Front Page Titles (by Subject) IV.: Reformatory Discipline. - Prisons and Prison Discipline
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IV.: Reformatory Discipline. - James Mill, Prisons and Prison Discipline 
Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica (London: J. Innes, 1825).
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III. Having thus considered prisons, as instruments of safe-custody, and as instruments of punishment; two of the purposes to which they have been applied as means; it remains, that we consider them, as instruments of reformatory discipline, the third of the purposes to which they have been applied.
It is necessary, first of all, to state a clear idea of reformatory discipline.
When offences, against which it is necessary that society should have protection, are committed, it is desirable that the punishment of the offender should have three properties; 1st, That it should deter all other persons from committing a similar offence, which is its most important property. 2dly, That it should have the effect of deterring the man himself from a repetition of the offence. 3dly, That it should have the effect of removing his former bad habits, and planting useful habits in their stead. It is this last property which is sought to be communicated to his punishment by reformatory discipline.
As the creating and destroying of habits is the work of time, and as safe-custody, and restraint from all indulgences, except under certain conditions, is necessary to reformatory discipline, whatever punishment is involved in such protracted coercion, is a necessary part of reformatory discipline.
What is desired is, to create a habit of doing useful acts, break the habit of doing hurtful acts. To accomplish this, means must be obtained of making the individual in question perform certain acts, abstain from the performance of certain other acts.
The means to be employed for producing performance cannot be of more than two sorts; the pleasurable, and the painful. A man may be induced to perform certain acts, either by punishment, or reward. He may be made to abstain from performing certain acts by an additional means, by withholding the power of performing them.
The latter is the means chiefly applicable for preventing the performance of hurtful acts in prisons; not only crimes, but acts of intemperance, gaming, or any others, the tendency of which is towards crimes. As this is nearly the universal practice, the reasons of it must be so generally known, as not to need repetition.
The inquiry which chiefly calls for our attention is, What are the best means of producing the performance of those acts, the habit of performing which we desire to render so perfect, that it may be relied upon for the effect, even in a state of freedom?
The persons on whom reformatory discipline is intended to operate, belong to the class of those who depend upon their industry for their support. So nearly, at least, do they belong to this class exclusively, that the immaterial exceptions may, in this general inquiry, be omitted.
The necessary foundation, in the case of such persons, not only for all virtues, but for abstinence from crime, is the habit of performing some one of those series of acts, which are denominated lawful industry, and for which the performers obtain payment or reward.
Labour, therefore, in some of its useful branches, is to be regarded as the foundation of all reformatory discipline. But as the object of this discipline is to train the man to love, not to hate labour, we must not render the labour in such a case any part of his punishment. The labour must, for this important purpose, be a source of pleasure, not of pain.
The way in which labour becomes agreeable to men out of a prison, is the way in which it can be made agreeable to them in a prison; and there is no other. Advantages must accrue from the performing of it.
The way of attaching to it advantages the most intensely persuasive, in a reformatory prison or penitentiary, is exceedingly obvious.
There, it is easy to prevent the attaining of any pleasure, except through the medium of labour.
What is provided in the prison, according to the principles already explained, is lodging, food, and clothing, all of the very cheapest kind not producing injury to health. In the monotony of a prison, there is no one who will not intensely desire pleasure in addition to this.
In the sentence of a criminal, who is subjected to reformatory discipline, it may, and as often as the case requires, it ought, to be rendered a part, that he shall not be permitted to make any additions to this hard fare from any source belonging either to himself or others, except his labour; but that what he earns by his labour he may, in a certain way, lay out to procure to himself better food, or any other indulgence (certain hurtful ones excepted) which he may desire. Few cases, indeed, will be found in which this simple contrivance will not produce steadiness of application.
We have now then attained what is of principal importance. For if we have got the inmates of a prison to labour steadily in some useful branch of industry, to look to labour as the great or only source of their enjoyments, and to form habits of so doing, sufficiently confirmed to be depended upon for governing their conduct in a state of freedom, we have prepared them for being useful members of society, and our purpose is accomplished.
