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the model of Pentonville, but in a rougher and less expensive style of architecture. It was only reopened about twelve months ago. It will accommodate three hundred prisoners, and cost about 28,0001. that is, somewhat above ninety-three pounds for each prisoner! This prison was first erected in 1775, just at the time that public attention was called to the subject of prison-science in a serious and decided manner by Howard, and in consequence was built on a moderately good plan for that period—and for a long while it enjoyed a fair reputation. The great philanthropist speaks of it with uniform, though not strong, approbation. It was then a place of confinement for felons and criminals generally; and, at a subsequent period, it was also used for the imprisonment of debtors. The chief faults at that time were, the absence of bedding-a universal fault ;—(Howard tells us in a note, that in no prison in London, except the Bridewell, were there either bedding or straw provided for the prisoners to lie on at night ;)—and the want of glass in the windows,—which, in fact, consisted merely of a number of square holes in the wall, strongly grated with bars of iron. The smallness of the governor's salary had to be made up from 501. paid to him by the country, to at least 3001. out of the fees accruing from the miserable wretches who were incarcerated in its cells. This building was taken down, and the prison was re-erected in 1818. The taking down of this comparatively new gaol in 1844, is said to have been a job. At all events, it was taken down once more in that year, and the present structure erected.
The prison is now only used as a house of detention, like Newgate, for prisoners awaiting trial at the assizes ; and for this purpose its internal arrangements are not ill adapted. The building is in the form of a cross, of which the intersecting point is open, and commands a view of the entire prison. Three of the branches are occupied by a triple range of cells; the fourth is appropriated ---- the ground floor to the officers of the prison, and a number of rooms provided with tables and writing materials for the accommodation of prisoners' solicitors—the upper part by the chapel, very neatly and appropriately arranged.
There are cells for 300; but the usual number of persons confined is about 150. Generally speaking, the offenders sent here are only charged with comparatively petty crimes; the more serious charges being committed to Newgate for greater security. Very few of the faults noticed in Newgate are visible here. There is no crowding of prisoners; and communication between them is next to impossible. The silence of the grave reigns in every part. By no chance can one culprit ever see another. There is no mustering, except in chapel ; and even there, although near together, it is almost impossible for the prisoners to see each other, or to communicate without instant detection. Pentonville is not near so rigidly separatist as the House of Detention. All this caution is eminently necessary, and is said to be attended with the very best results. There are, however, peculiar temperaments, to which the pain of isolation is quite overwhelming. Some of these cases turn out very unfortunately. The cases of real or simulated suicide are becoming numerous, The following police report refers to one of the kind :
“ MIDDLESEX SESSIONS.
(Before Mr. Serjeant Adams.) "J. Dale, nineteen, was indicted for attempting to destroy himself, by cutting his throat. The prisoner, it appeared, had been confined in the House of Detention, Clerkenwell, awaiting trial on a charge of pocket picking. On the 15th instant, about halfpast one o'clock, M‘Callum, one of the warders on duty, went to his cell, and found him lying on his face; blood was flowing from two cuts in his throat, inflicted with a clasp knife, which lay by his side. The officer raised him up, and found that not more than a glassful of blood had issued from the wounds, which were not of a very serious nature. The prisoner said, that he should have done it effectually had the knife been sharp enough ; he wanted to take away his life, and had before that tried to hang himself. The warder sent for the governor and the surgeon,—and the wounds were dressed. soner, in his defence, said he had not done it with the view of committing suicide, but for the purpose of inducing the authorities to place some one in the cell with him. The learned judge said, that the jury must judge of the prisoner's intention.
A verdict of Not Guilty was returned. The learned judge said, the indictment against the prisoner for the other offences had been ignored by the grand jury from feelings of sympathy, on account of this attempt upon his life, (though it was as clear and as unequivocal a case as had ever come before that court,) whilst they had found a true bill against him for this sham attempt at self-destruction. The verdict now given was unquestionably a correct one, and a regular pickpocket had escaped from justice.”
Being only detained here for trial, the detenues are not put into a common costume ; each person wears his ordinary garb; so that, if he were seen at all, he would be easily recognised afterwards. If a man get no good in this prison, he can at worst get very little harm done to him. The lesson of virtue may be lost—the work of the minister and the teacher may be vain; but it is something to know that no new crimes can be learned—the habit of no fresh iniquity acquired. Perhaps this negative good is all that can at present be hoped for from such places as this. There is not time enough to produce any lasting effect upon the mind of the offender, even if society were certain of its right to subject men not yet convicted of an offence before the law, to any discipline not absolutely necessary to their security Good is not so readily learned as evil. Education in honesty is a longer process than education in crime; though the latter is far from being so instantaneous as some imagine. Probably no man ever committed a first crime on the inspiration of a moment. Human nature is too nobly constituted for that. The first movement towards moral delinquency is never fulfilled : it is spent before ion, like the first wave of a returning tide. The mind must be trained to the thought of crime. It must ponder on it often—become familiar with its grimy features. By slow stages the evil thought secures its conquest. Ere the first crime is actually committed, the mind has sunk deep in guilt: and it is no easy thing to win that mind to purity again. At every cost we are bound, at least, not to accelerate its fall. More than the interests of this world depend upon it. If we cannot cure, we have no commission to kill. We are all called upon to do our best to save our lapsing brother. Men, as men, have no right to despair even of the worst. Prisoners are detained on the
average in this house only about seven days,-a period in which
little solid instruction can be conveyed. Very little is, therefore, attempted. Each person is visited in his cell daily, when religious discourse is offered him. The absolutely ignorant receive such first lessons in their letters as the time will permit. But no attempt is made to teach them writing or cyphering. These arts are considered, by the Middlesex magistrates, as either too revolutionary or too troublesome to undertake; instruction in reading alone is afforded, and that only to a few.
The diet is good. No person, however, is compelled to take it. A man may have all his food