The Journal of Prison Discipline and Philanthropy (New Series, No. 46, January 1907)
Resolved, That this minute be entered on our records and a copythereof with our sympathies be sent to the bereaved family.
I close my report with the earnest wish that the PennsylvaniaPrison Society may constantly widen its scope of operationsand grow in efficiency and usefulness as it grows in years.
The work I have performed during not only the last, butfor many years, has been very dear to my heart, and I havefelt that I have had an especial call to the service. Conscious,however, of my need continually of Divine guidance in allthat I have done in His name, I have earnestly sought forthat wisdom which will enable me to do all for Him.
With sincere desire that I may be a humble instrumentin His hands in winning souls unto Christ, this report isrespectfully submitted.
Joshua L. Baily was elected President of The PennsylvaniaPrison Society at the annual meeting, January, 1907. Hismembership in the Society dates from 1851 and he is theoldest member now living. For a number of years he was amember of the Acting Committee and a regular visitor ofthe Eastern Penitentiary. His great interest in prison disciplineinduced him, some years ago, to visit voluntarily allthe penitentiaries in the Atlantic States, as well as some ofthose in the States of the Central West, and he visited alsomany of the County Prisons in Pennsylvania and other States.His interest in correctional institutions was further shown byten years’ service on the Board of Managers of the Houseof Refuge.
Mr. Baily has been no less actively interested in charitableinstitutions, having been for more than fifty years a managerof The Philadelphia Society for the Employment and Instructionof the Poor, of which he is now President. He wasone of the founders, and for eighteen years the President ofThe Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charity. He isalso a member and manager of a number of other benevolentsocieties, so that by reason of long experience, in both correctionaland charitable service, Mr. Baily comes to the Presidencyof the Prison Society well equipped for the dutiesdevolving upon him. Although still engaged in mercantile business,Mr. Baily gives a large portion of his time, as well as hismeans, to benevolent purposes, and devotes thereto a degreeof vigor, both mental and physical, quite unusual in one ofhis advanced years.16
THE NATIONAL PRISON CONGRESS
Albany, New York, September, 15-20, 1906.
The National Prison Association met in its annual Congress,in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol, at Albany,N. Y., on the evening of September 15, 1906. The meeting wascalled to order by the Chairman of the Local Committee, Mr.James F. McElroy, and prayer was offered by the Rev. W. F.Wittaker, D. D., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.
The Hon. Julius E. Mayer, Attorney-General, representedthe Governor in the address of welcome in behalf of the State,and the Mayor of Albany, the Hon. Charles H. Gans, spokefor the city. The Rev. Dr. Frederick Howard Wines made theresponse, in which he dwelt in reminiscent vein on some of hisexperiences since the first meeting of the Association, and spokeespecially of the leading men who were connected with it duringits early history. Dr. Wines advocated three reforms: 1, theabolition of the “sweating” or “third-degree” system, which hecalled an outrage on the rights of prisoners; 2, the reorganizationof the jury system, so that juries could no longer be selectedby the “Gang” for the express purpose of defeating justice; and3, the dismissing of small misdemeanants on their own recognizance,instead of crowding the jails with these.
Dr. Wines then introduced the President of the Association,the Hon. Cornelius V. Collins, Superintendent of Prisonsof New York State.
Mr. Collins, after alluding briefly to the purposes and workof the Association, rehearsed the part his own State had takenin the development of plans for the scientific treatment of criminals.Having traced the successive steps in prison reform, inwhich he showed that New York State had taken the lead, hesaid:
“Public sentiment has always called for the education andtraining of the young. How much more important and ofwhat inestimable value is the saving of the adult. Situated aswe are here, at the gateway of the republic, we admit at EllisIsland more than a million new people each year. Vital statistics17in New York City gave 59,000 births last year, only 11,000of which were of American parentage. Austria, Russia andItaly each sent us 200,000 immigrants last year. What is morenatural than that many of them, wholly unacquainted with ourcountry, our language and our laws, should in their first effortat living in the land of liberty run counter to our laws and findtheir way to prison. Surely they do come, and the number isconstantly increasing. There are now 12,000 convicts in theprisons of this State, made up largely from this cosmopolitanarmy of ignorance and superstition. This is the problem wehave to solve in New York State, and while it is no doubt a factthat our State will always have more than others, it is neverthelesstrue that every State in the Union will have this class ofprisoners to deal with in increasing numbers as time goes on.”