Here, then, comes the question, By what arrangements, in detail, can the business of confining, maintaining, and setting offenders to work, be most advantageously performed?
In other words, In what hands should the government of penitentiaries be placed, and under what rules should it be ordained for them to act?
It is an universal axiom in morals, that no security is equally to be depended upon for any desirable result, as the interest of those upon whom its accomplishment depends. If, in devolving upon a man the task of bringing about a particular end, we make it his interest to bring it about in the best possible manner, especially if we make it his interest in any high degree, we can hardly be disappointed in counting upon his most strenuous exertions. On the other hand, if he has no interest, or a very inconsiderable interest, in the end which he is intrusted to bring about; if little cognizance will be taken of his proceedings, whether good or bad; if to attend to the business would be exceedingly troublesome, to neglect it will produce little inconvenience; we may be very sure, that, by a great majority of men, the business of the task devolved upon them will be very imperfectly performed. If they can make a profit out of oppression, or if, as is the case to so great a degree in prisons, they can consult their ease by imposing additional and mischievous restraints upon the prisoners, their interests are strongly set against their duties, and ill conduct is still more perfectly secured.
This last, how deplorable soever the confession, is the state of management of all British prisons, with hardly any exception. There is a jailor, who receives a salary and power; and is told to manage the prison well; and there is a number of justices, that is, gentlemen of the neighbourhood, who obtain not a little power, and a great deal of praise, for undertaking to do certain public duties of a local nature, with little interest in doing them well, and no little interest in doing them in many respects exceedingly ill, who have the charge of looking after him. Varieties we cannot afford to particularize. This is the general description.
The management, then, of the prison, is the joint concern of the jailor and the justices, or magistrates, including sheriffs, who, jointly or severally, have no such interest, as can be expected generally to produce any considerable effect, in any thing more than such a kind of management as will not excite attention and indignation by its badness. All the degrees of bad management, which are within those limits, they, having little or no interest to prevent, have abundant interest to permit.
It is surely not necessary, that we should go far into the detail of this case, to show the causes which it places in operation, and their natural effects.
First of all, it is sufficiently evident, that the jailor has an interest in obtaining his salary, and other emoluments, with as little trouble to himself as possible.
It is not less evident, that the magistrates have an interest in getting the power and credit, attached to their office, with as little trouble to themselves as possible.
This is enough. The book of human nature is clear upon the subject. This principle, at uncontrolled work in a prison, is perfectly sufficient to generate all the evils which those abodes of misery can be made to contain.
It is undeniable, that so far as those, who thus have the superintendence of jailors, are disposed to consult their ease, and to perform negligently a troublesome duty, which they may perform well or ill, just as they please, so far they will be indisposed to listen to any complaints against the jailor. It saves them a good deal of trouble to confide in the jailor. They speedily come, therefore, to look upon confidence in the jailor, and to speak of it, as a good thing, a duty. “Has not the jailor been most carefully and judiciously selected for his office, by wise and good men? (viz. ourselves). Would it not be an injury to a man of his character to distrust him? And to distrust him—for what? For the complaints of prisoners. But prisoners are always complaining, always giving trouble. Jailors are a good set of men. Prisoners are a bad set of men; especially complaining prisoners. They are the very worst kind of men;—they are, therefore, to be silenced; and it is often very difficult to silence them; nothing but harsh measures will do it; when harsh measures, however, are absolutely necessary, it is the duty of jailors to use them, and the duty of magistrates to protect such men in the discharge of so important a duty.”
Such are the feelings and conclusions which are undeniably prompted, by the mere love of ease, in the bosoms of such men as English magistrates.
So far as the magistrates consult their ease (men generally do consult their ease when they have not a preponderating motive to the contrary), the jailor is at liberty to consult his ease.
