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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/555

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539
TYPICAL CRIMINALS.


Kind of Pavement. Life in years.
Best granite block on concrete. 30
Granite block laid on sand. 20
Belgian trap. 20
Cobblestone. 18
Asphalt. 15
Best wood—rectangular block. 10
Vitrified brick. 12
Macadam. 8
Cedar block—round—on sand. 5

No class of municipal work comes so near to the daily life of an urban population—both the business and the home life—as the surface improvement of city streets, and no expenditure is too great (provided the work is skillfully and honestly done) to make them smooth, clean, sanitary, and beautiful.

 

TYPICAL CRIMINALS.
By SAMUEL G. SMITH, LL. D.

IF the question of a criminal type, defined by certain marks of a physical nature and emphasized by accompanying mental and moral characteristics, were confined to the technical speculations of a special craft of scientists, the public would have little interest in the spread of the doctrines of Cesare Lombroso and his confrères in this country. When it is believed, however, that certain men and women are committed to prison or condemned to death not on account of crimes in any ethical sense, but because of spontaneous actions from vicious impulses beyond their control, the subject affects the administration of law, the theory of punishment, and the safety of society.

Lombroso and the Italian school say that they have discovered a type of man who is born a criminal, and who may be recognized by a Mongolian face, abnormal features, ill-shaped ears, unsymmetrical skull, and various psychical peculiarities, which are the result of bad organization. This doctrine is illustrated by descriptions of criminals who have the abnormalities, and in the hands of skillful writers the case is made very plausible. The theory is in harmony with so much popular modern thought, which loosely interprets the doctrine of evolution by a crass materialism, that it has infected American prison literature, while it has never misled those men to whom practical experience has given the most right to have an opinion on the subject. The sense of personal responsibility is still the foundation of social order, and if in truth there is no such thing, the world is awake at last from its dream of morality;