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convicts. This disproportion, we are glad to see, is steadily diminishing. The census tables of March, 1846, are conclusive on the three important points, - the actual proportion of the two sexes; the comparative ratio of increase in each; and, what is of most consequence, the actual numbers of each sex in the younger part of the population.
The proportion of males to females in the total population is as 3 to 2.
Females. The increase per cent. in the five years ending March, 1846, was
31:46 71.81 The population under 21 years of age, is 40.071 39.779*
We may add, that the tendency of free emigration is to correct the existing inequality; the free single female emigrants in 1848 having exceeded the males by 257 : so that this dreadful evil of penal colonies seems at last nearly removed from New South Wales, and in a few years will disappear altogether.
Into the difficult and deeply-interesting questions connected with juvenile delinquency we cannot here enter. It is generally admitted, that the worst thing that can be done with a young offender is to sentence him to imprisonment - and especially to imprisonment for a short period. Unhappily, no other alternative is at present given. When a lad is in prison,-even in a well-managed one,--all the strong propensities of a boy's nature are turned in the wrong direction. The leading characteristic of a young criminal is the love of fame; the pride of being treated as a man, and of bearing his punishment like a man ; of being commended by men and of being as wicked as a man. It is very painful to witness a boy-young in years, perhaps not very old in vice, - glorying in his crime, in having a cell to himself, in having a man to wait upon him and bring him bis dinner, in being troublesome, in insulting the chaplain, in getting an approving nod from some eminent offender; vainer far of his nickname of • Jack Sheppard' than Nelson of his peerage; a martyr in the cause of evil, and proud of being so. These feelings are unquestionably fostered in most gaols; and they are more effectually counteracted by the restraint and discipline of a school, than by the punishment of a prison. The proper nature of such a school has been the subject of a variety of interesting experiments, both in this country and abroad. Education is, of course, the basis of every useful experiment of this kind; and, in argument, it is invariably admitted that moral training is the most essential part of education. But, in practice, both
# Report of the Land and Emigration Commissioners, 1848, p. 69.
school teachers and school visitors are drawn aside from moral teaching to the more brilliant results of intellectual cultivation; and the teacher is usually most commended whose boys are farthest advanced in knowledge. So long as this error prevails throughout the country, we shall find that our boys are what has been imagined well educated, rather than well conducted ; and education will continue to be no barrier against crime. The chaplain at Pentonville reports, that, out of 1000 prisoners, only 155 have never attended any school, -- 171 have attended Sunday and dame schools -- and 674 have attended the usual private, national, and parochial schools.* Out of between 1100 and 1200 boys, at Parkhurst, only some 36 may have never been to school at all
. The schools, therefore, which are to be checks on crime in future, must plainly be different schools from these.
We must, however, leave these questions, and show what becomes of the 250 juvenile convicts who are annually thrown upon the hands of Government.
It was to receive this class of criminals that the Parkhurst prison was built; which, with its detached buildings of bright brick, interspersed with cheerful verdure, looking peaceable and smiling, meets, not unpleasantly, the eye of a tourist in the Isle of Wight. But those who seek deeper sources of interest, and to whom nothing is so bright as the spectacle of a young mind turning from bad to good, and cleansing itself from the stains of early pollution, will be more gratified by an examination of the interior. The institution is not so much a prison as a great penal school; where the object is rather to promote intellectual, moral, and industrial education, than to inflict any direct punishment. It is composed of three distinct classes — the probationary, the junior, and the general --occupying different buildings. The boys are from ten to eighteen years old; and all, on their first arrival, are placed in the first or probationary class. They are kept in separate cells, where they have their
There are some valuable hints to be drawn from the experience of the Bridgenorth Union School, under the able guidance of Mr. Wolryche Whitmore of Dudmaston, La Colonie Agricole at Mettray, and the Glasgow Training School. The Farm School of the Philanthropic Society at Redhill is opening under the most favourable auspices: and it engages to watch the working of its differences, where it differs, from both Nettray and Parkhurst. We understand that the Wesleyan body are going to expend 30,0001. in establishing a school in Westminster, in which the principle of moral training will be paramount; and that some members of the Church of England have purchased Highbury College, for above 12,0001., to be converted to the same purpose. These two last-named institutions will also be normal schools for teachers.
meals; they are submitted to a rigid discipline, both in the school-room and on the drill-ground; and in the course of four months are brought into perfect subjection. Having been thus broken in, and become thoroughly obedient, they are passed according to age into either of the other classes, - those of Gifteen years old into the general class, those below that age into the junior class; where they remain, usually about two years and a half, until embarked for Australia. The probationary class consists of about 140 boys, the junior of about 200, and the general of about 375. Trades are taught in the two latter classes ; chiefly shoemaking, tailoring, and smith's work. There is, besides, a farm squad, or division, who cultivate about thirty acres of land, and are instructed in the use of agricultural implements, and the general routine of farm management. Many of them acquire an insight into the rudiments of Agricultural chemistry. Their schooling is well cared for; reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught, as a matter of course; and considerable pains are taken, we believe, in imparting just views of morality based upon scriptural truths. Punishment and sickness are rare; though not pampered, they are well clothed and well fed, — well treated and on the whole well behaved. They know that their land of freedom is a colony; and they long for the time when they shall quit Parkhurst for the convict ship.
