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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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no tobacco, and should be deprived of every kind of
amusement; they should be permitted to have no
books, except the Bible, and perhaps it might be most
beneficial that that only be allowed them, when, in
the judgment of the keeper, their minds appeared to
be in a disposition to read it with profit. No person
should be permitted to converse with any prisoner,
except the keeper, or those appointed to have the
superintendence of the prison, or a magistrate. If the
prisoner be guilty of a second offence, he should be
tried for it, and receive such punishment as the court,
in their discretion, shall award him, either to be re-
committed, or sentenced to the state prison.

The plan of confining the above description of
minor offenders in solitude without employment from
three to thirty days, cannot fail, frequently, of having
the most beneficial effect, as the prisoner will be then
forced to reflect on his past life. It may also tend to
convince the convict that his punishment is just; and,
unless this effect be produced on the mind of the
prisoner, unless he be led to believe that his own
welfare, as well as the public good, is consulted in
his punishment, it will be in vain to expect reforma-
tion ; but, on the contrary, to confine a man in a soli-
tary cell for months, or years, is a punishment which
may appear to the criminal unnecessarily harsh and
unjust, hardens his temper, and excites those feelings
of enmity towards his species, that the thought of
doing them an injury by the commission of new
crimes is gratifying to him.

If it should be urged that solitary confinement will
be expensive, it may be answered, that any expense
which it can possibly occasion, should be considered
as nothing in comparison to the accomplishment of
the great object which it concerns. And, besides, in
proportion as crimes are lessened or decreased, or as
they are summarily punished, the expenses of the
state, in relation to the apprehension, detention, and
prosecution of criminals, are diminished.