INDUSTRIAL HEALTH IN INDIA 169 surance and hospitalization may become...
INDUSTRIAL HEALTH IN INDIA 169
surance and hospitalization may become their sordid existence, and grow to the ful-
accomplished facts in course of time, these stature of their manhood, walk with grace-
alone cannot offer positive solution to the ful bodies and smile with beaming eyes.
problem of the workers' health. We must And this can be done only by a co-ordination
also give the employees a constructive pro-
of the positive and negative factors which
gramme whereby they will be lifted out of alone build up the health of a community.
New Trends in the Prevention of Crime
P. K. TARAPORE
THE best way to prevent imprisonment tion and the accused is released on proba-
is to prevent crime as far as possible. tion. Instead of being sent to jail, he is
A healthy public opinion is perhaps placed under supervision of a Probation
one of the best means of preventing crime. Officer for a prescribed period. He is free
A study of the criminal statistics of various to follow his ordinary course of life but on
countries reveals that in places where the conditions imposed by the Court. These
public take a serious view of crime and show conditions are generally—
no sympathy towards criminals there are
1. That the Offender should obey such
very few offences committed. When the same instructions as the Probation Officer may
public, as for example in England, actively give and inform him of his movements and
co-operates with the police and the judiciary change of address.
the incidence of crime goes down further.
2. That he should take up some honest
On the other hand, when people look upon occupation approved by the Probation
crime with indifference, or when they show Officer.
very little respect for law and order, or for
3. That he should not associate with
the police, or for the judiciary, the tendency bad characters.
is for the incidence of crime to go up. Public
4. That he should not commit any
opinion in India is not yet sufficiently en-
offence whatsoever during the period of pro-
lightened in this matter and it is necessary bation.
to educate it persistently till every citizen
The Court of course has power to impose
looks upon prevention of crime as his parti-
any other conditions it deems fit.
cular interest. Anti-crime propaganda can
Probation is not a " l e t off" as some
do a lot of good if it is undertaken seriously people think. During the period of proba-
and inspired with a purpose.
tion a good Probation Officer subjects his
The Probation System.
—One of the most charge to serious discipline and that is often
successful measures adopted in modern times sufficient to reform him. Another great
as an alternative to imprisonment in suit-
advantage of this system is that it is en-
able cases is the Probation System. The forced by the consent of the offender. Pro-
system is generally applied to first offenders, bation cannot be imposed without such
especially when they are young, and the consent and this immediately introduces the
offence committed is not serious. Courts, element of voluntary co-operation on the
however, have full discretion in the matter. part of the accused. In addition to the
It is necessary to have a clear idea of what great good that this system does to the
is meant by probation in this connection as offender and the community, probation has
the term has various meanings.
the virtue of being the least expensive.
Probation is a postponed sentence. The The expense of maintaining the accused in
sentence is not fixed at the time of convic-
an institution is obviated. It has also a
170 P. K. TARAPORE
more important social virtue in that it pre-
some questions with regard to probation.
vents the severance of the domestic and They may be briefly stated here :—
family ties and avoids the stigma invariably
1. How are you to know that the system
associated with imprisonment which affects will be successful ? And is there any
an offender in his ultimate rehabilitation. guarantee that a measure that has been found
There is a definite disciplinary purpose in useful in Europe will be beneficial in India ?
probation and it is true that strict compli-
2. Will it be possible to get as Proba-
ance with the conditions usually makes tion Officers men and women of honesty,
exacting demands upon the probationer. It integrity and firmness ?
is really conditional liberty. The conditions
3. Where is the money to come from
are imposed not so much as a punishment to support the system ?
as with the object of assisting the proba-
4. How are we to know that the system
tioner in accustoming himself to a more will not lead to increase in crime ?
ordered and disciplined mode of living.
It is always difficult to prophesy exactly
The question is often asked " I s proba-
what measure of success will attend any
tion a punishment ?" At the first thought reform ; and it is also true that what may be
it would look as if the answer is in the successful in one country may not prove to
negative. But probation frequently involves be so in another. But this is no argument
demands on the probationer which must against giving a fair trial to a reform for
partake of the nature of punishment certain-
which there is a good deal to be said.
ly more severe than other methods such as Human nature being the same all over the
fining which are admitted forms of punish-
world, if the principles underlying the
ment. The main difference between proba-
probation system are sound, there is no
tion and imprisonment is that probation does reason why it should not be successful in
not entirely deprive the offender of his India.