We find from the Reports relating to Parkhurst, presented to parliament last year, that 396 boys were discharged in 1847 in the following manner :Sent to Port Philip and Western Australia
Some of these Parkhurst boys have of course turned out ill. Undoubtedly, sufficient attention has not, in all cases, been given to provide employment and control at the critical moment, when they were first released from the restraint and confinement of the convict ship. Discredit has thus been thrown upon the whole number; more especially as transportation is an existing party question in the colonies:--so that every fact on either side which at all bears upon it has been laid hold of, and generally much exaggerated.
The official reports, however, of the conduct of the Park
hurst boys, both on board ship and afterwards, and the desire evinced in some places to receive them, lead us to hope that a large proportion of them will have turned out satisfactorily. The statement of Dr. Robertson, the surgeon of the ship Maitland, is supported by that of Mr. Hampton, the comptroller-general. Mr. Symons reports equally in their favour; and Mr. Andrews, surgeon of the ship Marion, says: “ The Parkhurst boys are
excellent.' On the other hand, the Deputy-Assistant Commis-, sary General at Port Philip, in the letter to Earl Grey of the 10th May, 1848, which, as we have already seen, speaks of the prisoners from Pentonville with some degree of confidence, expresses more uncertainty concerning the Parkhurst boys. But, we must remember, that at that time, there was a total want of precaution, at this critical period. In Western Australia a better system, it appears, had been adopted with them after their landing, and according to the evidence of Captain Hall, with corresponding success. Sixty boys had been sent there; of these, the elder ones were allowed to hire themselves out, the younger were apprenticed. The important consideration for the public is the fact — that in Western Australia alone, has there been any care taken about the disposal of the boys -- and that in that colony they have done well.
The best arrangements for managing criminals will, however, fail, as far as reformation is the object, unless adequate means be provided for carrying punishment into effect without crowding prisoners together. It becomes essential, therefore, to adjust the prison accommodation to the annual supply. In the year 1848, the number of male convicts in England and Wales sentenced to transportation amounted to 2884. The returns from Scotland have not yet come under our notice; but, judging from the average of the last five years, we may assume them at 400. In round numbers, then, 3300 male convicts were sentenced in Great Britain in the course of last year to transportation. Many, however, being physically unable to undergo the punishment, were returned to the prisons to which they had been originally committed; there to remain until eventually, after the lapse of some considerable time - two or three years they should be released by the exercise of the royal clemency. Other circumstances have combined to diminish the number of convicts actually received by the Crown, as government prisoners ; that is to say, prisoners supported out of the consolidated fund, and managed under the authority of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. So that only 2622 (including 282 juvenile convicts under seventeen years) entered Millbank Prison, - the great central depôt — to which all are sent in the first instance, VOL. XC. NO. CLXXXI.
preparatory to distribution among those places of detention where the first period of their punishment is to be passed. That this number may not be increased in future years, nobody can pretend to say. General causes would certainly have this tendency. On the other hand, a contrary effect will be produced by an act passed this session (12 Vict. c. 11.); which abolishes transportation for simple larceny, and for felonies made punishable as simple larceny, except in respect to larceny committed after one previous conviction for felony or after two previous summary convictions. This act, it has been assumed, may at first cause a diminution of 400 or 500 annually; though a certain proportion of these, it must be remembered, will fall back into crime, and eventually return as convicts for transportation. Another cause is also diminishing the number of sentences of transportation. The abolition of capital punishment for various crimes has had the effect of lowering the standard of punishment generally. The numbers sentenced to transportation in 1847 were only the same as in the preceding year — although the convictions had increased 18.7 per cent. In the quinquennial periods ending in 1842 and 1847, the convictions are within a fraction of the same amount; but the numbers sentenced to transportation are 15 per cent. less in the latter than in the former period.
On the whole, therefore, we may conclude that, for some time to come, 2000 adult, and 250 juvenile convicts, will be about the numbers to be dealt with by the executive government in the course of any one year. Of the adults, Pentonville prison will hold 500; Millbank has been organised to receive 700 in a probationary class, as well as to serve as a depôt for the moving masses.
Further accommodation is found in provincial prisons which happen to have cells adapted to the purpose; the magistrates agreeing to let to the State those which are not required for their local wants, at the fixed annual rent of 6l. per cell, for an indefinite period, terminable on notice from either party. In these prisons the separate system is uniformly pursued, under the supervision of the authorities resident on the spot. This plan has been followed in the prisons at Wakefield, Leeds, Leicester, Preston, Northampton, Reading, and Bath; and the number of cells thus hired by the Government is 746. So that 1946 separate cells are now available for the detention of convicts; and very soon a further number, in some of the country prisons now nearly completed upon the Pentonville plan, will likewise be placed, on the same terms,
* Criminal Tables, 1848, prepared by Mr. Redgrave, of the Home Office, p. 7.