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of the above, many were of such a nature as scarcely to call for any notice from us. There were again other manufactures so good as to deserve especial mention. Whilst we can say nothing in commendation of the paper produced at the Jails, nor feel able to speak in especial terms of their gamlahs, thilias, bathing stools, roasting hooks or iron hinges, we can afford to pause and examine with much interest and pleasure, the door mats, baskets, blankets, towelling, cotton cloths, thread, gunny bags, and carpets.
It is quite possible that some of the articles most deserving of praise, are the least remunerative to the Jails; but this, although an element in the entire calculation, is after all not of primary importance. There can be no doubt, but that, as far as excellence in quality is concerned, a large number of the articles produced afford a good example to the non-convict workman. Whether the free work-people may find it to their advantage to imitate the excellence of the superior Jail manufactures, is a question that can only be solved by time. Probably in the more remote districts, the cost of the additional labor bestowed, would scarcely meet with a corresponding value, but this could hardly be the case in localities within reach of populous neighbourhoods, where quality has become of some moment in most articles of popular demand.
The articles which most especially attracted the attention of consumers of the commercial class, were the various gunny bags, which were as superior in every respect to the ordinary produce tion of the village looms, as could well be imagined. Indeed they have long been known as the Jail bags of Bengal, and, under that name, are known in foreign markets, for their great strength and durability. We understood that on the first few days of the exhibition, more contracts were offered for this description of gunny bags, than could be taken by the Jails producing them, than could be executed during the current year. It would appear
advisable that this branch of manufacture should be commenced in other Jails, whenever they were not at so great a distance from the market, as to render the transit charges on the bags too heavy. There seems to be no limit to the consumption of these articles in a trade which is yearly restricted only by the impossibility of enabling the supply to keep pace with the demand.
There can be no reasonable doubt as to the success of this introductory exhibition of Jail manufactures. Others will follow yearly, and the public will not only be thus enabled to mark the progress in the industry and skill of our convicts, but able to supply some of their wants to an extent, and with goods of a quality, which in this non-progressing country it would be elsewhere
impossible to do. Having thus considered this portion of the subject, we would desire to turn our attention to other points; but before offering the suggestions we have to make, we would say a few words upon the subject of the convicts themselves, their offences, and the degrees of punishment and probation called for in their several cases, It is necessary that we do this before giving our opinion as to the quality and degree of labor, which we think, should be exacted from them.
In considering this part of our subject, there are four results to be kept in view, viz :-the proper amount of punishment to be inflicted on each prisoner for the offence committed by him : -the example to be made with a view of deterring from future offences in others the reformatory training of the convicts ;and lastly, the saving of some portion of our Jail outlay, by the labor of the prisoners. Of the latter object, we do not intend to say much, because we believe it of far less moment than any of the others, and too much regard to it might weaken the effect of the larger question. We must of course omit from this portion of our remarks, the life-prisoners, whose crimes and punishment do not bring them under the same considerations.
For our present purpose, we may safely and properly divide the whole of the remaining convicts into two great divisions, those who have committed simple misdemeanors, and those who have been found guilty of serious offences. According to our pre-conceived ideas on crimes and punishments, as gathered in Europe, and more especially in England, we should have been tempted to apply the ordinarily accepted rules to these cases, and to have said with all confidence in our western judgment, that the misdemeanors might be amply recompensed, and offended society satisfied by the lightest occupation, whilst the perpetrators of the heavier offences against our laws, should be placed at gang-work on the roads, at brick-making, or other heavy and laborious tasks. proportionate to the serious nature of their offences.
In this we should have fallen into error. The state of native society, the habits of the natives, and the predisposing causes to crime amongst them, all differ most materially from the state of things in European countries. It is to be regretted that we possess so little in the shape of criminal statistics for any part of India. The labors of the Statist, at all times valuable, can hardly be over-estimated when brought to bear upon crime and its repression. In this country, too, where social defects and evils have such a widely different character from those in the west, we the more stand in need of correct data to guide us in our proceedings.
The Government will do well to lose no time in putting themselves in possession of as ample a supply of statistics, bearing on crime and criminals, as it may be possible to obtain with the means at their command. We, however, are already in a position to shew that like effects do not spring from like causes in the East and West. Without entering upon any minute details as to the many descriptions of crimes and offences committed in this country by the natives of the land, we will content ourselves with considering them all as classed under the two principal heads to which we have already alluded, viz: crimes and misdemeanors.
In the Appendix* to the Prison Discipline Report of 1838, may be found a very ably-penned communication from the Magistrate of Shahabad to the Officiating Judge of the Court of Circuit for the Division of Arrah, upon the subject of criminals and their treatment in Jail. The remarks therein are so entirely to the purpose of this article, and appear to be written by one so thoroughly conversant with the subject, that we prefer giving the official opinion on the classification of criminals, and the consideration their cases require, in the words employed in the paper.
