Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/622

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"Charity, or rather foresight, must assume new forms, leave the ways of alms and the violence of prisons, and substitute spontaneous asylums and industrial schools."

Lombroso explains in detail what admirable work the New York "Society for the Reform of Youth" has done since 1853, by founding industrial schools and lodging houses; implanting the love for work in bad boys, giving them the knowledge of personal liberty, and the healthy desire to better their state by employing them in factories and workshops. He holds that Italy might advantageously copy and imitate such a reform, particularly in Piedmont, Sardinia, and the Valtellina, where sheep-tending utilizes the children.

When offenses in youths pass a certain limit so as to require heavier punishments, Lombroso contends that above all things the so frequent method of often-repeated and short-term imprisonments should be avoided with the greatest care. Instead, a graduated punishment should be substituted, like fasting, douches, forced labor, and isolation-in their domicile; or, if it is preferred, fines might be imposed, thereby lightening the cost of maintenance. A money fine has also the great advantage of touching the modern culprit in his most vulnerable point.

If the crime be serious, then, according to Lombroso, prison cells are necessary in order to isolate the culprit from his companions. But our chief and primal aim should ever be education. We should strive to inoculate the delinquent with more than mere alphabetical instruction, we should teach him the practical knowledge of useful trades, and instead of futile preaching and moral teaching we should give him good or bad marks; passing him into privileged categories where he would have the right, for example, to wear a beard, receive visits, work for his own benefit, and so on. Thus, through those very passions which left alone would lead him on to greater wickedness, we must seek to inspire him with the need of honesty. Ferri tells of a thief who became an honest man when the Sister of Charity, with that very end in view, intrusted him with the care of the prison wardrobe.

Overstrictness is always harmful. It is far better to tickle the vanity of the prisoners—a feature highly pronounced in the criminal type—by permitting them to elect among themselves wardens and teachers, as well as arbitrators who shall decide concerning the misdeeds of their companions. This would help to awaken a spirit of comradeship, which is always beneficial. Lombroso inclines somewhat to Despine's method of not inflicting punishment until a little time has elapsed after the committal of the offense, to allow passion to cool down, if the offense be due to this cause.