The Science of Penology. By Henry M. Boies.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1901.
The murder of President
McKinley has aroused passions and called forth opinions which indicate
the importance of the subject here treated. The episode has indeed
been a lesson in penology, not only because it has directed attention
to the causes of crime, but also because it has revealed the criminal
impulse in hosts of people who thought it a meritorious act to declare
that the assassin should be put to death by the mob. It would be
unfortunate were no improvement in the administration of justice
to result from this conspicuous crime; and when the foolish outcry
over “stamping out anarchy” has subsided, the timeliness of Mr.
Boies’s book should be recognized. The anarchist murderer having
been disposed of, the causes of crime, the laws defining it, and
its prevention by the intelligent treatment of criminals and those
who are likely to be criminals, are subjects demanding immediate
Without going so far as to agree with
Mr. Boies that there is a complete science of penology, we can at
least maintain that knowledge is far in advance of practice. For
years the county jail has been a shame and reproach, undefended
and indefensible, but it is everywhere maintained. Here criminals,
tramps, paupers, imbeciles, persons charged with crime, but who
may be innocent, and witnesses charged with no crime, of all ages,
are poured in and stirred together; a seething vat of moral and
physical filth. As Mr. Eugene Smith has said, the prison turns out
more direct results in the shape of confirmed criminals than any
other agency “within the range of experience or devised by the folly
of man.” Let those who are so hot to stamp out anarchy consider
the responsibility of Government in this matter.