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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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terials; but no contractor should be allowed to enter
the prison, or to have any intercourse whatever with
the convicts. The prisoners might safely be employ-
ed during the day in the yards, and effectually pre-
vented from all improper intercourse or conversation
with each other, provided the prison discipline, before
recommended in the answer to the third query, be
rigidly enforced. The cells should not be used, ex-
cept to confine a convict on a low diet, when he vio-
lates any by-law of the prison. The by-laws relating
to the government of the convicts, such as preserving
the greatest degree of cleanliness in the persons, and
in the rooms, halls, kitchen, and throughout every
part of the prison, &c. should be very minutely de-
tailed, printed and fixed in different parts of the
prison, and no offence against those rules should ever
escape being punished, under any pretence whatever.

The confinement of criminals in a solitary cell du-
ring the whole time of their sentence, say, from one
to five years, or more, appears to be unnecessarily
severe. Suppose the term of his punishment to be
three years, and that he should have some kind of
daily employment, yet it appears to me, that the pro-
ject is cruel and unjust, as it is highly probable
the health of the convict would be impaired if not de-
stroyed, and in many cases it would produce insanity.
We well know, that cruel and severe punishment
has never proved sufficient to deter persons from per-
petrating crimes; and to confine a man for years in
a solitary cell, will be more likely to harden his
mind, and brutalize his disposition, than to produce
his reformation. I am very willing to admit, that
the observations I have made, may not be correct in
every instance, as cases may occur, that will serve to
prove, that a man may be confined in solitude for
several years without injury to his health, and also
that reformation has effected its perfect work; but I
am well assured that such instances would very sel-
dom occur.