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cates of Pentonville : but it would almost seem as if some such feeling influenced them, even where they do not broadly recognise the fact, for various indulgences are openly granted to the inmates as a set-off against the rigours of the model system. The diet is better, richer, than in other prisons; and when the convicts happen to be removed thence—to the hulks, for instance, where the work is really hard much complaining is heard on account of the change of fare. The labour exacted is comparatively light. Leave to work or lounge in the garden is readily granted. All these things suggest something wrong in the system. A discipline requiring to be fenced round, not with rigours, but with so many curious indulgences, can hardly be based on a sound principle.
The reader may be inclined to think that with so many expensive luxuries about him, the convict must consider Pentonville a very desirable place of sojourn. He does not, however. No prisoner, except in rare cases, likes it. Many fear it worse than they do death. We noted some examples of this kind when visiting Millbank. But then officials like it: it gives them very little trouble ; so, without pretending to understand its complicated effects, moral or mental, they almost all swear by it. In fact, the model prison is the place exactly for the model warder. The men who have to bear its isolation think of it far differently. There are persons, well-meaning and honest, who pretend to think separation no great cruelty. Why do they not try it? Once upon a time when Howard was examining the dungeons of the Inquisition at Valladolid, the grand inquisitor told him there were certain dungeons into which he could not take him, as no one was permitted to enter and leave them the same day, upon which our illustrious countryman offered to be immured in one of them for a month, that he might really discover all its horrors. Might not this hint be taken ? “Six Months in the Model Prison, by a County Magistrate," would hardly fail to afford some hints useful and interesting. Surely the ranks of Pentonville philanthropists will yield some one bold enough to make the trial !
As it is, we can only proceed on theory, and the experience which is to be got at through the medium of the prisoners themselves : this experience is continually forcing us to relax the rigorous principles with which we commenced. Every year sees the abandonment of some point or other of the discipline. And although this is the Model Prison, it changes its fashions more frequently than any other prison in the metropolis. Truly a plastic model !
The prisoners sent to undergo the trial-discipline at Pentonville, are selected—very carefully selected ---from all the English gaols. The best in health, and in morals, and in good conduct are taken thither. They undergo a course of training for Pentonville; and are promoted to it. The surgeon of the gaol must first consider the candidate able to bear up against the weight of the separation ; for this purpose, he must be young, from eighteen to thirty-five, in the prime of life, and healthy; he must have no pulmonary disease, no affection of the brain, no tendency to mania. These, or any one of these, would cause him to be promptly rejected. Then he must satisfy the chaplain, governor, and inspector of the prison in which he is confined, as to his mental and moral fitness to undergo and profit by the regimen. After all these preliminary examinations, he may be rejected by the officials at Pentonville itself. The criminals are also chosen out of the class of first offenders ; so that quite an élite of crime is got together at the model prison. Of course, model prisoners for the model prison! How very easy it would be to extend this plan to the whole country!
These model élèves of crime, so rigorously selected from the masses of the prison-populations, are then placed in separate cells, where are books and work and furniture such as we have described. They work ; go to school and chapel; and take walking exercise in the open air for an hour daily. Eighteen months of this torpid existence are supposed to cleanse them of all their former offences, and so prepare them for re-entering society in the colonies -whither they are sent as exiles—as honest and reputable members. It may be so.
While in the prison, they are supposed not to see or know each other. This innocent delusion they themselves try to keep up. But the fact is—they know each other perfectly, and communicate both in voice and writing. Several cases of the sort have been detected. Last year, just one half of the prison punishments were inflicted for attempts to communicate. From private conversation with men who have been confined at Pentonville, and from information derived from officials, we know that such communications are frequent : we doubt whether any one wishing to convey a piece of intelligence to his fellow-prisoner, ever fails of finding an opportunity to do so.
In passing along the corridors, the men see each other's forms, motions, and as much of the face as they wish, in spite of the hood-beak—one of the paltriest expedients for self-deception ever invented. In the school room they hear each other's voices, one by one, and again and again reading aloud. What greater facilities for mutual recognition could be given ? The isolation of the prisoners, even from each other, is all a dream.
We have described the practical discipline of Pentonville, and the theory on which it is founded. Now let us look at its working, or, in another word, its results.
Confining attention to the prison itself-looking neither backward nor forward, to the right hand nor to the left-it seems to work admirably. There is perfect order, perfect silence. The stillness of the grave reigns in every part. To a person accustomed
to see only such gaols as Giltspur-street and Horsemonger-lane -- with all their noise, filth, and disorder—the change is striking in the extreme. The observer feels as if he had come upon a new and different world. In the cell, he sees the prisoner calm, subdued, industriously at work upon his lessons or his labours. In the galleries and in the airinggrounds he also sees him quiet, downcast, obedientvery obedient. All this looks admirable. The system which can tame the most wild and reckless criminals—and men who commit transportable offences may not unreasonably be placed in this categorymust be good : a very easy inference! Indeed, much too easy. The man who looks into it more narrowly will find the secrets of the good behaviour of the prisoner and of the order of the prison. The order comes from the silent ministration of the lock and key; the good conduct from the almost total absence of temptation of any kind to do wrong.
Looking only to the prison, the lock and key and the freedom from temptation are decidedly wise provisions. If Pentonville were a perpetual prison-if its inmates were destined to return no more into the bosom of society—if there were no world outside its walls——the order and conduct so produced would lie open to no serious objection. But it is not so. The inmate of Pentonville is destined to a speedy reunion with society : the English burglar of last year is to become a citizen of Australia next.
His governors in the model prison may forget the world outside, but he does not forget it. The order of the model