"I assume it," says the Magistrate of Shahabad," as an axiom, that almost all persons convicted of misdemeanors, are landed proprietors or agriculturists; and that all those convicted of burglary, theft and the higher offences, or connivances at the
same, are invariably tradesmen, and mechanics, or persons of the "lowest castes, such as domes and gwallas, who can be taught any • trade without violence to their religious prejudices. It will be
seen that, as far as regards this Zillah, I am justified in the
assumption, for out of sixty-five, (the total number sentenced to ' private labor, when I last made the calculation) there was only
one tradesman, the greater proportion being brahmins, rajpoots ' and persons of the superior classes. This proportion is not • accidental. It arises out of the nature of things, and will
always continue in the same ratio. Affray is the only prevalent
species of misdemeanor. The industrious and well-disposed • tradesman has neither interest nor leisure to assist in the com• mission of this offence, while to him, of opposite habits and
disposition, felony is a more lucrative source of transgression. • The same observation applies to persons of the lower orders
above specified. They have little or no interest in the soil, the ' fertile parent of affrays. In cases of misdemeanor, the reforma'tion of the offender is not the object. His general character
may be excellent. The chief, and perhaps the only object in • such cases, is to deter him by punishment from a repetition of
Appendix, No. 31.
the offence. The persons whose reformation of character is • principally desirable, are those who are guilty of felonies, among
which theft and robbery are the most prominent. But this reformation can only be effected by infusing into such persons a
habit of industry, and to ensure this, an active and vigilant 'superintendence over their labors is requisite. They are too easy
in their circumstances to work for the sake of the compensation ; ' and the terms of their imprisonment are comparatively too short ' to make it worth their while to work out their liberation. The
other description of offenders have, on the contrary, every inducement to prove themselves worthy of indulgences held out, and many of them would, I am convinced, manifest the dis
position, if they had the opportunity, to display their industry; s considering therefore private task-work as the best method of
stimulating industry,—and industry to be essentially necessary to
reformation,-and reformation to be only or chiefly requisite in ' the cases of persons convicted of felonies and the more serious
offences, I am of opinion, that private labor ought to be includ'ed generally in the sentences of thieves and robbers.”
The official report goes on to advocate, on the same grounds, that, as far as a public example is concerned, prisoners of a superior grade convicted of misdemeanors, should be placed to work in public on roads or some such occupation, where their employment would act in a salutary manner by impressing the minds of rich and poor, that offended justice is no respecter of persons; whilst to place the poor wretch who committed an offence of a higher character under the extreme pressure of destitution and hunger, in the like position, would not only be without effect on himself, but also on others, who would be rather tempted to pity the poor creature, whilst he would be in no degree reformed by this mode of punishment.
As regards the influence which the employment of the convict during confinement, may have on his after-conduct and occupation, the same authority is equally clear and emphatic :
“ Proceeding on the principle which I have assumed, and which I hold to be incontrovertible, that persons guilty of ' thefts, burglaries, and the higher offences, are, generally speak'ing, either tradesmen and mechanics, or domes, gwallas, do
sauds, pusbans, and other persons of low caste, who have no prescribed occupation, and who can exercise any handicraft without detriment to their religious persuasion; and that those
convicted of misdemeanors are agriculturists and persons of 'the superior classes; the inference I think must follow, that as 'to the question of inculcating habits of industry to be available ' to the prisoner on his release from confinement, the object
must be in a great measure defcated by the restrictions pre
'scribed by the Nizamut Adawlut; for, by employing the first 'description of offender on the roads, he loses his familiarity
with his own proper art in which he has been educated, and acquires no other which can be serviceable to him afterwards; while, by employing the second description in manufactures,
no ultimate benefit will accrue to the individual ; for it is ' obvious, that he will not continue an occupation through choice,
which he was driven into by compulsion, and to which his ( nature is averse. Thus neither class would be benefitted by
employment which they would relinquish the moment they were at liberty to do so : those who had been accustomed to any
particular trade or manufacture, would be positively injured by ' a long discontinuance from the exercise of their skill; while ' those of the inferior classes, to whom no handicraft had been 'familiar, would leave the Jail with their morals probably unim' proved, and in a state of total incapacity to provide an honest livelihood for themselves and families; their future support
depending mainly on their own exertions, from the unwilling'ness notoriously displayed by the respectable part of the com'munity, to take into service persons who have been punished
for theft and similar offences. Had they been taught while in
confinement the simple art of making baskets even, they ' might easily have secured an honest and independent livelihood.
Those of the highest tribes, on the other hand, who have been
compelled to engage in manufactures which form the occupa' tion of the inferior classes, will return to their families with a
reputation blemished from no fault of their own; and with a stigma annexed to their characters which no plea of want of free agency can wholly remove. To degrade a man in the
estimation of others, and consequently in his own, is not the ' most likely mode of making him a virtuous member of the
community. In every light in which I can view the subject, • to insure honest industry after liberation, it appears to me that ' misdemeanors should generally be punished with public, and thefts and similar offences, with private labor.”
Whether criminal statistics of the present day would bear out the statement contained in the Report of 1838, as to the classes chiefly committing crimes and misdemeanors, may be left an open question; though we cannot avoid the belief that a considerable number of those convicted of the more serious offences, are in some districts of the agricultural class. An inundation, or a long continued want of rain, will sometimes so blight the prospects of the poorer class of ryots, that absolute destitution not unfrequently drives them to the commission of offences other than mere misdemeanors.
But be this as it may, we are agreed in the maintenance of