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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/674

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to grief from an old-time penchant for other people's horses, or from drunken "cutting scrapes."

A racial classification attempted at Folsom showed that out of 905 convicts 704 were Caucasian, 89 Indian and Mexican, 62 Mongolian, and 50 negroid. I do not find this elsewhere, so it may stand alone as merely one year's observations.

Of much more importance are the statistics of illiteracy, kept for a term of years. Warden Hale reports in 1896 that out of 1,287 prisoners, 120 can neither read nor write, 220 can read but can not write, and 947 can both read and write. Of course, many who are rated in the third class read and write very poorly, and a careful classification in terms of the public-school system is essential to clearness. Warden Aull, at Folsom, reports that out of 905 convicts, 6 are college men, 81 are from private schools, 53 from both public and private schools, 582 have attended public schools only, and 147 are illiterate, while the remaining 36 call themselves "self-educated."

According to the evidence of the wardens, no full graduate of any American university has ever been an inmate of either prison. The so-called college men were men who had spent some time at a college of one kind or another. So-called professors appear among the convicts, but I have been unable to discover that any professor in an institution of standing has been at either San Quentin or Folsom since its establishment.

The preceding statistics of illiteracy are defective, but some additional light can be had from the tables upon occupations. Among 905 prisoners at Folsom, 96 occupations were represented. In round numbers, thirty-four per cent were mechanics, twenty-nine per cent were rated as laborers, twenty per cent were in business, and seven per cent were agriculturists. But a closer analysis of the statistics on this point shows that nearly fifty-seven per cent of the entire number came from the following occupations: acrobat, barber, bar-tender, butler, cook, gardener, hackman, hostler, laborer, laundryman, mill-hand, miner, nurse, sailor, vaquero, and "no occupation" (22).

The classification of crimes is very complete in all prison statistics, and usually follows the legal phraseology. Nearly all come under three great divisions—crimes against property, crimes of anger, and crimes which arise from a perverted sexuality. From year to year the proportion in these great divisions varies but little. In 1894 out of 1,287 convicts, 796 were sentenced for crimes against property, 358 of which were for burglary, 170 for grand larceny, and 39 for forgery; there were 343 commitments for assaults and murder, 188 of which were for murder in either the first or the second degree; lastly, there were 85 commitments for rape and other sex crimes.