Arthur MacDonald.

Abnormal man, being essays on education and crime and related subjects, with digests of literature and a bibliography online

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took possession of him, and he fancied all the incidents in the scene
which the commissioner had mentioned. It was just as one can do
experimentally in profound sleep: the hallucination is created; the
remembrance of the fictitious vision is so vivid that the subject can not
escape from it.

Liegeois rei)orts a case of a woman who being accused of infanticide
at first denied it, but on being further questioiied by the police com-
missioner, and asked whether she had not placed the child where the
3060 A M 7

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pigs were kept^ after much kesitation, admitted it. The sage-femme
had already asked her the same question and she had confessed. She
renewed her confessions before the judg^ and the court: "I took my
child; I opened the door of the place where the pigs were; I ttoew it
in; I don't believe that it cried; I did not see it move." When this
%oman was taken to prison, it became known that she was in an ad-
vanced stage of pregnancy. This showed conclusively that the crime
of which she was accused and convicted was impossible. On being
questioned further, she said that her parents and the sage-femme had
pressed her to make the confession; that they frightened her with the
prospect of a severer condemnation if she did not confess. Laurent,
whilst admitting that the woman was vividly impressed, does not
believe that it was a matter of suggestion. He thinks it was a matter
of persuasion by force, if she knew that she had not committed the
crime. It is not impossible, however, that suggestion and persuasion

An example of a hysterical hereditary case^ is that of a man who
allowed another person, whom he knew but shghtly, to confide to him
stolen property, which he was persuaded to carry to the pawn shop.
Whether he was dupe or accomplice, the initiative of his crime was
not in him. A few days later the same man was imprisoned for three
months on account of being deceived. Again at liberty, he became
acquainted with a woman who made him sell for her a gold watch and
chain that she had stolen. The man was gentle, well-disposed, and
generous, but he was easily influenced. His will had been paralyzed,
and in each crime his accomplice had the control of him.

Then, there is the phenomenon of auto-suggestion, which can take the
form of vengeance. Some men, when enraged, treasure up thoughts
of revenge against which neither reason nor sentiment is of avail.
After the criminal act is accomplished, the fixed idea disappears, and
the subject becomes himself again. He is surprised at his act, and
realizes that he was out of himself.

Aided by her son a woman murdered and mutilated her infirm hus-
band on the highway. They left his body, without reflecting that it
would be necessary to give explanations next ihorning. Dr. Laurent's
notion is that the woman and her son had lived for months with the
fixed idea of ridding themselves of this man, who had kept them in
poverty; that they were haunted by the suggestion of murder; and
that, having only a rudimentary conscience, they did not attempt to
struggle against the temptation. To add to the auto-suggestion,
another man, who was enamored of this woman, had. promised to
marry her; this further obscured their conscience, and rendered the
murderous suggestion all-powerful. Thus they lost prudence and com-
mitted a crime certa^in to bring them to the gallows.

a ^ , . . , ____—_— .iM^^

1 Laurent, '^Les Suggestions CrimineUes."

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Tropmann is another case, best explained by auto-stiggestion. Here
is a young man, without bad antecedents, who commits an unheard-of
monstrosity, with premeditation atid great skill. He assassinates an
entire family of seven or eight persons. He enticed the father into a
forest of Alsace, poisoned him with prussic acid, and buried him. He
dug a ditch in a field, enticed the elder son there, brutally murdered
him, and buried him. He dug another trench for the mother and
children, and, after enticing them there, killed them with a pickax and
buried them. Tropmann desired to go to America to pass himself off
for the father, and by some unknown means realize the modest fortune
of this exterminated family. He was a man insignificant in appear-
ance; his physique and moral character would not indicate that he was .
capable of such an infernal act. Bernheim is of the opinion that, in
whatever way this idea may have entered his mind, it finally became
an irresistible auto-suggestion, just as a fixed idea of suicide may
culminate fatally.