In the jailor’s consulting his ease, every thing that is horrid in a prison finds its producing cause.
What the jailor has chiefly to guard against is, the escape of his prisoners, because that is a result which cannot be hidden, and will not escape animadversion. But the love of ease prompts him to take the easiest means for this purpose, locking up in dungeons, loading with irons, and prohibiting communication from without: in other words, all the measures which are the most tormenting to the prisoner. If the prisoner, confiding in his ingenuity or his strength, makes any attempts to free himself from this misery, by escaping, the disturbance which is thus given to the ease of the jailor is a cause of pain, proportional to the love with which he cherishes his ease; this pain, excites resentment, resentment calls for vengeance, and the prisoner is cruelly punished. The demon despotism reigns in his most terrific form.
This is only one half of the evil. The servants of the jailor, the turnkeys, as they are called, and others who wait upon the prisoners, are as fond of their ease as the jailor is of his. If the jailor has not adequate motives to make him take care that the business of the prison is well done, he will repose the same confidence in his servants, which the magistrates so liberally exercise towards him. He will leave them to indulge their ease, as he could not do otherwise without disturbing his own.
From the servants of the prison indulging their ease, neglect of the prisoners is the immediate and unavoidable consequence. From neglect of prisoners, that is, of men placed in a situation destitute of all the means of helping themselves, all those evils, which, in another situation, could be produced only by the most direful oppression, immediately ensue.
By the servants of a gaol, cherishing their ease, and left by their superintendents, to do so, every call of a prisoner for help, for relief from any annoyance, is felt as an injury, and resented as such. Cruelty speedily comes, as a co-operator with neglect, to fill up the measure of the prisoner’s calamity.
The prisoner, finding himself destitute of all remedy, except he can prevail upon the people who approach him to remove some of the causes of the misery which he endures, has recourse to bribery, when he can possibly command the means; and then pillage, without limit and without mercy, is added to all the evils of this den of horrors.
If such are the consequences of entrusting the management of prisons to persons who have no interest, or not a sufficiency of interest, in good management, we have next to consider the important question, By what means a sufficiency of interest in good management can be created? We need not have any doubt, that if a sufficiency of good accrues to the managers from every particle of good management, and a sufficiency of evil from every particle of bad, we shall have as much as possible of the good, and as little as possible of the evil.
1. The grand object, as we have stated, of reformatory discipline is, to create habits of useful industry.
2. A second object is, to preserve the health of the prisoners, and impose upon them no suffering, not implied in the conditions of their confinement, or prescribed by the judge.
3. A third is, by moral and religious tuition, to generate and strengthen good dispositions.
4. A fourth is, to attain those ends at the smallest possible expense.
It is not difficult to give the manager or keeper of a reformatory prison or penitentiary, a very strong interest in all these important results.
We have already seen, that the mode of giving to the prisoner a motive to labour, is, by giving him a share in the produce of his labour.
It is evident that an equally certain mode of giving to the jailor a motive for obtaining as much of that labour as possible, that is, for doing all that depends upon him to make the prisoners labour as much as possible, and as productively as possible, is by giving him also a share in the produce of their labour.
It may be said, however, that if the jailor receives a share of the labour of the prisoners, he will have a motive for making them labour too much: labour may be so excessive as to equal the severest torture.
Effectual expedients, however, for the prevention of this evil, are easy and obvious. In the first place, it does not seem necessary that the labour should be in any degree compulsory. If a prisoner is, according to the rule above laid down with respect to the cheapest fare, confined to the coarsest kind of bread, and to water, if he does not labour, but has it in his power to add to his enjoyments by labouring, more especially if he may labour in company, but if he will not labour, must remain in solitude, the cases will be exceedingly few in which compulsion will be needful; and these might, if it were deemed of sufficient importance, be specially provided for by the legislature.
