, Industrial Training, or School Teaching. We first insert the observations of the Inspectors-General :
"Our gaols at present comprise 4,762 single cells, 409 other cells, and 476 rooms furnished with beds; the two latter, as their name implies, being allocated exclusively to associated' imprisonment. Of the single cells, however, there are but 3,323 of the foregoing size, or which contain in the aggregate the same number of cubic feet, the remainder being of lesser capacity. Again, of the 409 double cells, there are 77 capable of subdivision into two or more, whose space would be equivalent to the above measurement. Some additional accommodation, though to an inconsiderable extent, might, doubtless, be further obtained by the conversion of the day
• These figures include the City of Dublin committals-viz :-
rooms into similar cells, inasmuch as under the separate system such rooms would no longer be required; the congregation of prisoners being especially forbidden, so that the total of cells applicable to the establishment of the separate system would, probably, on the most favorable calculation, fall short of 4,000. In stating the above number of single cells to be applicable to the separate system, we must not be understood to convey that the whole of them, or that even the majority, are now prepared, or about to be prepared for effecting this desirable object, the actual amount of separation' being very limited. In our reports upon the several gaols we have adopted a species of classification for ascertaining the gradations of the system, which we divide into 'complete,' 'partial,' and 'approximative.'
By complete' we understand the maintenance of it throughout all the criminal classes in its integrity, according to the prescriptions of the 3rd and 4th Vic., chap 44; by partial,' the establishment of it under similar regulation in one or more sections; the remainder of the gaol being administered on the plan of association,' subject of course to the classification directed by the old Prisons' Act;' and by approximative' we signify that every effort is made to prevent intermixture, and undue communication, such as keeping each prisoner apart not only at night in a single cell, but during meals, and at the periods allocated to punitive and industrial labour, by attaching separate compartments to the tread-wheel, and by constructing stalls in the yards, workshops, laundries, and lavatories.
Complete separation' is in operation, or about to be immediately enforced, in the annexed gaols only, viz. :-those of the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Kilkenny, and Louth.
Partial separation' is carried out in those of Carlow, Down, King's, Roscommon, Sligo, Tyrone, and Westmeath.
'Approximate separation' in those of Clare, Cork, (County and City), Dublin City (at Richmond Bridewell and Grangegorman Penitentiary), Fermanagh, Kildare (at Naas), Limerick County, Londonderry, Tipperary (at Clonmel), Wexford, and Wicklow; so that of the forty-two gaols under our inspection, there are no less than nineteen which are wholly without any modification of this paramount principle of discipline.
Productive employment and instruction in trades are carried on with systematic activity in the gaols of Antrim, Armagh, Clare, Cork (County), Dublin City (at Richmond Bridewell), Kerry, King's, Limerick, Queen's, Tipperary (North Riding, at Nenagh), and Tyrone.
They are also maintained to a lesser extent in the prisons of Carlow, Dublin County, Dublin City (Grangegorman), Cork (City), Down, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Tipperary (South Riding, at Clonmel), Waterford (County), Westmeath, and Wexford.
Lastly, a certain amount of industrial labour, although inconsiderable, is found in the gaols of Cavan, Galway (County), Kildare (at Athy), Londonderry, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Sligo, Waterford (City), and Wicklow; but in the remainder it can
scarcely be said to exist, at least to such a degree as to produce remunerative results, or to provide prisoners with the means of earning their bread upon their discharge."
In addition, the Inspectors-General add that there is
"A want of care and conscientiousness generally exhibited in the appointment of turnkeys; no regard being paid to the selection of persons who have been trained in handicrafts, or who are at least possessed of an aptitude for teaching the rudiments of such as are easily learned, and are of ready applicability-tailoring and shoemaking, for instance-even if no further proficiency should be acquired than is necessary for mending and repairing. In some counties the High Sheriffs have, with laudable liberality and a sense of public duty, placed the nomination of such officers at the disposal of the Boards of Superintendence; but in the majority the exercise of mere favouritism, without any consideration of fitness, prevails to such an extent as to render it essential to the well-being of prisons that this patronage should be transferred by the legislature to the body charged with and responsible for the due administration."