It may be said that there is no specific method of procedure in order
to prevent such crimes. In social as in bodily diseases there are cer-
tain conditions that no remedy can reach. While symptomatic and
palliative treatment is possible, the state of social therapeutics, Uke
that of medical, is unscientific and far from satisfactory. Often the
truest and best advice a physician can give to his patient is to keep up
the general health; nature will be his best servant in resisting all
attacks of disease. The same principle is applicable to a diseased con-
dition of the social organism. Since there is no ^ specific,'' the remedy
must be general, gradual, and constant. It consists in religious,
moral, industrial, and intellectual education of the children and youth,
especially of the poor unfortunate and weakling classes. The most
certain preventive is the early incarnation of good habits iu children^
which, becoming part and parcel of their nervous organization, are an
unconscious power when passion or perplexity or temptation causes
them to lose self-control. Without this inhibitory anchor many are
certain to go astray. This power is generally proof against all crimi-
nal hypnotic suggestion. The methods by which such an education is
to be best accomplished are as yet problematic.


Perhaps the best method of indicating the prevailing criminological
ideas in our country is to give a summary of some of the essays and dis-
cussions at one of the sessions of the l^ational Prison Association.

As in America the practical spirit is the prevailing one, so, in the
National Prison Association, the prevention and repression of crime
rather than the study of the criminal has been the principal subject for
consideration; and even though this method is not always the most
rational, yet it has been gradually bringing to light the importance of

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investigations into the causes and conditions of crime, so that the value
of scientific methods is beginning to be recognized.

As the members of the ISTational Prison Association consist not only
of those who have directly to do with crime, but of a large number of
persons of all professions and stations in life, the essays and discussions
are of a general and popular character rather than special; but they
are none the less important for this reason.

In the proceedings of one of the late ISTational Prison Associations
the president of the association, Eutherford B. Hayes, maintained in
his address ^* that especially in our own country crime is due to the
business and social spirit of the day; it is the haste to become rich.
This spirit leads often to the crimes of those who are rich, who are
not always punished, but too frequently admired and envied." As to
reformatory methods the president says that ** the jails should not be
schools of crime; that incorrigible or professional criminals should be
imprisoned for life. The forms for the reformation of the prisoners are,
first, labor and industry; ,then come education and religion. Manual
training and industrial education are the best means in this country to
fit the boy or girl to make an honest living.''

Mr. C. H. Eeeve, in his report of the committee on criminal-law
reform, itiaintains that no law made in relation to crime and the dispo-
sition of the disturbers of the public order can be based upon the idea
of punishing the offender. The first consideration must be his removal
from society and his disposition in a place of safety. By an implied
contract the individual enjoys liberty only on the condition that he does
not abuse it, and if he does abuse it, or misuses his privileges, he should
forfeit his rights to the benefit of the contract and should be made to
labor for the State as one unfit to be trusted with liberty. On this idea
alone the prisoner should be imprisoned, and the criminal law should
be framed primarily for this end; a secondary end of the law should
be moral reformation of the offender. The agreement of nine jurors
should constitute a verdict after twenty-four hours of deliberation; no
technicalities as to form or substance should be allowed to obstruct the
course of trial or judgment. Under the present practice the law pre-
sumes the accused to be innocent; yet its prosecutor pursues every
possible avenue to show that he is guilty. This is absurd; if the law
presumes at all, its presumptions should be based on facts. The facts
are that a person is accused of crime. This is the basis for inquiry.
The law takes the accused into custody to prevent an evasion of inquiry,
on the assumption that he will evade it if guilty. These are the facts,
and there can be no presumptions of innocence or guilt under any rule
)f logic. The question should be, " Is the charge true or false ?" What-
ever will aid in answering this question should be admissible to the
inquiry, with no presumptions except such as legitimately arise from
facts clearly established.

If the jury find strong grounds for belief in guilt, they should not

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return a verdict of "not guilty/' but return "not proven.'^ In such a
case the defendant should be put on trial at any time if sufficient evi-
dence can be found to convict or acquit, and the former trial should be
no bar as for being once in jeopardy. Punishment should be recog-
nized only as a means for maintaining discipline in the prisons. High
grades of crime, such as vicious and unprovoked murder, highway and
train robbery, derailing railroad trains, criminal use of explosives, dis-
figurement by use of corrosives, willful perjury by which any innocent
person is convicted of crime, and ohUdstealing, should be regarded as
unpardonable; and, in every case where the question of guilt is estab-
lished beyond all doubt, the convicts be sent for life. Such characters
are wholly within the domain of vicious and dangerous animals. Every
State should have a board of charities and corrections, which should
devote its whole time to the care of charitable and penal institutions.
It should have judicial power, and rank with courts in dignity.