It is true t h a t the Probation Officer is
In England this system has done an the backbone of the system and unless he or
enormous amount of good, reducing the she were earnest, honest and firm, the whole
number of committals to prison by two-thirds system would be a failure. But no country
with the result that half the prisons have has a monopoly of such persons. Social
been closed as no longer needed. This con-
service in India is not unknown. A country
stitutes a practical answer to those critics which contains such well known institutions
who go on warning that probation will cost as the Servants of India Society, the Rama-
a great deal of money.
krishna Mission, the Seva Sadan and many
If figures of short sentences are studied others need not despair of finding social
we shall find that thousands and thousands workers. Moreover, the recently started Tata
of young men are sent to prison for periods Institute of Social Sciences has already pro-
not exceeding 3 months. It will be agreed duced and will go on producing trained
that none of these persons could have been workers year after year.
found guilty of a serious offence, and cer-
We have already seen that instead of
tainly none of them could have been habi-
being a financial burden to the State proba-
tuals. The incarceration of this large number tion leads to considerable economy. It is
of men and women for so short a period is a true that owing to the main population of
of money and energy. Moreover, as India being rural, economy will not be so
we have seen, it can do a lot of harm. Most great here as in England. But there is no
of these cases could be dealt with under some doubt that it will lead to substantial savings.
As an answer to the fourth question we
The writer has been
repeatedly asked may point to the
experience of countries
NEW TRENDS IN THE PREVENTION OF CRIME 171
Where this system has been tried. Probation honest lives.
has never led to au increase in crime.
I Let us further clarify what is meant by
The Probation Officer, as we have noted, preventive detention and for what class of
being the backbone of the system, he or she offenders it is prescribed. In the first place
has to be selected with great care. They it must be noted that the persons who are
need serious training and only those who awarded this punishment are those who have
show willingness to work hard and have a had several previous convictions and had
passion for service should be retained. A moreover been pronounced judicially
Probation Officer has not only to be sym-
incorrigible habituals. The English system
pathetic but firm. When the probationer may be briefly described here. An institu-
breaks the discipline the Probation Officer tion for preventive detention must neces-
has to pull him up and, in the event of mis-
sarily differ from an ordinary prison. As
behaviour, place the probationer before the the main object of the system is the segrega-
Court which will then pass the sentence tion of the prisoner and protection of society,
which had been postponed.
there is no need to submit the prisoner to the
—While among rigours of an ordinary prison. It is quite
modern methods probation is held to be an sufficient to keep him under a certain amount
appropriate treatment for juvenile first of restraint and make a last attempt at per-
offenders, preventive detention is viewed as suading him to lead the life of a normal
the correct way of dealing with confirmed citizen. He is encouraged to behave himself
habituals. Every country possesses a better and better by offering him privileges
number of apparently incorrigible and habi-
as he is promoted from lower to higher
tual criminals who are the despair of the stages. Ultimately he is made to work "on
police, of the judiciary and the prison autho-
trust" and when this stage is completed and
rities. Most of such men live in a vicious after a careful, prolonged and satisfactory
circle. They alternate between short periods period of observation the prisoner is allowed
of freedom and the usual process of falling to work without supervision. After passing
into the hands of the police, going to the the "probationary stage" satisfactorily, the
criminal courts and to prison. This goes on prisoner is released on licence on the recom-
time after time till one begins to wonder mendation of a committee. For the remain-
whether they deserve freedom at all. It ing period of his sentence he is released on
apparently seems as though a good case parole and the officers of the Prisoners' Aid
could be made out for taking away the man's Society assist him in every way to establish
liberty for the rest of his life. This, how-
himself as an honest member of society.
ever, is a very serious step. And it seems The system has worked with considerable
to us that the English system of preventive success in England and it is long overdue
detention is a good compromise. As the for adoption in this country.
name itself implies, a person under this
It is not necessary to adopt the English
system is detained in a special institution as system in toto.
The two main points one
a preventive to committing further crime. must secure are :—
The persons detained are incorrigibles about
1. Segregation of the individual under
whom, nevertheless, the authorities still proper supervision.
entertain hopes of eventual reformation.
