March 18, 1925

PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

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

Prison Reform,

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.

Prison Reform

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.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. W. D. EULER (North Waterloo):

I

have very little to add to what has been said and probably will not adduce any new arguments at all, but I would like to declare my sympathy for the principle of the resolution as introduced by the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail). I think she is to be congratulated for bringing this matter to the consideration of the House for practical action. The resolution is a credit to her head and to her heart because it seems to me what she suggests is economically sound and a credit to her humanitarian feelings. But I am afraid I cannot follow her in one suggestion that she made, and that was that crime is almost entirely a disease. Possibly that may be true to some degree, but if we recognized that to the full as being true I am very much afraid that if we had not our penal and preventive laws, we would have a very great increase in crime. It has been said that people are not to be sent to prison and punished for purposes of revenge. I am quite in accord with that. It is not the purpose of humanity or of society to exercise revenge. The chief motive for sending a man to prison, apart from the preventive feature, is to punish him, and if possible to reform him. I am in favour of the first part of the resolution, providing for steady work for convicts while in penitentiary. Its wisdom seems to be evident on the face of it; these men should be fully employed while they are held in confinement. That was impressed on me not so long ago when I had not the pleasure, but the somewhat depressing experience, of going through the penitentiary at Kingston and seeing what is being done there. The prisoners were not all busy and they would have been a great deal better off had they been fully employed. So that the first part

of the resolution is hardly debatable. The second phase of it perhaps gives some room for a difference of opinion, although I cannot possibly follow my hon. friend (Mr. Martell) in the statement that if men knew that they would be paid for working in the penitentiary this knowledge would be an incentive to them to commit crime.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

The hon. member must

have misunderstood me. I said that men would not regard the penitentiary sentence as a deterrent if they knew that they did not run any risk of leaving those dependent upon them absolutely unprovided for.

Mr. EULERI cannot agree with the hon. member even now. To my mind the great deterrent is the fact that men know that if they commit crimes they will lose their liberty and be disgraced; they know that when they come out they will be the object of the sneers of the world. And the payment of convicts for what they may do while in prison has no bearing on the question as to what constitutes a deterrent to crime. The great punishment is that the criminal is deprived of his liberty, and people have only to see the convicts at Kingston or in any other place of confinement to realize the truth of this.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

After a man has served

his time in penitentiary and comes out he becomes a citizen of the country and no one can call him criminal with impunity. Those who call him so are subject to damages for defamation of character. The discharged convict, in other words, resumes his civil status, and although there may be some scorn attached to him, the probability is that he would not suffer to any very great extent if he came out of prison with money in his pockets.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Would the

hon. gentleman say that the social position of the criminal was as good after as before his incarceration?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I was coming to that. No

doubt my hon. friend (Mr. Martell) is right in the narrow legal sense; after a man has served his time he is technically washed clean, so to speak. But surely no man in this House will say that he has precisely the same standing among his fellow citizens as he had before he went to gaol.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Lewis Herbert Martell

Liberal

Mr. MARTELL:

If he comes out with

money he may have a better standing.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I would support the resolution not so much because its adoption would enable

Prison Reform

even a single man to come out of gaol with some money, although I believe that it would be well for such a man to have something to start with. What appeals to me is that we should do everything in our power to prevent the suffering of innocent women and children as a result of some man's crime. We see that principle recognized in the Ontario law: men who have been sentenced for more or less lengthy periods are allowed out on parole, the declared object of that practice being that they may go to work and provide for their dependents.

That briefly is my chief reason for supporting the resolution. It seems to me to be fair and I think that parliament should do everything possible to minimize the unmerited degradation and suffering that comes to those who are not responsible for the crime. I will go further than that; I think I can support the whole resolution just as it is. I believe that even a single man, seeing that he has been deprived of his liberty, might very well be compensated for any work he did so that he might have something to enable him to begin life anew and not be forced to resort once more to unlawful means of making a livelihood. We should do what we can to prevent him from entering again on a career of crime. These are my reasons for supporting the resolution.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. ROBERT FORKE (Brandon):

I do not want this opportunity to pass without expressing1 my appreciation of the speech made by the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) and endorsing the resolution she has brought forward. I have not had much experience in regard to penitentiaries but I do not think there is a gaol in Manitoba the inside of which I have not seen, although fortunately I have been always on the right side of the bars. Now, I have listened with a good deal of attention and satisfaction to the remarks made by different gentlemen who have dwelt on this matter, and I realize that we are moving in the right direction in our treatment of criminals. Let me say, however, in passing that we should not altogether lose sight of the aspect of punishment. The thug who knocks down an innocent traveller and robs him of his money may deserve careful treatment in the way of reform but we should not forget that there is some punishment coming to people of that sort. Crime has been rapidly increasing along many lines, and it has not been increasing altogether among the mentally deficient. Banditry and a great many similar crimes have largely increased during recent years and there must be some cause

for this. I think therefore that we might well look into that phase of the question.