If a man may work, or not work, as he pleases, and much or little as he pleases, there is no need of any farther security against excessive labour. If there were, it would be afforded by the interest which it is easy to give to the jailor in the health of the prisoner.
Giving to the jailor a share in the produce of the labour of a prisoner has two happy effects; not only that of giving him an interest in rendering the value of that produce as great as possible, but that, also, of giving him an interest in the health of the prisoner, besause the produce of a man’s labour is greater when he is in health than when he is not.
This may be encreased by giving to the jailor, through a very obvious channel, an interest, and an interest to any amount, in the life of each prisoner. It being ascertained what is the proportion of persons of a similar age that die annually, when not confined in a prison, all that is necessary is, to entitle the jailor to a sum of money for each of the individuals above that proportion whom he preserves alive, and to make him forfeit a sum for each individual above that proportion who dies. This sum, it is evident, may be sufficiently high, to ensure, on the part of the jailor, a strong desire for the life, and thence a proper attention to the health of the prisoners.
Another particular in this case requires attention. It is obvious, that the motive of the prisoner to render the quantity or value of his labour the greatest, is, when the share which he enjoys of it is the greatest. It is equally obvious, that the motive of the jailor to promote the augmentation of this quantity or value is the greatest when his share is the greatest.
If the whole of the produce of the labour of each of the prisoners were left to be divided between himself and the jailor, the motives of the two parties, taken jointly, would be at the highest. And the question then would be, according to what proportion should the division be made?
The peculiar circumstances of this case permit the most decisive answer to be returned. No evil can accrue, and every good purpose is best gained, by allowing the jailor to take as much as he pleases. It being first established that he can employ no compulsory methods, that the prisoner must have as much of the coarsest fare and accommodation as he needs, whether he works or not, and that work can thus be obtained from him only by the operation of reward, it will be the interest of the jailor to make his reward sufficiently high to obtain from him all the work which he can perform, and, in his situation as a criminal, he ought, generally speaking, to receive no more. The propriety of this regulation, therefore, rests on conclusive evidence.
Here, however, an objection, worthy of attention, occurs. If the jailor receives so great a proportion of the produce of the labour of the prisoners, he may receive a much higher remuneration than the nature of his duties requires; and so far the public is deprived of a fund which ought to be available for the public service.
This observation is true; and the question is, in what manner can the separation of what is necessary in remuneration of the jailor, and what should be detached for the benefit of the public, be most advantageously made?
If the situation of the jailor affords more than an adequate reward, he will be willing to give something annually in order to retain that situation. And for measuring exactly what he ought to give, there is a sure and a well tried expedient: it is, to lay the thing open to competition.
By this expedient, a double advantage is gained: for both the public receives as great a share of the produce of the labour of the prison, as is compatible with the due remuneration of the jailor; and the jailor, he being entitled, in the first instance, to share the whole of the produce with the labourers, having both to pay what he owes to the government, and obtain his own remuneration out of his share, has a motive as strong as if the whole were his own, to render the produce as great as possible.
It will easily be seen that this contract between the public and the jailor, if sufficient securities can be taken for its being cancelled, as soon as misconduct on his part should render it desirable that it should be so, ought, for important reasons, to be concluded for a considerable number of years, or for his life. It is of importance that those individuals, who are to undergo the reformatory discipline, and who are unacquainted with any trade, should, especially if they are young, be taught the trade in which their labours can be turned to the greatest account: and, to make it the interest of the jailor to have them taught, it is evident that he must have the prospect of enjoying the benefit of their skilled labour for a sufficient length of time. This short illustration we hope will suggest to the reader sufficient reflections, for evidence on this point; and we must hasten to the remainder.
We have now shown, to how great an extent, upon the plan which we have thus briefly sketched, the interest of the jailor is rendered co-incident with the ends which are in view, and the most effectual of all securities is obtained for the goodness of his management. We proceed to show what additional securities this plan enables us to provide.