Superintendent Collins detailed the good that followed theseparation and classification of prison inmates into groups orgrades and the training of the mental faculties through the planof education in vogue in New York State prisons. The laborand industrial training provided in connection with mentaltraining was spoken of and a plea was made for the indeterminatesentence. In conclusion Superintendent Collins made atimely argument in favor of a reform in county jails. Inthis connection he said:
“We who are familiar with the facts know that many convictsare received at the prisons who are morally poisoned andcontaminated while awaiting trial in the jails by the intimateassociation with confirmed and degraded criminals which ispermitted in these institutions. This is especially true of theyounger class of offenders, who come to the jail having respectfor authority and dread of confinement. At no period of theirpenal term are they so susceptible to external influences. Ifat this period a practical reformatory influence is exerted uponthem, their correction can in most cases be accomplished, but ifthey are left in idleness and subject to the evil influences ofdegraded companions their respect for law is soon destroyed,and they become hardened and defiant and accept the theoriesand ambitions of the confirmed criminals as their own. Thusthe man who enters jail in such condition that proper treatmentwould readily turn him from his criminal course often reachesthe prison a most discouraging subject for its reformatorysystem.
“For the interest of society, as well as the protection ofyoung offenders, the jail system should be corrected. The jailbuildings are improved and the prisoners are better fed than18they were fifty years ago; otherwise the system remains practicallythe same. Its conspicuous defects still exist. No chainis stronger than its weakest link; the extensive schemes of penaladministration in the several States have their fatally weak partin their jails. Genuine and effective organization in the UnitedStates for the salvation of criminals and alleged criminals musttake heed of these facts, which are notorious.
“May I now suggest that a committee, to be called, if youplease, the Committee on Plan and Scope, be appointed at thissession of the Prison Congress to consider the following recommendations:
“First. A rational and uniform system of jail administration.
“Second. A uniform system of education for prisonofficers.
“Third. A uniform system of education for convicts.
“Fourth. So far as possible, a uniform system of prisondiscipline.
“Fifth. A uniform system of classification.
“Sixth. A uniform system of parole, and a careful considerationof all other matters that in their judgment wouldtend to make further reforms in the treatment of the criminalclasses.
“This committee to make a report of their conclusions atthe session of 1907.”
The Congress, deeply impressed by Mr. Collins’ recommendations,subsequently appointed a strong committee to reportat the next meeting on the jail system in the United States.
Sunday, September 16th
The Conference Sermon was preached by the Rt. Rev.William Crosswell Doane, D. D., LL. D., Bishop of theDiocese of Albany, in the Cathedral of All Saints, where thedelegates attended in a body. The Bishop’s text was Matt.25:36, “I was in prison and ye came unto me.” He said inpart: “Almost by an instinctive impulse these words comefirst to the mind of the preacher at such a service, and by astriking and happy coincidence this service falls upon the Sundaywhen our Book of Common Prayer appoints for the secondmorning lesson the chapter which ends with this intenseexpression of our Lord, containing, I think, the seed principle19upon which the noble work of this Association was foundedand has been carried on. Last year the preacher took theearthly ministry of our dear divine Lord as the pattern ofthis work, ‘Who went about doing good.’
“I am only supplementing and carrying along the lineof his thought when I ask you to think of the divine Masteras giving not the pattern only, but the principle of your work.There is no contradiction in the double presentation of ourLord’s personality along this as along so many other lines.He is so essentially by His incarnation in our human naturethat we bring Him to those to whom we minister in His nameand find Him in those to whom we bring Him. And ineither of these sides the truth is set forth and enforced thatthe object of all Christian service, whether it be the work ofChristianity in religious teaching, or the work of Christianityin the administration of civic affairs, is not the violentdenunciation or vindictive infliction of punishment upon asinner, but the offer of help and the opportunity of reform.The Prison Reform Association may well claim that it describesand expresses in its name the purpose for which inChristian lands prisons exist. ‘He came not to condemn theworld, but to save it.’ ‘The Son of Man has come to seekand save the lost.’
“Curiously enough, whatever technical differences may liein the use of the various words prison and gaol and reformatory,there is one that stands out as having in its rootmeaning the very thought of that on which we are dwelling,because the penitentiary is certainly the place where men areled and drawn, through real penitence, to seek and find pardonand peace.
“I am not losing sight of the purpose of imprisonmentboth to stamp crime as crime and to protect society from thecriminal. I am only advocating the thought of reform forwhich this Association stands. If a man is a murderer condemnedto die, then there is the overwhelming duty and responsibilityof bringing him to repentance, that he may dieforgiven. If he is serving a sentence indeterminate or fora fixed time, then surely the influence and effort of prison disciplinemust be not to harden him into sullen hatred of lawand of all that the law stands for, not in a harbored purposeto revenge himself in some way, when once he is free, uponthe society which has condemned him; but to waken in himsuch a sense of shame as shall force him back to the possibilityof self-respect, and bring him to that point of realized20wrong by means of which he shall ‘come to himself.’ Thatis the Master’s own description of the prodigal son. Far ashe had strayed from his father’s house, he had strayed fartherfrom his real self, the self of his innocent childhood, the selfof his home and surroundings, the self of his true nature,and it was when the true man wakened in him that, comingfirst to himself, he came next to