2. Keeping him busy with the work of
The detention is comparatively for long earning his daily bread.
periods during which the prisoner passes
Perhaps the best and most economical
through various degrees of freedom. The way of dealing with this problem in India
aim of the system is to gradually reform the would be the establishment of colonies more
criminals and make them lead comparatively or less on the lines of the Salvation Army's
172 P. K. TARAPORE
colonies for criminal tribes of India. Pro-
give short sentences, another long ones, for?
perly managed the financial aspect need not the same offence. The sole aim should be
make one anxious. A certain amount of to protect the public and not to deal out
initial expenditure is inevitable. But once purely retributive punishments ; and society
this is defrayed a colony gets more and more can be protected only when the prisoner has
self-supporting. Agricultural operations, ceased to be a source of danger. The effect
with cottage industries thrown in, could be of imprisonment upon the criminal can only
made to yield a budget which would not only be a matter of actual observation. It must
pay for efficient supervision but would also therefore be recognised that if a body of
provide an adequate living wage for the responsible persons constituting a revisory
colonists. By segregating the most dangerous
board recommends the modification of
criminals, we not only safeguard life and sentences in course of time and in the light
property but materially help to reduce the of further experience, it is neither a reflection
number of criminals in general, while the on the judiciary nor an action fraught with
saving effected of money, time and labour danger to society.
is considerable. Since preventive detention
Revision is not applied to habitual pri-
as understood in England has not so far been soners or other dangerous criminals. If
introduced into India, special legislation after careful consideration by a board and
will of course be necessary.
consultation with local officers, it is decided
Revision of Sentences.
—There is much that the prisoner deserves to be shown consid-
diversity of opinion as to the wisdom of
eration and released on parole no harm will
revising sentences once they are passed. be done. In fact a system of revision will
Some people think that once a sentence is change the mentality of all long term prison-
awarded a prisoner should be made to ers who will make every effort to discipline
serve it in full. Others argue that by the themselves and work cheerfully, with the
reduction of a sentence crime is encouraged, ultimate object of earning the approbation
the majesty of the law slighted and the of the board. This is in itself reformation
authority of the State undermined.
of the prisoner.
Such arguments ignore certain funda-
The results of revision of sentences as
mental facts. We have seen that prisons seen by the writer have been nothing short
should be training institutions primarily for of brilliant, only two or three per cent hav-
the correction of a prisoner. We have also ing broken their parole. But in order to
seen the evils inherent in imprisonment, the produce good results it is necessary to em-
dangers of association with other criminals phasise (1) that the matter must be treated
and the deterioration in character which seriously, (2) the board should be consti-
follows under prevailing conditions.
tuted with great care so that all shades of
No Court can claim with any degree of opinion are represented, (3) that opinion of
certainty that a particular individual can be local officers even down to the village head-
corrected say, after a period of five years man should be carefully considered.
but not after one or three years. Courts
Treatment of Young Offender
have not the time or the means of investi-
the most important steps in dealing with
gating various influencing factors of a case. offenders is to catch them when yet they are
The result is often a haphazard guess young and give them special treatment.
whether a man should be given two years or There are good reasons for this. The idea
five years. Another factor confusing the of right and wrong is not developed fully
issue is the personality and the temperament in a young person. There is often a con-
of the magistrate. One may be merciful, fusion of ideas as to motives. The child is
another severe. One may be inclined to often homeless, has either no parents or one
NEW TRENDS IN THE PREVENTION OF CRIME 173
step-parent. He has been perhaps half-
judiciary were concerned only with the
starved and has not had the benefits of home offence and the prescribed dose of punish-
or moral training. Also fear often plays a ment, no distinction being made between an
part in his mental make-up. A child or adult and a juvenile. Later, thinkers and
young person is readily influenced by the observers began to be doubtful of the efficacy
company he keeps and it is therefore essen-
of repression. They discovered that harsh-
tial that a young offender should be rigidly ness excited further crime. If the authorities
separated from a grown-up one.
thought that repressive measures acted as a
An investigation in England some years deterrent, they were wrong because instances
ago revealed the fact that 60 per cent of were known of young persons picking the
practised offenders were tried for their pockets of spectators who had gathered to
first offence before they had attained the age witness the execution of a pickpocket.