Let us, first of all, attend to the power of inspection, which may be afforded in a degree altogether unparalleled. By the admirable properties of the building which we have recommended, not only is the conduct of the prisoners rendered wholly transparent to the jailor, but the conduct of the jailor may be rendered equally transparent to his inspectors. And as the central lodge, or tower of inspection, may be entered by any number, without giving the least disturbance to the prisoners, without their even knowing that any body is there, the public may be admitted on such terms, as to afford the full benefit of public inspection,—the most efficient of all inspections,—over the whole economy of the prison. By means of whispering tubes, oral communication might be permitted with the prisoners, at such times, and under such regulations, as would prevent it from interfering wtth the working hours, or other parts of the discipline, to all persons who might have a wish to hear if they had any complaints.
Another very simple expedient would make an important addition to the list of securities. It ought to be an obligation on the jailor to keep a book, in which all complaints of the prisoners should be entered, and, as often as they could write, signed with their names. Along with the complaint should be entered a statement of what had been done for removing the ground of the complaint, or of the reasons for doing nothing. And this book should be open to the perusal of the public, and should lie in a place convenient for the inspection of all the visitors of the prison.
A still more important and indispensable security would be, the obligation of the jailor to present, annually, to the principal court of justice, such as the Court of King’s Bench in England, a report on the management and state of the prison during the preceding year, containing, with all other points of useful information, exact accounts of the receipts and disbursements; to verify those statements by his oath; to print and publish them at his own expense; and to answer, upon oath, all interrogatories, made to him, in open court, by the judge, or by any other person, how much soever the answer might tend to his own crimination; and this as often as the judge might call upon him for such a purpose. By this means, with the obvious security afforded for other still more important ends, so perfect a knowledge would be communicated of the gains of the jailor, and the mode of obtaining them, as would ensure an accurate bargain, rigidly proportioned to the amount of them, as often as the contract came to be renewed.
The last thing which we think it necessary to recommend in the shape of a security, would operate as a test of the efficacy of the management in its character of a reformatory discipline. The jailor should be held bound to pay a certain sum, varying in proportion to the length of time during which the prisoner had been subject to his discipline, for each of the prisoners who, after liberation, should be convicted of a crime.
Connected with the important part of the subject relating to the labour of the prisoners, it is proper to bring to view the advantage of a subsidiary establishment for receiving and employing those who might be liberated from the prison. It is a well known ground of lamentation, that persons liberated from a prison, find often great difficulty in obtaining employment, and are constrained, by a kind of necessity, to betake themselves to their former evil courses, though with the inclination to have devoted themselves to honest industry, had the means not been denied them. The best mode of obviating this great evil would be, to have a subsidiary establishment, the architectural form the same as that of the prison, in which the jailor should be obliged to receive all persons who have been liberated from the prison, and who make application for admittance, and to employ them on the same terms as the prisoners, with the single exception of its being in their power to remove when they please, and to make, in respect to terms, all such stipulations with the jailor as may be for their mutual advantage.
The next part of the subject to which we proceed, is the plan according to which the prison shall be supplied with the articles which the prisoners are enabled by their labour to purchase.
As there are certain articles, such as intoxicating liquors, which ought to be altogether withheld, unless for special reason permitted, and as the jailor could not have a sufficient command over the articles conveyed into the prison, unless he had, in his own hands, the power of supply; as the intercourse, also, which would be created with strangers, if the prisoners were at liberty to purchase of whom they pleased, would be incompatible with the discipline of the prison, the power of supplying articles of purchase to the prisoners ought to be confined to the jailor.
If it be objected that the jailor would thus have the power of oppressing the prisoners, by selling bad articles, or good articles too dear, the answer is, That he could not. We have already seen, that in order to derive from the prisoners the greatest quantity of profit to himself, he must give to them a reward for their labour sufficient to make them labour to the most profitable account. But if he sells articles to them at more than the usual price, this is merely a reduction of the reward left to them for their labour: this he cannot reduce beyond a certain point, without reducing the amount of his profit; and any greater reward than up to this point, the nature of the case renders undesirable.
