CHAPTER XVI
INSTITUTIONAL TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS

It is worth more to humanity to reduce the number of crimes than to reduce the dread sufferings of criminal punishment. -- FERRI

What can prevent the enormous misuse of energy and the pain and degradation that is crime? What can remedy the warped character of the criminal so that he will not again commit crime? These are questions that have puzzled men since laws began. Indeed, these same questions, essentially, have been to the fore since family life and any other sort of group life came into existence.


PUNISHMENT

The possible preventive and corrective that will first occur to the reader are punishment and the threat of punishment.

The meaning of this term, as many understand it, is deprivation of anything that is considered desirable: life, property, freedom, comfort of body and mind, convenience, etc., when such deprivations are inflicted on account of misdoings. As thus employed the meaning is quite too broad. For when a wayfarer takes the life of a bandit who has just now advanced as if to shoot him or to inflict a blow upon his head his act is not in the category of punishments. The parent's prohibition against his child's attendance at a party given by roustabouts in whose company the youngster has hitherto fallen into evil ways is not punishment. The judge who places a youthful offender into the charge of a juvenile protective association is not administering punishment even though the young misdemeanant chafes under the restrictions that are thus imposed upon his freedom of action. Once more, the adult who has murdered his neighbor and has been committed to the State Hospital for mental diseases has not been punished for having taken a life.

But if any one of these hypothetical persons has received one or another of the impositions that have been mentioned because the parent or court believes that pain or embarrassment that goes with treatment carries with it will "teach the culprit a lesson," that the memory of it will dissuade him in the future from committing crimes

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