of 16. This is significant and shows the
—All this has now
necessity for redoubling our efforts with changed. There are special courts for the
regard to the reformation of offenders while trial of young offenders. These courts make
they are still young. Saving young offenders it their business to diagnose the condition
from a future life of crime does not merely of the offender, detect his weakness and his
mean a negative service to the State; it possibilities and prescribe proper treatment
automatically multiplies the number of good in order to correct and reform him. The
citizens. Young offenders very often exhi-
offender is studied very closely and in this
bit qualities of courage and adventure which task the Probation Officer is very useful, for
directed into proper channels would turn he investigates all the contributory causes
them into very good citizens.
and circumstances and places this informa-
In the treatment of young offenders tion before the Court.
leniency, pity or anger are out of place.
Children under trial are confined in
What is required is justice and understand-
special "Remand H o m e s " and are never
ing and an appreciation of the miserable allowed to mix with grown-up under-trials.
environments from which the offender comes. Unless the child is too unruly or depraved
This environment may consist of an over-
he should never be remanded to a prison for
crowded home, disunited or step-parents, obvious reasons. The period spent under
haphazard or no training, poverty and remand could be usefully employed in
idleness. A child brought up under such studying the child.
conditions has a false scale of values. Pity
Magistrates of juvenile courts need to
has little place in the administration of law. be very carefully selected. They must possess
Kindness merely from compassion may turn certain special qualifications. They must
out to be great cruelty. Pity, and particu-
understand the mind of the young. They
larly self-pity, would be fatal if the offender should be able to disentangle cause and
is made to think that he is not to blame. effect in the behaviour of the young offender
Therefore the correct way to deal with young and decide the right mode of correction and
offenders is to ascertain the causes of default,
guidance. It is more a good understanding of
to weigh the possibilities of the defaulter, how a child's mind works than a thorough
to examine his circumstances and to prescribe knowledge of the law that is required of a
appropriate treatment which will make the Magistrate presiding over a juvenile court.
best use of his talents. A great change has He should have cool judgment, large heart,
taken place in recent years in the treatment keen eyes and listening ears.
of young offenders. In the old days persons
The Management of Homes for Young
under 16 were usually sentenced to long Offenders.
—This is a controversial subject.
periods for such an offence as theft, The Some hold that the homes should be managed
174 P. K. TARAPORE
by unofficial agencies and others that it is
—When it is necessary
the responsibility of the State. The writer to establish training schools for these three
is inclined to the latter view. The care and classes, children may be lodged in what one
reform of young delinquents is a great re-
may call a Junior Training School, young
sponsibility and the State should undertake persons in a Senior Training School
it with all the means at its disposal. It can and juveniles in a 'Borstal' Training School,
seek the co-operation of voluntary workers the term 'Borstal' being the name of the
by getting them nominated on managing town in England where the experiment was
committees. Though unofficial institutions originally tried. The number confined in a
started by public-spirited men and women Training School should never exceed 300
with kindly feeling and initiative are useful consisting of four houses of 75 inmates each.
yet they have their own drawbacks. The When the school is first introduced in any
treatment of offenders is a technical matter country the number is necessarily much
and mere sentiment without scientific smaller. But as time goes on and Magis-
methods of training does more harm than trates begin to understand the importance
good. If the Government is unable for of the special training given to young
some reason or other to organise and offenders in the schools, more and more
manage these homes, the only alternative is persons are sent to them and the maximum
to encourage private bodies to fill the gap. of 300 is soon reached, especially in the
But if Government entrusts the care of young
"Borstal School". This should be antici-
offenders to these public bodies, Govern-
pated and arrangements should be ready for
ment should see that the objects under-
the expansion of such schools. It is a great
lying the act are attained. For this reason advantage to separate different classes of
it is necessary, in the first place, to ascertain boys even in the Borstal School, viz.,
t h a t the institution is a properly constituted those who have been found guilty of offences
body and that the managers of a home involving dishonesty, indecency or great
understand modern ways of dealing with personal violence from those who are com-
children. There is an inclination to herd paratively innocent of such offence. Along
different categories together, sometimes for with those who may be termed 'dangerous'
the sake of economy, at others through boys should be kept those who are habitual
ignorance. This must be prevented.
