A Study of Women Delinquents in New York State

A Study of Women Delinquents in New York State

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A Study of Women Delinquents in New York State

A Study of Women Delinquents in New York State

Read FREE!

Excerpt

So long as prisons were used merely for the purpose of punishment or for holding in safety those who were dangerous to society, the behavior of prisoners was a matter of relatively small importance. They could be kept in subjection by force if necessary and tractability on their part was desirable chiefly because it made life easier for those in charge.

With the coming of the reformatory and the adoption of the principle of indeterminate sentence and release on parole behavior within the institution assumed supreme importance. This could not be otherwise for there were no other criteria in the hands of prison authorities. If a prisoner were obedient, observed all rules cheerfully, was respectful to his superiors, in the institutional school showed himself willing to learn, in the shop or at other tasks worked faithfully and more or less well, if he expressed to his spiritual adviser contrition for his wrong doing and his resolve to amend his ways, he was a "good prisoner." Another prisoner "kicked against the pricks" from the moment of entrance; he was moody or sullen, or quick tempered, or stupid, or resentful, disrespectful to his keepers, quarrelsome among his mates. He was unwilling to take advantage of any opportunities for self-improvement, possibly he exhibited not only no inclination to learn but showed absolute incapacity for so doing. He was a malingerer or he did his work so poorly that no one wanted him in the gang. He was a "bad prisoner." The former received privileges within the institution and an early parole. The latter was held and daily became a worse prisoner until the time came when under the law he had to be released. Sometimes, not infrequently, the "good prisoner" failed to make good outside. Sometimes to the surprise of the authorities the "bad prisoner" made good. Such disappointments and surprises could have but one effect. Slowly but surely there dawned the recognition of the need of an intensive study of the individual, not only of his behavior in the institution but why his behavior was what it was. What were the causes of which his behavior was the symptom?

When the first reformatories for adults opened their doors we . . .

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