We have now then stated all that seems necessary to be said on the three great subjects; 1st, Of the structure and form of the prison; 2dly, The securities which may be applied for obtaining good conduct on the part of the jailor; and 3dly, The first and principal part of reformatory discipline, namely, voluntary labour.
The remaining conditions of reformatory discipline will not require much explanation.
1. Separation, as far as concerns the sexes, and as far as concerns the good from the bad, is now so generally attended to as an object of importance, that the danger sometimes is of other things being too much overlooked in the comparison.
In a prison, such as we have described, in which, by means of moveable partitions, the cells may be enlarged or contracted at pleasure, and in which the prisoners are all under continual inspection, the power of separation, to any desired extent, is complete.
The two sexes, though inmates of the same prison, and simultaneously subject to the same inspection, may be as completely disjoined as if they were inhabitants of a different region. By a piece of canvas, and nothing more costly, extended in the form of a curtain, from the boundary on each side of the female cells, in the direction of a radius across the central area to the inspection lodge, the females would be as completely cut off from seeing, or being seen by the male prisoners, as if they were separated by seas and mountains; the same effect would be obtained as to hearing, by merely leaving a cell vacant between those of the males and females; and thus the space appropriated to each of the two sexes might, in the easiest manner, be diminished or enlarged, as their relative numbers might require.
A much more complete and desirable separation, than that which is aimed at as the utmost in other prisons, is easily attainable in this. The ordinary separation of young offenders from old, of the greatly corrupted from those who are presumed to be less deeply infected, is still apt to leave associations too promiscuous, and too numerous, not to be unfavourable to the progress of reformation.
The prisoners should be put together in companies of twos, and threes, and fours, seldom more; each company occupying a separate cell. It would be the interest of the jailor to put them together in such assortments as would be most conducive to the quantity and value of work they could perform, and to the goodness of their behaviour; that is, to the most perfect operation of the reformatory discipline: and his experience of their dispositions and faculties would of course fit him beyond any one else for making the selection.
It will have been all along understood, that, to attain the ends of inspection and economy, the same rooms or cells which form the day and working rooms on our plan, form also the sleeping rooms. Not the smallest inconvenience from confusion of things in the apartment can thence be derived; because the hammocks, which would be more convenient than beds, could be stowed away in little compass during the day.
It is also to be particularly observed, that whatever degree of seclusion might either be indulged to the feelings of an individual, or might be deemed conducive to his mental improvement, might still, upon this plan, be easily secured; because, by means of screens, a portion of the cell might be formed into as many private apartments as might be desired; and where experience of good conduct had laid a foundation for confidence, periods of seclusion, even from the eye of the inspector, might be allowed.
2. Nothing of great importance to be mentioned in this summary sketch seems now to remain, except schooling, and religious instruction.
The Sunday is the appropriate period for both. Sunday-schools are found by experience to be sufficient for communicating to children the important arts of reading, writing, and accounts. It would be obligatory on the jailor to afford the means of instruction in these respects to every prisoner who might not have attained them; together with all other means, not incompatible with the case, of promoting their moral and intellectual improvement.
3. The religious services proper to the day, and such other devotional exercises as might be thought requisite on other days, would be conducted by the chaplain, the prison affording remarkable facilities for bringing all the prisoners into a situation conveniently to hear; and also, which would be a circumstance of great importance, bringing the public from without, to participate in the religious services of the prison, for whom temporary accommodation in the vacant central area might be provided, and to whom, by the charms of eloquence and music, and the power of curiosity, it would be the interest of the jailor, by letting the seats, to provide sufficient attraction.