Pitiable, however, as these facts may be, they are exceeded, in the absurdity of mismanagement, by the details of the provisions for school teaching. It appears that the trained teachers are, in many cases, "not selected solely for educational purposes, but are compelled to fulfil also the duties of discipline officers; and thus little difference exists generally as to intellectual fitness between the two classes of instructors—namely, turnkeys, who are moderately qualified to teach, and such schoolmasters as are ready to undertake, at low salaries, the custody and supervision of prisoners."
Any of our readers who know what the duty of a schoolmaster is; any who can understand that for all purposes of reformation the schoolmaster is only second, if not fully equal, to the Chaplain, will know how to value the system of teaching carried out in these gaols: but to add to the record of the other absurdities of this absurd method of management, the Inspectors-General state, "in the report upon one of our county gaols, for the past year, it is noticed with reprobation, that an assistant matron, in the female department, had been advertised for, to perform the anomalous duties of schoolmistress and superintendent of lunatics."
The section of the Report, referring to this subject of education, recommends, we are rejoiced to find, that for secular instruction all the Prison Schools should be placed under the superintendence of the National Board, and that in addition to
the occasional examinations to be held by the National Inspectors, the Chaplains should be bound, from time to time, at unexpected periods, to test the accuracy of the records of advancement: this course is already enforced by bye-laws in some of the best administered prisons.*
In thus condensing the facts, recorded by the Inspectors of the general condition of our gaols, we have placed before the reader some of the proofs on which we rely in support of our assertion, that Ireland requires most urgently the speedy establishment of Reformatory Schools for juvenile offenders. If our gaols are unsuited for adults, they are surely unsuited for juveniles; the turnkey who, in theatrical phrase, "doubles" the part with that of schoolmaster,-and the female superintendent of lunatics who devotes her unemployed hours to school teaching, are little calculated to win and train the "City Arab" to virtue; to watch every sign of awakened nature; to catch and note every phase of disposition amongst the INDIVIDUALIZED young offenders; "to snatch," as Channing said, "every child from perdition, and awaken in him the spirit and energy of a man;" to consider each young prisoner as a child who has been mis-reared, not as a criminal who has out-raged society; such officers cannot achieve these great things, and the legislature which permits their appointment belongs to that class so well described by M. Demetz when he wrote, "I'l est des systèmes qui ne réalisent rien, mais c'est parce qu'ils imaginent l'impossible.'
Amidst all the vexing blunders, there is one Table in the Report to which we can look with satisfaction; it is that which shows the num. bers and sexes committed during the years 1853 and 1854: it is as follows:
We know that the question of juvenile reformation is, as yet, very imperfectly understood in Ireland; and many very worthy people consider that the gaol is a proper place for young offenders, and that the establishment of a Reformatory is but the day dream of a philanthropist. Yet the question is one of too great and deep importance to be thus evaded, and with the facts appearing in the report before us, and considering the urgent appeal for some better system of juvenile management, than that of the common gaol, made by the Inspectors, we are relieved from every anxiety as to the opinions on this question held by these whose duties make them best acquainted with all the defects of our present arrangements, and of the course adopted in the cases of juvenile criminals.
During the year 1854, the numbers, ages, and sexes of those committed and convicted, whose ages did not exceed sixteen years, were as follows: ten years, and under, 677 males, 367 females: sixteen years, and above ten, 7,517 males, 2, 225 females; giving a total, for the year, of 8,194 males, and 2,592 females, or a grand total of 10,786 persons committed, whose ages did not exceed 16 years. These totals, compared with the committals of 1853, show a decrease of 2,552; but the following table of recommittals is most important, as it proves that although the positive number of criminals may decrease, yet, that with a very large number, imprisonment in ordinary gaols has had no effect in checking crime :
This table shows a decrease of recommittals, as compared with 1853, of only 131; and, when considered, in conjunction