Imagini ale paginilor

the present emergency, will be inadequate to house the excess population of the two larger penitentiaries.

The McNeil Island Penitentiary, located on a remote and inaccessible island in Puget Sound, Wash., is a most unsatisfactory makeshift which the Federal Government has continued to expand because of the ever-increasing number of Federal offenders who had to be sent somewhere to serve their sentences. Everyone who has visited it, including the congressional investigating committee, has recommended against its further expansion. Most of them agree that it would be wise and economical to reduce its population until it is housing only those prisoners who are sentenced from the courts of Washington and Oregon.

Before a single stone has been laid for the permanent buildings at the industrial reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio, an average daily population of about 1,400 men have been sentenced to serve their terms at this institutiɔn, which is being planned to house ultimately but 1,000 men.

It will probably be five years before the prisons authorized by the proposed bill can be completed. In the meantime the Federal prison population of approximately 10,000 will probably continue to increase at the same rate as has been the case in the past few years—10 per cent-even though probation and parole are used to the utmost. More severe penalties and larger appropriations for law enforcement point inevitably to a mounting prison population.

But the prisons must do more than herd men in large groups behind bare walls if the public is to be protected by turning men out of prison better than when they went in. Prisons must be so limited in size as to make possible the redemption of the men through specialized treatment of each inmate. The prison officials must be able to become acquainted with their charges and help to solve their problems. Institutions with two or three thousand men within their confines must necessarily treat large numbers in a whole sale manner. Individual treatment is all but impossible when the prison is large.

For the reasons stated, the need for the institutions authorized by the proposed legislation is paramount and pressing.

Your committee urges immediate approval of the constructive Federal prison program proposed by these bills.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

APRIL 21 (calendar day, April 25), 1930.—Ordered to be printed

Mr. HEBERT, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the



(To accompany H. R. 7412]

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 7412) to provide for the diversification of employment of Federal prisoners, for their training and schooling in trades and occupations, and for other purposes, after full consideration, reports the same favorably and recommends the passage of the bill with the following amendments:

Page 2, line 2, after the word “roads" insert “the cost of which is borne exclusively by the United States".

Page 2, line 5, after the word “in” insert the word “major”.

Page 2, line 24, beginning with the word “no” strike out through the word "produce" on page 3, line 7, and insert in lieu thereof the following: "any industry established under authority of this act be so operated as not to curtail the production within its present limits, of any existing arsenal, navy yard, or other Government workshop".

Page 4, line 3, after the word “institutions” insert "heretofore or hereafter established"

Page 4, line 20, before the word "machinery” insert the word "industrial”.

Page 4, line 25, after the word "employees" insert "engaged in any industrial enterprise".

Page 5, line 2, before the word "buildings" insert the word “industrial".

Page 5, line 11, beginning with the word “as,” strike out through the comma in line 12.

Page 5, line 15, after the period inseri the following: “Any disputes as to the price, quality, suitability, or character of the products manufactured in any prisoni industry and offered to any Government department shall be arbitrated by a board consisting of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Superintendent of Supplies of the General Supply Committee, and the Chief of the United States Bureau of Efficiency, or their representatives. The decision of said board shall be final and binding upon all parties.”

Page 6, line 5, before the period insert the following: "for the first year or any part thereof, and for any succeeding year or any part thereof not to exceed five days for each month of actual employment in said industry or said camp

Next in importance to the bill providing new institutions (H. R. 6807) and the bill providing for a modern and adequate system of Federal penal administration (H. R. 7832) is this bill which deals with the problem of diversification of employment of Federal prisoners and their industrial training and trade instruction.

It is unanimously conceded that idleness in prisons breeds disorder and aggravates criminal tendencies. If there is any hope for reformation and rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes, it will be founded upon the acquisition by the prisoner of the requisite skill and knowledge to pursue a useful occupation and the development of habits of industry. An important factor in connection with the employment of prison inmates is the diversification of industry so as to reduce to a minimum the competition with private industry and free labor. The committee has given careful consideration to this bill and believes it deals in an adequate way with these important problems.

No bill of this kind can meet entirely the views of all those interested, but the committee believes that this bill, as amended, is a fair and practical solution which meets every substantial objection, and that it will in practice avoid injustice. The committee in its consideration of the general factors involved in this subject has given careful thought to the interests of all who may be concerned, whether directly or remotely. By broad diversification of industries, by restricting the sale of prison products to Federal governmental markets, and by providing, as does the Senate amendment, that the activity of no governmental workshop shall be curtailed, no citizen or group will be seriously affected, but by the whole program contemplated by the bill the interest of the general public will be most directly and beneficially served. No person now on the pay roll of the Government will lose his job by reason of the employment of the prisoners as provided in this bill. To the extent that Federal prisoners may be employed on building of Federal roads and other governmental projects which probably could not be financed otherwise, this bill offers a further solution of the prison problem. Such little difficulty as may result from the administration of prison employment is greatly outweighed by the public good to be accomplished.