offenders and those who may have failed to
Young offenders may be divided rough-
benefit by the treatment given to them in
ly into three categories, viz., the child, the the ordinary Borstal School. Ordinarily
young person and the adolescent. The ages Junior and Senior Schools take a much
prescribed for these categories differ from longer time to reach the stage when they
country to country. Ordinarily a person will be having 300 inmates. One more
is a child between 7 to 12 or 14 years of age;
school is also necessary. This school will
a young person between 12 and 16 or 14 act as a clearing house where all inmates
and 16 as the case may be; and an adolescent should be sent on first admission for obser-
or juvenile between 16 and 19 or 16 and 21 vation and distribution to the appropriate
as in other countries. These ages should school. This clearing house should be
be judged by the Magistrate more by the staffed by experts not only in Borstal
general appearance of the offender than by methods but also in child psychology.
actual medical proof. These three cate-
—The training given in
gories are mentioned because it is as any one of these schools is as different from
necessary to separate them and give them the treatment given to adults in ordinary
differentia] treatment as it is to
separate all jails as chalk is from cheese. A training
these three classes from grown-up offenders. school should be just like any other school
NEW TRENDS IN THE PREVENTION OF CRIME 175
with perhaps this difference that the inmate be compulsory in all the schools. Those
cannot leave it when he likes. The training who show aptitude for further training
consists of physical, mental and moral cul-
should be encouraged to do so. Moral
ture. The first thing that is necessary is to training in a country like India presents
improve the physical condition of the boy difficulties on account of the various religions
who generally needs particular attention in that exist. It is important that each boy
this respect. The training takes the form should be trained in his own religious creed
of P. T., gymnastics, drill and boxing. and proselytizing should be strictly forbid-
Games should be introduced such as football, den. It is not beyond the ingenuity of
hockey and cricket. At a later stage selected the management to work out a scheme by
inmates may be taken out for route marches Which each boy is given instruction befitting
and it is an advantage for each school to his religion. This training is absolutely
have its modest band of drums and pipes. necessary because most inmates will be found
Healthy competition is encouraged between to have warped ideas about what is right
wards in the same school and between and wrong.
the school and surrounding teams. Apart
—The greatest difficulty in manag-
from these forms of physical training it is ing these training schools in a country like
very necessary, especially in the case of the India will be found in obtaining a suitable
older boys, to teach them how to do an staff. A Borstal Officer is a highly trained
honest day's labour. For this purpose the man in his profession. He must have special
most suitable forms of employment are : —
qualifications. He should be an educated
agriculture, gardening and looking after man imbued with the idea of service. His
cattle. Cottage industries of a rough type work should be his special hobby and the
such as weaving, spinning, making cart welfare of the inmates entrusted to his
wheels, ploughs, rough smithy and tin charge his constant interest. As he has to
smithy are very useful. Unless the boy is set an example to all the boys he should be
taught to work hard and not be afraid of work
a man of unimpeachable character, equable
he is likely to be a failure when he goes out. temperament and inexhaustible patience.
It is surprising how soon boys take to hard Moreover, he must show qualities of leader-
work and grow to like it, if only an example
ship, as the whole idea of the training is to
is set by the older boys, prefects, Borstal lead,
not to drive.
A good Borstal Officer
Officers, House Masters and even the refuses to own that any boy under him is
Superintendent. When a boy sees that his incorrigible. He tries and tries again till
House Master takes off his coat, tucks up his
some impression is made on the boy and the
sleeves and starts digging, he does not think
latter perhaps turns over a new leaf all of a
there is any shame in following his example. sudden. In England one finds university
Good living is a matter of acquiring good men devoting their whole lives to this truly
habits; and the habit of working, no matter
benevolent work. They seldom bother about
what the occupation may be, is one of the their emoluments but consider the saving of
most important ones to acquire. When a
so many souls as ample reward. When we
boy so trained goes out into the world he turn to our own country we find no difficulty
surprises his friends and relatives by the in discovering such men and women. But it
willingness and ability with which he handles
would be a great advantage if such workers,
any kind of work that is entrusted to him. in addition to their training in India, could
That is, indeed, real reformation.
