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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/610

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594
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

plest trade are put into a manual-training school, in the hope that their brains can be sufficiently developed to enable them to keep out of the prison or the asylum. Those who are so stupid that they have difficulty in learning the alphabet or in counting their fingers are put into a kindergarten, where they practice on letter blocks and sticks and straws.

Those who are too stupid to learn a trade are the ones of interest here. Three main lines of defect are recognized in Superintendent Brockway's classification of them. Those who are intellectually weak, but of fair power of self-control, are classed as Group I; those who are reasonably bright, but are unable to get along because they can not control their impulses, are classed as Group II; those who fail on both sides are classed as Group III.

Group II is composed of those who are for the most part devoid of moral sense—those who fight, swear, assault officers, are licentious, and generally unresponsive to the usual reformatory measures. To this class belong some of the most intellectual inmates of the reformatory, but this intellectuality runs riot on account of weakness of character. How are their characters to be built up? They are required to devote most of their waking hours to athletics and calisthenics, wood-turning, making wooden patterns for castings, mechanical drawing, sloyd, clay modeling, and chipping and filing metal. These exercises have been selected on account of their character-building qualities.

The work is a great success. Nearly all inmates subjected to this building-up process finally graduate with sufficient self-control from the manual-training department into the trades school. A concrete example will give an idea of the change produced in the pupil. The record of No. 6,361 is instructive. The account is taken from a report by the manual-training instructor, R. C. Bates:

"The pupil, previous to his assignment to manual training, had earned for himself the sobriquet of 'dangerous man' among the officers and inmates. His offenses have been mostly threatening language, lying, contraband articles, talking, fooling, assaulting officers, and institutional crimes of that nature.

"We begin his record in September, 1895, when he was reduced to the second grade for fighting. October and November he lost three marks each for lying and threatening language, and, by the influence of September markings, caused his reduction to the third grade, or incorrigibles, a closely defined group. He was in the third grade two months and three days, when he was placed in the foundry, where, amid blinding smoke, stifling air, and the task system, it was thought he would tone down, upon the theory that the muscular demands of such a place on a 124-pound body would vitiate