There is appended hereto a statement from the Department of Justice outlining the purposes of the bill.

PRISON INDUSTRIES BILL The purpose of the bill to provide for the diversification of employment of Federal prisoners and for their training and schooling in trades and occupations is twofold:

1. To give the Attorney General broad general authority to establish industries in the Federal correctional institutions so that he may provide useful and stimulating employment for every inmate and sell the products of their labors to some Government department or establishment; and

2. To permit the Attorney General to make available the services of the inmates to other Government departments for the purpose of constructing roads and carrying on other public works.

The need for some such legislation is at once apparent to all who are familiar with the existing situation. There is a large amount of idleness among our Federal prisoners. We now have productive enterprises for about 600 men in the cotton-duck mill at Atlanta and an equal number of men in the shoe factory at Leavenworth. There are no industries of any kind at McNeil Island, the Industrial Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio, or the Industrial Institution for Women at Alderson, W. Va. There are now at least 6,000 able-bodied men and women in our prisons who should have employment.

The baneful effects of idleness among prisoners has long been recognized by both penologists and laymen. Idleness among prisoners complicates discipline, encourages degeneracy, and breeds contempt for society. Prison employment is a vital factor in crime prevention and in the reconstruction of the criminal. If a man is kept in idleness or a semiidleness for years his mental and physical faculties so deteriorate that he is constitutionally unable to adjust himself to the competitive social system he finds when he leaves the prison. If a prisoner has nothing to occupy his time or his mind, he inevitably begins to rehearse plans for future criminal activities. We are told by the psychologists that whenever contemplated action is rehearsed, a mental habit, a behavior pattern, is formed ready to take place in action at some unwary moment of temptation. Under such circumstances no conscious direction is required; the mental pattern directs the desired behavior with the swift and unconscious deftness of a wellformed habit. Thus it is that idleness actually induces recidivism and causes crime.

There are also strong economic arguments for employing the prisoner. H6 should be required to earn the cost of his maintenance, pull his own weight, and not be permitted to live in idleness at the expense of the taxpayer. There is no interest of capital nor labor sufficient to justify idleness in our penitentiaries, for the interest of all the people is paramount.

The methods provided in the bill for employing the prisoners are approved by penologists, by free labor, and by industry. The bill contemplates the employment of the prisoners on the State-use" principle. Under the system the Government operates the industry in its entirety, and disposes of the product to tax-supported institutions and agencies. It has nothing in common with the contract-labor system where the services of the inmates are leased or farmed out to some individual who supplies the capital, the equipment, and the supervision, and sells the prison-made goods on the open market in competition with free labor and industry.

But even under the State-use system there is some competition with outside industry, as it absorbs the Government market. To reduce this competition to & minimum the prison industries must be so diversified as to make competition inconsequential. It is unfair, for instance, to the textile industry to supply all of the cotton fabrics used by the Government and none of the furniture; the shoe industry has just grounds for complaint if the whole Government market for shoes is supplied by prison industries; and none of the tinware or foundry products used by the Government are made by convict labor. Moreover, one of the prime purposes of the prison is to teach the inmates a trade or vocation which they may follow upon release. The men who are received in prison are from all walks of life, and opportunity must be afforded each group to follow the line for which he is best fitted by training and experience. Then, too, the Government market is limited, and if employment is to be found for every inmate the industries must be diverse in character and practical of installation from the standpoint of cost of equipment and buildings, availability of raw materials, and transportation of the finished product.

Since prison industries must be so managed and operated that they will produce articles and commodities which are in every respect the equivalent of those produced by commercial concerns at the same or less cost, they must not be restricted or hampered by too much law or regulations. General authority must be given the managers of this business to establish industries to meet changing styles or conditions, abandon an unprofitable enterprise, or equip an existing enterprise with modern machinery. It is for these reasons that the bill gives the Attorney General broad powers to provide employment for all able-bodied prisoners.

The employment of convicts on the construction of roads and other public works is generally approved. Many States utilize a large percentage of their prisoners in this manner. It serves the double purpose of giving the prisoner

« ÎnapoiContinuați »