be sent to England—the home of Borstal—
Mental and moral training are essential to observe what is being done, what ani-
to complete the process. Most boys are mates the Borstal Officer, in short to catch
illiterate and elementary education should the Borstal spirit, the Borstal idea. Once
176 P. K. TARAPORE
these training schools are started on a sound section attached to a male jail. The different
foundation Borstal Officers will go on multi-
categories such as convicts and under-trials,
plying and with a few changes suitable to young and old have necessarily to be mixed
this country and its people we shall also together as no separation is possible in
benefit by this most useful system.
such places. Besides, no kind of training
It is necessary to emphasize the import-
can be attempted for such small numbers
ance of having a good staff. Any " T o m , as exist in the female section. To have a
Dick or H a r r y " , no matter how clever he is, female section in a jail meant for males is
does not necessarily make a good Borstal objectionable. In spite of so-called pre-
Officer. I have seen mistakes made in India cautions communication between the two
in different provinces ; and the so-called sections by various means is not uncommon.
Borstal training imparted in such institu-
It is only fair that female prisoners should
tions was like the blind leading the blind. be visited by female doctors and nurses so
It is no reflection on this country that we that they can talk freely to them with
do not possess trained Borstal Officers. We regard to ailments peculiar to the sex.
have to learn many things and there is no Under present conditions it is impossible
shame in admitting that we seek instruction to do more than what is being done, and the
from the fountainhead of Borstal, viz., Eng-
only solution is for each province to have
land. Perhaps, the worst mistake to make one or more special jails for females
is to post an officer, who has been trained managed on modern lines by a female staff.
in ordinary jail methods, to a Borstal There are many advantages in such a
School. His very training, his ideas of the
scheme. In the first place, with a larger
relationship between.himself and the inmates
number of inmates in one institution train-
of a jail almost disqualifies him for Borstal ing in such handicrafts as tailoring, needle-
work, unless indeed, he has shown unmis-
work, and embroidery can be advantageously
takable zeal for such work. So it is far
undertaken under competent female teachers.
better to recruit persons who have no pre-
In the second place, the anxiety of contact
conceived idea beyond those of social with the male population is avoided.
service and train them in correct methods. Moreover, one could secure the assistance
We have seen above what sterling qualities of a good board of lady visitors who would
are required of Borstal Officers, and it is have further influence in reforming female
necessary to weed out ruthlessly those who prisoners. Lastly, all female prisoners would
are found unsuitable since even one or two have the assistance of members of their own
such inefficient men might spoil the whole sex by night as well as by day.
Children of Female Prisoners.
—For the treat-
the problems that has not yet been solved
ment of young offenders special legislation satisfactorily is the disposal of children of
is necessary. Instead of having separate female prisoners. It is true that rules have
Acts for children and adolescents it is best been laid down under which children above
to have one comprehensive Bill for all cate-
a specified age have to be handed over to
gories. The Act needs to be very carefully the relatives of the prisoner. But it often
drafted and amended from time to time in happens that no one comes forward to take
the light of experience.
charge of the unfortunate child and so some
—Except in a few children are left in the jail beyond the age
cases, female prisoners in most provinces limit. This is very objectionable as the
are not treated with the consideration they impression of jail life on a child's mind
deserve. The old idea, which still persists persists during its later years. As children
in some provinces, was to have a female have to be kept under the protection of
NEW TRENDS IN THE PREVENTION OF CRIME 177
Government, the remedy is obviously to him and his welfare. He will cheerfully
have a nursery adjoining the female jail in co-operate and discipline himself. This
charge of a trained Matron and an Assistant indeed will constitute real reformation.
Matron. The mothers may be allowed to see
Staff of Prisons.