Gen. E. Brinkerhoff, in approving the report, said that the method
of treating the criminal should be the same as with the insane, but he
objected to paying the members of the State boards salaries and giv-
ing them executive power, which would make the office a political one.
Gen. E. 0. Foster, of the Department of Justice, at Washington, sug-
gested that there should be a uniform system for the identification of
convicts throughout the United States. Gen. Foster said, also, that a
"prison bilP' for the establishment of three United Stafes prisons — one
in the far West, one in the Middle States, and one in the Eastern States —
had passed through the House and had been recommended by the Sen-
ate committee; that there was also at Washington a Prison Bureau for
the purpose of collecting and collating prison statistics, and for carry-
ing out the Bertillon system. This bill has been reported favorably.

PrdE Dr.Eoland P.Falkner, in his address on "Criminal Statistics,"
says that the clearly defined functions of statistics is the observation
of large numbers; its proof is not complete until it has embraced all
possible causes. Its office is to prove on a large scale what in a lim-
ited field has been suspected; its proof is therefore a necessary comple-
ment to the researches in criminal anthropology. The preparation of
statistics should be in the hands of a central office. The secretary or
statistician should prepare an annual report which should give tables
showing the number of prisoners of each race, sex, ^ge, etc., at each
separate institution. The following is an illustration of a statistical


Name and locatiou of institution, .

Number of card, ,

Name and number of inmates, , When received, .

1. White. Colored. Chinese. Indian. Mexican.

2. Birthplace of inmate (state or foreign country), .

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3. Birthplace of inmate's father, .

4. Birthplace of inmate's mother, .

5. Age at last birthday previous to . Date of birth, .

6. Single. Married. Widower. Divorced.

7. ^Occupation before commitment, .

8. Able to read. Able to write. Number of years at school.

9. Crime for which sentenced, .

10. Length of sentence, . Indeterminate sentences : Years, — '■ — , months,

, days .

11. Number of previous convictions to state j.nstitutions, .

Bev. Fred H. Wines says as to the parole system: "That unless yon
have the mark and grade system honestly carried out in prison and
keep it from political and outside influence, and make it almost a crime
on the part of a director to consider an outside application, and unless
you make the parole dependent on the accurate prison record of the
prisoner, you would better have no parole system."

Warden A. A. Brush, of Sing Sing, N. Y., made the report of the
standiug committee on prison discipline. Among other things he says :

Before entering upon the discussion we will consider the classes of men in our
prisons, and the causes which led them there. A large number are in our prisons
because they had no proper discipline in the family ; free indulgence of parents ; or
parents deceive their children in small things, which causes evil habits in the child
where an early training lasts for a lifetime.

The large proportion of our prison population are guilty of crime against

We have at Sing Sing 2 inmates for advertising counterfeit money ; 11 for arson ;
372 for burglary ; 5 for carrying burglars' tools; 6 for destroying property; 48 for
forgery; 46 for grand larceny; 1 for horse stealing; 31 for receiving stolen goods —
in all, 922.

W^e have 171 for crimes against both person and property, and 292 for crimes
against the person. Sixty of these are for manslaughter, 52 for murder, 39 for rape,
101 for assault to harm, 18 for assault to kill.

The terms of sentence, excepting 65, who are for life, average five years and six
months and twenty-five days.

The previous occupations of the men are as various as their crimes. Two hundred
and fifty occupations are represented in tho Sing Sing prison : 22 bakers, 22 bar-
tenders, 14 blacksmiths, 34 bookkeepers, 10 bricklayers, 20 butchets, 24 carpenters,
14 cigar-makers, 42 clerks, 31 cooks, 113 drivers, 19 farmers, 11 hostlers, 222 la-
borers, 14 machinists, 35 peddlers, 10 plumbers, 10 policemen, 31 printers, 23 sailors,
14 salesmen, 19 shoemakers, 25 stonecutters, 27 tailors, 18 tinsmiths, 64 waiters, 2
preachers, several Sunday school superintendents, 10 who claim no occupation, 7
who register as thieves, 3 lawyers, and 3 physicians, and 1 each of the following
professions: railroad president, reporter, editor, hotel-keeper, sexton, and alderman.