As regards the consequent suffering of the innocent, that perhaps is one of the saddest facts in human life; it is regrettable that no one can commit a wrong without endless misery following in its train and bearing along with it all those connected with the criminal. I do not think that society has been very just in this matter; it visits the misdemeanours of the individual on his whole family. But that is the fact and we cannot help it; we recognize its injustice, but it exists nevertheless. Perhaps more could be accomplished in the way of mitigating the full force of crime in the country. I do not think that after a man has passed the meridian of life as a criminal there is very much hope of making a first-class citizen of him. Do not think that I despair of reforming anyone; I believe in the story of the thief on the cross. But it seems to me that our great hope lies with the young people; we must inculcate right ideas in them, and a great many of our amusements to-day are I am afraid little calculated to raise the ideals of the younger folk. If more stress was laid upon the dignity of labour, if more education was given to our young people to help them understand what really constitutes right living and the joy of life, there would be less crime. The wrong idea is abroad, the idea of having what is called " a good time." We were told long ago by One who came to walk upon this earth that He came so we might have life more abundantly. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think probably that is what everyone is seeking to-day, to make the most of his life, to get all he can out of it. I think that is the idea of the criminal. I think we should teach our young people what constitutes the great, grand and noble things of human life, the things that will bring most happiness to them individually and to humanity. I am quite in line with the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Southeast Grey. I congratulate her upon bringing this resolution before the House, and I intend to support it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to join with

my hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Forke) in expressing to the mover of the resolution-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
IND
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Our sister member, as

my hon. friend very properly describes her- I desire to join with my hon. friend from Brandon in expressing to her the gratitude of the House for having brought this resolution

Prison Reform

i

to our attention. It deals with a worthy subject, and the time of the House has not been wasted in discussing it. I think we all agree that the prisoners in our penitentiaries should be kept working; nothing could be worse for them from every point of view than idleness.

There are two schools of thought on prison reform. The views of one school were expressed by my hon. friend from Hants (Mr. Martell). They believe that the prisoner is indebted to the state, that he should give his labour in return for his debt, and that the penitentiaries should be made profitable institutions. The other school takes the position that reformation is the primary function of state prisons, and that careful segregation should be made of prisoners in order that the larger number of them may be reformed. The work to which they are assigned is really accessory to this main object of reformation. I may say immediately that I share the views of this school; I think that reformation is the main aim to be kept in view. I may say also that, speaking personally, I am going to vote for the resolution as it is.

I agree, though, with my hon. friend from South Waterloo (Mr. Euler) that we should not overstep the mark and proclaim that crime is really a disease. There is a point which could not be overstepped without some danger, and I am led to say that by something I was reading a few days ago in a bulletin issued by the Chicago Crime Commission. Crime has increased in Chicago at such a tremendous rate that the Association of Commerce has been compelled to form a special commission called the Crime Commission, and the following words are from a speech by the chairman of that commission. Referring to the many crime factors, he said:

A fourth and equally insidious factor has been the development of a perfectly meritorious movement for the study of crime and criminals from sociological and psychological standpoints, and the endeavour to build up reconstructive or reformative treatment that shall restore the criminal to the class of the law-abiding. But whatever of merit or progress any or all of these factors may contain, certain it is that active and diligent organized crime has availed of every possible weakness they develop in the enforcement of the law. When with the best possible intentions there has been created a disposition to deal with crime from a psychological and eociological standpoint-the result has been to minimize the effect of individual responsibility of the criminal himself, and to develop sources of weak sentiment towards a specific crime in a specific case.

No doubt there is considerable truth in these words. The other day, being in New York, I read an interesting paragraph in the New York Herald-Tribune. Judge Alfred J. Talley, addressing the talesmen at the general sessions in New York in January, dosed his talk by describing high life in Sing Sing:

There are movies every night, baseball on weekends, vaudeville once a week, and Broadway shows once a month, with radio a constant feature of prison life. The result is that the average criminal has a better time in Sing Sing than out of it.

Well, I am a prison reformer, if this title means something, but I would not go as far as adopting for Canadian prisons the system which is in force in Sing Sing according to Judge Talley. So there is as I said, a point which should not be overstepped; we should not go too far in this direction. But with that reservation I agree with the principle of the resolution and with what it proposes should be done.

By way of information may I submit to the House what work is being done at the present time in our various penitentiaries? In the New Westminster penitentiary very little work is being undertaken at the present time for other government departments. Entire reconstruction of dilapidated shops, cell blocks, kitchen and so forth, as well as the construction of a wall surrounding the place, is now being prosecuted; workshops are being made fireproof; farming operations on a small scale and clearing of bush land are also being carried on. The internal requirements of the penitentiary, such as tailoring, Shoemaking, tinsmith work, machine shop work, black-smithing, painting, carpentering, baking, operating of gravel pit, and so forth, are being prosecuted.