—From what has been
the children, but the children should on no stated in previous paragraphs it will be seen
account be permitted to go into the female that very little can be done if the staff of a
jail. Such a nursery or nurseries would be prison from the Superintendent downwards
financially prohibitive if they were to be is not a team of well trained officers who
attached to the numerous female sections understand their business and who are
that exist. But if the proposal mentioned ready at all times to help. Trying to run a
above of having one or two special jails for prison without the proper staff is
females in each province is accepted, the like trying to make a brick without straw ;
provision of nurseries reduces itself into a and it must be admitted that, generally
simple and economical proposition.
speaking, the staff has been the weakest
—We have dealt factor in the management of prisons in
with the treatment of children, young per-
India. The reason is obvious. The prison
sons and adolescents. The training given Department has for some unknown reason
to adolescents can very well be extended in been considered to be the Cinderella of all
a modified form to young adults confined in Government Departments. A few years back
jails. The present system is one of dull the staff used to be recruited haphazard and
routine in which the prisoner takes very generally those who could not get a job
little interest. Co-operation on his part is elsewhere joined the Prison Department.
lacking. Under the circumstances it is The result was disastrous. Though recently
difficult to reform him. There is no reason some prison authorities have awakened to
why the physical, mental and moral training the idea of recruiting and training the staff
of Borstal Schools should not be extended with care, much still remains to be done.
to young persons up to the age of 25 or One of the reasons why good men could not
even 30 on admission. Compulsory primary be recruited was the low initial pay and
education, provision of libraries, physical long hours of work in a confined space.
training and permission to play games as a Another reason was the difficulty for even
reward for good conduct and good work efficient men to rise above a certain grade
plus a reasonable amount of labour could in the administration. If good men are to
very well take the place of the present pro-
be attracted to this Department, it is neces-
gramme. Teach an illiterate man to read sary to improve the conditions of work
and write, he acquires a strong desire to and open up all posts, including the high-
read books ; and those who are still unable est, to those who show aptitude and effici-
to read books can at least listen to others. ency in prison work.
Thus the minds of the inmates would be
In criticising the existing method, the
directed to healthy channels. Much useful writer does not wish to underrate the work
training can be given by jail visitors by way done already. Jail officers are some of the
of instruction and lectures on interesting most hardworking officers of Government.
subjects. If the various cinema companies They work sometimes for twelve hours, day
could be persuaded to show interesting and in and day out, under the most trying cir-
instructive films to prisoners it will be all to cumstances. They have done their best in
the good. Such training will automatically their own light. If they have not done
change the outlook of a prisoner from that better, it is not their fault. It is the sys-
of hopelessness to one of hopefulness. He tem—or want of one—that is responsible
will realise that the public are interested in for the general failure,
178 P. K. TARAPORE
Labour in Jails.
—A study of the careers India. Each visitor takes the charge of a
of most offenders, particularly those guilty certain number of prisoners. He or she
of offences against property, shows that thus gets to know them thoroughly and by
laziness is one of the important factors that good example, patience and industry is often
have brought them into trouble. It is there-
able to work a remarkable change in the
fore necessary to teach every prisoner how majority of the inmates. Visiting a prisoner
to put in a hard day's work without any has a twofold object. In the first place, a
detriment to his health. After some time he visitor can instruct the prisoner whatever
will begin to realise that labour or work in useful lessons he can impart ; and in the
some form or another is the lot of every second place he supplies good company in
human being. If a prisoner is not taught place of bad. Moreover, prisoners begin to
to work and not to be afraid of work a very realise that they are not neglected, that
important part of his reformation will have there are people who care for them and are
been missed. It does not matter what form anxious to help them. This has a very
the labour takes, as long as it is suited to his sobering effect on the mind of the prisoner.
temperament and physical condition. There Visitors in England are not only encouraged
is an erroneous idea that by teaching prison-
by the Government but are highly respected
ers delicate handicrafts we would be enabl-
by every member of the prison staff.
ing them to earn their living after release.
The main function of the visitor should
We have already seen that over 80 per cent. be to supplement the training obtaining in a
of the population of India live in villages jail. The day to day management and dis-
and that percentage is roughly represented cipline should not ordinarily be the concern
in jail population also. It follows, therefore, of individual visitors though serious cases of
that with the exception of those who come injustice or breach of regulations that come
from cities where opportunities for work of to their knowledge should be brought to the
a high class are available, most prisoners, notice of the Board of Visitors or the prison
when they return to their villages, will find authorities.
such handicrafts of very little value. They
There is another way in which visitors
will neither have the capital to start such can be of enormous help both to the ad-
industries, nor will they be able to sell the ministration and to the prisoner. They can
products in the villages. In planning jail help in the aftercare of those who are releas-
industries this important point must always ed ; and their previous study of the prisoner
be kept in mind. Training in improved renders their advice and assistance more
methods of agriculture, vegetable gardening,
valuable. Prison officers should welcome
rough carpentry, smithy, tin * smithy, jail visiting ; and as the idea may be new
spinning and weaving on simple looms to some people the Superintendent and his
would be more suitable than some of the staff should guide and assist jail visitors.
more artistic occupations that we see in
After-care of Prisoners.