We had a foreign population of 375. Austria sends us 11, Bernmda 2, Canada 9,
Cuba 2, Denmark 1, East Indies 2, England 37, Finland 5, France 6, Germany 97,
Holland 3, Hungary 3, Ireland 111, Italy 36, Mexico 1, Nova Scotia 3, Poland 15,
Portugal 1, Greece 2, Russia 10, Scotland 6, Sweden 5, Switzerland 2, Wales 1, West
Indies 1, and Spaiti 2. The crimes of the 36 Italians are nearly all against the per-
son. We have nearly 100 Hebrews, almost all for crimes against property. The
ages of the prisoners vary from 15 to 70. The average age is less than 28. Only 56
are over 50 years of age; 1,281 are white, 103 black, 2 Indian, and 2 Chinese. One
thousand two hundred and forty-eight of our inmates had a common school educa-
tion, 13 had an academic education, 6 a coUegiate education, leaving only 120 un-

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educated out of 1,383 now in Sing Sing ; 1,056 axe there for the first time. The
number of the employed when the crime was committed and that of the unem-
ployed is about equal. The number received in the prison during the last fiscal
3'ear was 865. Of these 24 had been in a Catholic Protectory, 23 were graduates of
the Elmira Reformatory, 1 of the Massachusetts Reform School, and 1 of the New
Jersey Reform School; 766 had attended Sunday school when boys, 865 were brought
up at home, and 3 by strangers. Only 23 per cent of tho number had been in this
prison before, while 31 per cent had been in other penal institutions. .

I Jiave given these few statistics to show the difficulty that surrounds prison dis-

* Owing to the fact that the worst criminals have the best conduct, it is difficult to
judge what their conduct will be when released from prison, and this is the strongest
argument for the indefinite sentence. For if a man is to be released upon his good
behavior in the prison and his apparent reformation while there, we may, and ver>'
likely will, release many of our worst criminals, while men of lesser tact, who
transgress the rules from a want of firmness and decision, would remain in prison for
a long time, if not for life. *

Work — the first thing necessary for prison discipline — should be the same as done
outside of prison, where the prisoner can see something grow under hie* hands.
Punishment for disobedience to the regulations of the prison must be severe, cer-
tain, and the same to every inmate, for the prisoner will always claim exact justice.
The severer the punishment the leas it will have to be resorted to. No discipline is
complete that does not give the prisoners a fair education. Every man discharged
should be able to read and write. The deputy warden is the only officer, except the
warden, who should be allowed to punish a prisoner.

The keepers of a prison should be selected by the warden, and never for political
or charitable reasons. A keeper not interested in his vocation, except for the salary,
is worthless. The warden is entirely responsible for the discipline of the prison,
and his power over officers should be absolute. An aid to discipline is the granting
of privileges to the prisoners, such as writing or receiving letters, receiving visits
from parents, and luxuries occasionally. These privileges can keep up what is best
in a man, and the temporary deprivation of them will aid in keeping the unruly in

Those who are in the habit of using tobacco, I would give tobacco. This aids
greatly in keeping up discipline. Prisoners should be made to fee! that officers are
desirous of benefiting them.

Mr. Z. E. Brockway, superintendent of Elmira Eeformatory, says:

In the main I heartily agree with this report, but I do not believe that the diffi-
culty of determining the reformation of the criminal is an argument against the in-
determinate sentence. Certainly the officer in charge of the prison can better
determine his progress towards reformation than can the judge at the date of his
trial and conviction. But, as a matter of fact, there is no difficulty, under a proper
system, of determining the fitness of a man for free life. There are three conditions :

(1) A perfect record, not only in demeanor but in school work and in labor.

(2) Then he must have a trade or occupation, and arrangement must be made for
him in society outside for entering under favorable conditions.

