Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/618

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magistrates hold that the cases are rare, nay, indeed exceptional, in which the criminal is subject to distorted volition, and but too frequently deem a jurist's highest earthly mission to consist in laying down his legal judgments, which start from hard and fast rules and admit of no gradations between the sane, the alienated, and the criminal mind. Hence this type of lawgiver has one sole idea, one single starting point, in assigning his verdicts. He has but one régime of punishment to bestow on each individual crime, and this is pronounced without preoccupying himself concerning the divergences of climate, region, and habit whence the crime has sprung. He judges the minds of others by his own, which has probably been nourished on the most sublime speculations of human wisdom. Hence, legal philosophers and legislators will not, and perchance can not, descend from the proud heights of metaphysics to the humble and arid territory of penal establishments. Their opinions on these points are, therefore, almost valueless.

In a letter recently addressed to me, in reply to my query of how he would treat the criminal, and what he thought of the Elmira system. Prof. Lombroso replied:

"To put it briefly, my idea is that so far all we have done is mistaken, not excluding from this condemnation the American reformatories. I hold that for women, for instance, except in quite a few cases (perhaps twenty or thirty, speaking of Italy), there is no need for prisons. A species of convent would suffice. For young men it is necessary first of all to distinguish the congenital criminals from those who are sons of parents affected by syphilis, or alcohol, or typhus. Then, accordingly, they should be submitted to treatment, but not a commonplace one like that of Elmira, but be dosed with homœopathic sulphur, nux vomica, or submitted to electricity. If, after such a cure, they show no signs of improvement, then detain them for life in wide islands, where, with the exception of bread and water, if they would not die, they must gain the rest of their fare by working. If, after this, they transgress repeatedly, sentence them to death. The educational reformatories, with all those precautions practiced at Elmira, I would reserve exclusively for young criminals guilty of crimes of occasion or of passion, and to these I would accord conditional liberty. The suspension of punishment, the study of the individual character, will help us to know them as much as the history of their case. Adults under judgment I would keep in prison cells whenever life in common does not facilitate the reciprocal tale-bearing which renders detection easy. But here, too, if the crime be one of occasion or passion, I would favor short-term punishments, fines, floggings, fasts, douches, etc. If, instead, the delinquency is instinctive, or recidivist, I would mostly inflict