It seems to be necessary, before concluding, to obviate an objection, which, though it has seldom been urged as a reason against reformatory discipline, is yet considered as requiring a great deduction to be made in the estimate formed of its advantages. The objection is, that, by affording the means of employment to prisoners, we take away those means from a corresponding number of persons who are not prisoners, and thus sacrifice the deserving to the worthless.
This objection is drawn from some of the conclusious of Political Economy. That which affords the means of employment to labour is capital; in other words, the means of subsistence to the labourer, the tools he works with, and the raw material on which he is employed. When labourers are too numerous for the means of employment, it is evident that, if any new ones are added to the number, you can give employment to them only by taking it away from the old ones. It is, therefore, said, that by giving employment to prisoners, we make an equal number of honest workmen paupers.
In this objection, however, as is generally the case with false reasoning, a part only of the essential circumstances, not the whole, is taken into the account. In the first place, with regard to the prisoners, one principal part of the capital which puts labour in motion, namely, subsistence, is afforded to them of course, whether they labour or not.
In the next place, the objection proves too much: for, if it would be better, for the sake of affording employment to others, that the man should do nothing in prison, it would equally be better that he should have done nothing out of prison; better that we should have a portion of our population useless than productive. According to this doctrine, the proper rule, whenever population exceeds the demand for labour, and wages are low, would be to give subsistence to a portion of the people, on the condition of their abstaining from labour.
Thus much of the allegation is true, namely, that when to the subsistence, which you would have given at any rate, you add tools and raw materials, you so far diminish the quantity of tools and raw materials which can be furnished to others. But, counting only this circumstance, another most important circumstance is left out of the computation. This deduction of tools and raw materials is made once for all. The productive labourer replaces the capital, which employs him, with a profit. Advance to him, for one year, the food and other articles which he needs, you never need to advance any thing more. What he produces in the course of the year, replaces the food and all other articles which he has used, with a profit. But if he has not laboured, he has produced nothing; you have to supply him, therefore, with the means of subsistence, not one year, but every year, from the produce of other men’s labour. If he labours, you have to give him once, out of the general stock of means for the employment of labour, subsistence for a year, with tools and raw material, and you have no occasion to give him any more. If he is to be idle, you give him, it is true, only subsistence, without tools and raw material, the first year; but you have to give him subsistence, that is, so far to diminish the means of employing other men’s labour, every year; whereas, if he is a productive labourer, for the advance which you make to him the first year, he not only exempts you from all farther deductions from the means of employing other men, but he every year adds to those means, by the whole amount of the profit made upon his labour. To make those persons, therefore, productive labourers, whom you must at any rate subsist, is to increase, not to diminish the means of employing others.
As to another objection which is sometimes offered, that the commodities produced in a prison glut the market, and injure other manufacturers, this is still more evidently founded upon the consideration of part of the determining circumstances, without consideration of the remainder. If it is meant to apply not to one class, or two classes of commodities, but to the mass of commodities in general, it may instantly be seen to be untrue. The men who become sellers of the articles produced in a prison, become buyers to the same amount. Whenever a man sells a greater amount of articles than before, he gets the means of buying an equally greater amount. He always brings as much of a new demand into the market as he brings of a new supply. If he introduces more of some one commodity than the market requires, and reduces the profits on producing it, capital leaves that employment till the inequality is redressed. If the number of people is the same, and the quantity of commodities is encreased, it is a contradiction in terms, to say that the circumstances of such a people are not improved.
Having answered these objections, it does not occur to us that there is any thing more which in this outline it is necessary for us to add. The plan, both of construction and management, appears to us simple, and easy to be understood; and to offer securities for the attainment of the end, such as the imperfection of the human powers, seldom permit to be realized. In the delineation presented, the only merit we have to claim is that (if our endeavour has been successful) of adding perspicuity to compactness. There is not, we believe, an idea which did not originate with Mr. Bentham, whose work ought to be the manual of all those who are concerned in this material department of public administration.
J. Innes, Printer, 61, Wells-st. Oxford-st. London.