(3) Then he must have that impalpable something about him which inspires con-
fidence in him. It does not seem difficult to me at all to decide as to his fitness.
Privileges under the indeterminate sentence are not necessary as a means of disci-
pline, for you always have the supreme motive of liberty. You may deprive and
indulge a prisoner by privileges without very much regard to its effect. On admis-
sion, a prisoner should be entirely cut off, for a time, from his old life. For he does
not realize he is in prison. There should be no letters, visits, scarf pins, neckties,
handkerchiefs, candy, tobacco, goodie-goodies (oh, the stuff!), or he will live out-
side, his thoughts will be outside, and he can not be got into the grind of the system

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that has been established for his improvement. At first he must be cut off entirely
from the outside world. This is vastly better than to let the men retain their old
associations immediately, especially as not more than 7 to 10 per cent come from
good families, 30 i)er cent have no families at all, and to the rest it is a matter of
indifference. As to officera, it is impossible to obtain the best men. I desire intel-
ligent, and, above all, disciplined offic^irs, who, like soldiers, will obey ; a human
machine. I am experimenting in the gradation of prisoners, not only at Sing Sing
pxison, but to official position in our own institution. Under the military system I
have tried the experiment in the uSe of prisoners promoted to officers in the first
grade, putting them on the pay-rolls. Webave thirty-five on duty. They are vastly
superior to citizens, for they have been trained themselves.

Mr. W. M. F. Round : In regard to judging as to the fitness of a man to release,
it is a fact that if the rules are properly made and enforced, even if a man obeys for
his own selfish end, ho is constantly fitting himself better to go out into society than
the man who does not obey the rules. Keeping a strict record for a year, we found
little less than 17 per cent of Elmira graduates falling back into their old habits.

Dr. fi. D. Wey, of the Elmira Reformatory, in his paper on "Crim-
inal Anthropology," gives a careful survey of the general points in the
scientific study of crime.

Dr. Wey is inclined to the most advanced views of criminology. In
speaking of the physical characteristics of criminals, he points to the
pallor of the skin due to indoor life of the prisoner ; he shows that prison
life has inhibitory action upon the heart, due to a discontinuance of the
use of tobacco, as at Elmira, and alcoholics, and to a substitution of a
methodical and rythmical manner of living, plain and unstimulating
food, instead of insufficient and improper food, late hours, sexual
excesses with associated dissipations.

He has repeatedly observed at adolescence large and prominent
nipples surrounded by areolas that were pigmented more than usual.
Mammary glands as large as a hickory nut have been observed in some 5
there was a periodicity of turgescence of this rudimentary organ, aecom-
panied by the secretion of an opaque fluid and a sensation of fullness
and weight referred to the region of the nipple.

The genitals of this class of persons are somewhat developed; the
sexual sense is usually intense. Prison life does not repress this sense ;
physical conditions are as difficult to control as the craving for intoxi-
cants; in general, Dr. Wey holds that criminality is a collateral degen-
eracy, in the same category as insanity and inebriety.

Dr. William T. Harris, United States Commissioner of Education,
read an excellent paper entitled, "The philosophy of crime and pun-
ishment." Dr. Harris, among other things, says :

I shall address you on the philosophy of crime and punishment from the side of
literature and education. Crime-is the attack made by the individual against the
social whole. In the course of ages the state has learned how to measure crime and
inflict due punishment ; it has discovered that this can be done by returning the deed
upon the doer. But the new penology has by degrees moved forward to a platform
higher than that of abstract justice. In the name of humanity in general, whose
image the criminal wears, we add reformatory measures to punishment, and strive
80 to modify the punishments that they shall not neutralize the reformatory efforts.
The intellectual insight is reformatory in proportion to its clearness. Habit reen-

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forees intellectual conviction, and here Ih the jjreat force of military training ; habit
makes a second nature. In the present age individual restraints have been removed
to such an extent that there is less temptatioji for that kind of crime which formerly

Online LibraryArthur MacDonaldAbnormal man, being essays on education and crime and related subjects, with digests of literature and a bibliography → online text (page 12 of 56)