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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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filth, or idleness. In this condition, corrupting and
corrupted, their imprisonment, so far from tending to
produce the amendment of the culprits, or to secure
society against the effects of their future misconduct,
serves, by the contagion of example and the exaspe-
ration of bad passions, to render them an hundred
fold more vicious and untractable. It is, in truth, a
nursery of criminals for the state prison. As a remedy
for this defect in the penal system, it is suggested,
that a building should be erected by the corporation,
large enough to contain sixty cells, of the same dimen-
sions as those in the state prison-that the police
magistrates should have power to try, in a summary
way, and to sentence to solitary confinement in these
cells, vagrants, drunkards, riotous and disorderly per-
sons, &c. for a time not exceeding thirty days;—that
the quarter sessions of the city should send persons
convicted of assaults and batteries, petit larcenies,
and such offences as are not aggravated or atrocious,
for a time not exceeding sixty or ninety days. The
convicts should be kept in these cells in perfect soli-
tude, and on spare diet, in the manner practised in
the state prison. Such a punishment, for sixty days,
would be more severe and terrible, and tend more to
the prevention of crimes, than confinement, for one
or two years, to hard labour in the state prison. It
would also tend more to the reformation of the offen-
der himself. Detached from vicious companions, from
temptation, and from all means of gratifying his
depraved appetites, conscience would have time to
awaken a sense of guilt and remorse for his past
folly and misconduct.

Should a plan of such obvious utility be adopted
and carried into execution, it would not then be neces-
sary to send convicts to the state prison for a shorter
period than three years. For every person once con-
fined in the solitary cells, who should, after his release,
commit a second offence, would deserve to be sen-
tenced to hard labour for at least three years. Indeed,