—It is rightly
jails such as cabinet making, carpet weav-
said that the troubles of a prisoner start not
ing and so on.
when he goes into a jail but when he comes
—However good the train-
out. The longer he stays in prison the
ing in a jail may be, it would be incomplete greater are his troubles. He has lost connec-
without the help of visitors. The selfless tion with his relatives and friends and lost
work of the gentlemen and ladies who de-
touch with the means of livelihood. More-
vote part of their leisure hours to visiting over, he is usually penniless and sometimes
jails and instructing prisoners is truly homeless. We have seen how irresponsible
praiseworthy. In England the work of a and helpless a man is likely to become if he
visitor is more businesslike than it is in is confined for prolonged periods. The
NEW TRENDS IN THE PREVENTION OF CHIME 179
writer has known cases of released prisoners jail to form such societies. Jail visitors
(lifers) complaining bitterly at being turned ordinarily should be very prominent mem-
out of jail 'in such a cruel manner'. If such bers of such societies. The remarks made
a man is left to his own devices, he may be above apply equally to Borstal Associations
obliged to resort to a life of crime again. which, of course, deal with young offenders.
The Government and society have therefore
—If the recommendations
a twofold duty, viz., to care for the prisoner, suggested in this article are steadily pursued
train and reform him while he is in prison; and energetically carried out, the writer
and secondly, to assist him in every possible ventures to visualise the ultimate results.
way to rehabilitate himself as an honest
The Government should have a complete
citizen. This is the reason why Prisoners' and comprehensive policy embracing treat-
Aid Societies and Borstal Associations exist. ment of all categories of offenders at all
The workers in these societies are doing stages. To make sure that the policy is
useful and benevolent work. Only those carried out in the spirit as well as the letter,
who have worked from day to day in these one or more permanent experts will have to
societies realise what a laborious task it is ; watch the progress from headquarters.
and the public in general owe a debt of
Classification and separation of offenders
gratitude to the women and men who devote should be rigid and complete so that con-
time and energy without any idea of tamination of young and less criminal
personal gain to this philanthropic work.
offenders may be avoided. This will also
Assisting a prisoner who has just been enable the administration to carry out
released appears at first sight to be a very appropriate treatment of each class of
simple affair. We are told that all that is children and young persons, of first offend-
necessary is to pay the man so many rupees ers and habituals, of men and women.
for starting a new trade or supplying himself
Modern methods of preventing im-
with necessary clothing and the prisoner prisonment should be the constant aim
will do the rest. The matter is not so of the authorities. Borstal training, pro-
simple ; for if proper care is not taken in bation and preventive detention should be
doling out money, the released prisoner is made more popularly known. The spirit of
likely to be worse off with the money than Borstal training should be extended and
without it. For a man who has been in adapted to as many youths as possible so
close confinement for years and has under-
that young offenders may take an interest
gone all sorts of restrictions the first instinct in their own training, co-operate willingly
would be to go "on the bust" and have a with the authorities and assume a hopeful
good time. Moreover, boon-companions are outlook for the future. This will be far
not lacking and these 'friends' try to better than the present dull routine and the
relieve the ex-prisoner of as much money resultant hangdog look of the inmates.
as they can by borrowing or gambling. The
Training and reform should be the
wiser course, therefore, would be to pay the watchwords of the administration. With
amount to a society whose officers will dis-
this end in view, in addition to an arduous
pense small sums in instalments as required programme of physical labour suited to the
by the persons and see that whatever construction of the prisoners, steps should be
is paid is utilised for the purpose for taken by means of education, mental and
which the amount is meant. A society with moral instruction as well as simple games,
conscientious members can do a lot of to alter the mentality of the inmate so that
good in this way; and it is necessary to he may look upon a life of crime as un-
add to the existing ones by encouraging the worthy of him, a career to be avoided at all
citizens of every place where there is a costs.