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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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It is acknowledged by all, who have reflected on
the best means of establishing a penitentiary system,
most likely to protect society against crimes, that
the construction of the building should be such, as to
prevent the convicts from improper intercourse with
each other; and that it is impossible this important
end can be attained, unless each be at night lodged
separately in a cell. It is in vain to expect any
beneficial effects under the best regulations that can
be devised, if the prison admit a number of prisoners
to lodge in one room.

During the day they may be employed with safety
in the yards, under the charge of keepers, and by a
rigid discipline, all improper intercourse prevented;
this has been fully demonstrated by my own expe-
rience as an inspector, during the first four years
after the state prison in this city was erected. It is
only necessary to punish any offender the moment he
commits an offence, by confinement in a solitary cell
on bread and water. No person should be allowed
to visit the prison, unless accompanied by a magis-
trate or one of the inspectors. In the foregoing part
of this communication, I have stated my sentiments, on
the indispensable necessity of preserving the most per-
fect degree of cleanliness, in the person of the prisoners,
and throughout the prison, as it will produce the
best moral effects in the preservation of order, and
aid materially in the reformation of the convicts.

No undue severity should be exercised towards
prisoners. The best general system of government
and management is by mild treatment.

The plan of fixing tasks, or agreeing to make al-
lowance for extra work performed by convicts, ought
not to be adopted; it is bad policy, as it tends to
lessen too much the principle of punishment. It
would be much better to give the convict, when dis-
charged on the expiration of his sentence, a small
sum to serve him till he can get into a situation to
earn something by his own industry, and if he be