In the Saskatchewan penitentiary, which is a new institution practically, begun in 1913, already two cell wings shops, hospital, new boiler house, isolation prison and administration building, containing offices, churches, school, library, kitchen, officers' mess, and .so forth, have been built by inmate labour, as well as a residence for the warden and deputy warden. About 488 acres of land have been cleared and placed under cultivation. As at all other penitentiaries, tailoring, shoemaking, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, painting, carpentry, machine shop work, baking, and so forth, are being done, always for the use of the penitentiary. At present only a small amount of work is done for outside departments, in the manufacture of harness, tin utensils and some small orders of woodenware. There is also in operation ait this institution a brick making plant, where all the brick used in construction work at the institution is manufactured.

At the Manitoba penitentiary we have all the usual trades in operation, as in the other

Prison Reform

penitentiaries, for the maintenance of the institution. There mail bags for the four western provinces are repaired. A large building programme is being carried on, together with a remodelling of old antiquated buildings, the construction of a new cell block, a stable, granary, implement shed, root house, and the installation of a waterworks system. A large farm is in operation there also, with about 500 acres under cultivation.

In Kingston the penitentiary has all the trade necessary for internal upkeep, together with a large canvas manufactory, where all new mail bags are made and old ones are repaired; also tents, tarpaulins, bags and other such articles required by other government departments.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

Can the minister

give the House any idea of the number of bags made and the number repaired in a month?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I have not the information at hand, but I will give it to my hon. friend later. Boots and clothing are made at Kingston for the Indian department, as well as some clothing for the Canadian National Railways. Barriers for all other penitentiaries are made there. A large farm is in operation at this institution, as well as a quarry and stone-cutting department. So far as stone-cutting is concerned, it is done for the purposes of construction and repair work. Broom making is also carried on at Kingston, as well as tin and iron work for other government departments. An extensive construction programme is in progress, including the building of a new female prison, sewage disposal plant and remodelling of old shop buildings. There is also a printing department.

At St. Vincent de Paul, in addition to all the usual trades, the penitentiary manufactures leather goods such as leather folders for magazines used by the Canadian National Railways and hotels, portfolios for government employees, saddles, and so forth. Large quantities of hickory handles of all descriptions are turned out, together with small quantities of clothing and boots for other departments. There is a cannery at this institution for canning the goods for the penitentiary. A large farm is worked by the prison inmates. A new cell block capable of accommodating 208 inmates is almost completed, also the construction of a new entrance to the prison, together with a remodelling of many Of the old shops and buildings with a view to making them fireproof and suitable for present needs. Bookbinding is another industry of the St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary.

At Dorchester we have all the shops similar to those in other institutions, required for general maintenance purposes. In addition, mail bags for the Maritime provinces are repaired. Clothing is made for the mounted police in the Maritime provinces and a very extensive building programme is carried on, including enlargement of wail; building of new hospital, school room, library; new cell block; remodelling of old cell wing; fencing and clearing of farm, of which about 400 acres are already under cultivation.

Prior to 1921 organized labour was opposed in principle to prison labour even for the requirements of the federal departments. Since 1921, however, organized labour have changed their view in that respect; in their conventions and otherwise they have expressed themselves as favourable to prison work, the products of which go to meet the requirements of the government service. But let me tell the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown) that not only in this country but in the United States, where, I am told, prison labour is carried out on such a large scale, organized labour is opposed to prison labour coming into competition with free labour. It would certainly be a matcer of great difficulty to apply that system in our penitentiaries. But it is not necessary to do it. I am convinced-and I think it was also the conviction of those who prepared the report of 1921-that the work in connection with the making of articles needed by the government should be sufficient to employ all the labour in the penitentiaries and to keep the inmates busy all the time. Both organized labour and such institutions as chambers of commerce have made representations in this connection. For instance, the garment manufacturers have passed strong resolutions against what they call the unfair competition to which their products are subjected by prison labour. But manufacturers as well as workmen in the United States are in favour of prison labour to meet the requirements of the states. If the articles produced by the penitentiary are not bought and used by the state in which the institution is situated, then they suggest that an agreement should be arrived at with other states whereby these articles will be purchased and used by them. If this system is accepted and applied in Canada there is no reason why some agreement could not be entered into by the provinces under which they might also acquire goods produced in the penitentiaries.

Let me indicate the classes of goods which might very easily be made in our penitentiaries and for which the penitentiaries are

Prison Reform

well equipped. All classes of canvas goods, such as tents, tarpaulins, flies, nose-bags, water pails, packs of all descriptions, and so on.; furniture of all descriptions, in wood; all classes of galvanized iron and tin goods; clothing and the manufacture of uniforms- military, mounted police and other such; leather goods, including harness; book-binding; boots and shoes; hickory handles of all descriptions; blacksmith shop work; machine shop work; stone cutting; and broom making. I can include boots and shoes without being afraid of any adverse consequences in Quebec East, because I have been told by the manufacturers of boots and shoes there that they have never had the opportunity of working for the government.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
UFO

Robert Henry Halbert

United Farmers of Ontario

Mr. HALBERT:

Will it be permissible for members of parliament to get their supplies there?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I do not know. Perhaps they might do so by paying for them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB
PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Are any of the articles made in the penitentiaries put on the market, or are they all for the use of government departments?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

None go on the market now, though that was done years ago.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PRISON REFORM
Permalink

March 18, 1925