Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River):
I had not intended to delay the House by taking any part in this debate, and I would not have done so had not the hon. member for Hants spoken as he did and introduced the amendment that he did. I congratulate the hon. member for Southeast Grey upon having introduced this resolution and also upon the manner in which she supported it. She approached the question at first from the humanitarian angle, and I think that is the angle which has largely governed the reports of the Department of Justice on this matter.
Let me, in passing, suggest that the hon. member for Hants would hardly have brought in the amendment he did had he attached the weight to these reports which they are entitled to receive. Possibly he has not read those reports in which event I may find it necessary to quote one or two extracts from them, i think, Mr. Speaker, that the highest ideal embodied in the resolution is to reform and not to punish the criminal. That I tihink is the intention, at least of the mover of the resolution.
It is suggested in the reports of the department that you cannot reform criminals by punishment. The proposal in the second part of the motion, is if a single man or a man without dependents, is imprisoned he is to be placed at productive work. He earns something, and a part of those earnings will be devoted to the cost of his upkeep in the penitentiary and the maintenance of the institution. What is to be done with the balance of those earnings? To whom does it properly belong? In my opinion it belongs to the convict himself, and the proposal I would submit is that if the sum be large it be turned over to him in a bulk sum at the end of his prison term but that the warden of the penitentiary should be placed in the position of a trustee. The convict should be called before him prior to discharge, and a discussion entered upon for the purpose of ascertaining the prisoner's plans for the future, so that the warden may advise him-in much the same fashion that, our wardens, the bankers, advise ug-with a view to helping that man towards re-establishing himself for the future in life. The whdle sum of the man's net earnings need not be paid out at once; it could be paid out from time to time as the development of the
man's particular trade or occupation necessitated. So far as the first portion of the resolution is concerned I do not think there is any question as to the advisability of carrying it out.
I have heard no objection taken, but possibly as some hon. members may not be aware of some of the details in connection with the misery created, I will call attention to a letter which I received on January 31 of this year from a miners' union. This by the way may answer the question of the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) as to the possible attitude of labour on this question. The letter is from a miners' union, telling of one of its secretaries, a man fairly well respected and placed in a responsible position. He decamped with the funds of the union, fled to Seattle, was caught there, brought back to Canada and put in gaol for three years. At the end of a year the very men whose money he had taken circulated a petition pleading for his release, not because they wished in any way to condone the crime, but because his unfortunate wife and family were in dire distress and serious suffering. That was the attitude of a labour organization on this question. They wanted the man released because his wife was suffering. It may be said, "Yes, they wanted him released rather than given remunerative employment in gaol," but what would he do after he came out? He would at once commence competing in the labour market; he would at once go into the mines in all probability and get a job there, competing with these very men in their own field." Yet after all, what difference is there whether he competes in their own field in the labour market or competes inside the prison wall? There is no difference, and I do not think labour will raise any serious objection to this resolution. In the report of the Superintendent of Penitentiaries for 1922 I find the following:
Conditions of all penitentiaries have been greatly improved,
And properly so. Amongst the improvements introduced are the following-and this is what I would call to the attention of the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Martell)-
the abandonment of the idea of handling all men by rule of thumb and substitution therefor of the personal study of each inmate and treatment of him, as his temperament and disposition would warrant.
Further on I find the following:
Tlie endeavours now put forth by penitentiary officers to secure employment for inmates on discharge.
A quotation is found further down from a former inspector of Canadian penitentiaries, as follows:
Society has found by terrible experience that her gaol or prison system has too often turned out to be the largest factor and the most successful machine in the fabrication of the evil it was seeking to destroy.
I find in another report a comparison between the effects of treatment as a whole in different countries. And I take the statement on page 14, as follows:
In England the severity of former years has been abandoned, and much more sane and humane methods now prevail. There is no criminal laxity however, in either the enforcement of the law or management of those convicted of crime. It would appear, therefore, if good and sane results are to be obtained in Canada we should study the English systems with a view to adopting what they have to offer by way of amendment.
The following from the Philadelphia Public Ledger is most amazing and most convincing:
Mention has been made of Raymond B. Fosdick's book, American Police Systems. Some of the figures in it almost stagger belief. For example the arrests in Boston in 1918 exceeded the total number of arrests in London by 32,520, a falling off you see of the number of arrests following up the lightening of the punishment of criminals.
That hardly bears out the argument of the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Martell). Philadelphia arrests in 1919 exceeded the arrests in London by 20,005, and Chicago's arrests exceeded London's by 61,874; New York arrests in 1918 exceeded London's by 111,877. In 1919 there were 5,527 automobiles stolen in New York, in London only 290, in Liverpool only 10. In 1918 Chicago had 22 robberies for every one robbery in London, and 14 for every one robbery in England and Wales. Los Angeles in 1916 had 64 more robberies than England, Scotland and Wales combined. Liverpool is one-third larger than Cleveland and yet Cleveland in 1914 reported thirty times as many robberies as Liverpool. It may be argued that there were other factors. I believe there were other factors that tended to the development of the situation, nevertheless the fact stands out that under a more generous treatment that tends to develop the best in a man, rather than to treat him with rigid discipline, we find more favourable results ensue.
I should like to make one other point. About sixty per cent of those sent to the penitentiaries leave them without having suffered punishment. The more punishment inflicted in a prison, the stronger the probability that the place is poorly managed. I quote now from the 1921 report of the Superintendent of Penitentiaries:
It ^has also been demonstrated that seldom is a conversion to virtue obtained through punishment. Physical force can check or temporarily restrain various forms of evil, but usually at the cost of rendering them still more intense and permanent.
If that be true in the case of physical force, surely any evolution of a higher, saner and more humane method of treating the men at the time of their discharge and during the time of their re-absorption into civil life would tend also to improvement.
I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the amendment of the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Martell) will not carry in this House. Our idea certainly ought not to be the mere punishment of crime. It ought to be the prevention of crime, and if as I believe this resolution will go a long way towards this by giving a convict more respect for himself and giving him an opportunity to meet fairly those with whom he will have to compete after leaving the prison, then I think every member should regard with favour the resolution.
Subtopic: PRISON REFORM