TO THE EDITOR,
Sir,—Mr Gale, who retired lately from being governor of Pentridge pend establish-ment-after thirty-eight years’ service in the model gaol of the British colonies, and admitted by all eminent tourists _ to be superior to those in Great Britain and Ireland, the Continent, or America—stated to hia interviewer in Christchurch recently “that he thinks the political system in existence in this colony is to some extent answerable t for the present state of our gaols.” The prison inspector, in his last report, recommends the gaols of Timaru and Nelson to be abolished. A wall is being built around Timaru Gaol, owing to political log-rolling; and prisoners are at present confined in Nelson and Timaru Gaols. In Tuapeka we have a warder gaoler who is frequently without a prisoner in charge when he performs police duties, consequently he has two masters to obey—the prison inspector and police sergeant. A new gaol was built in Wanganui when their member (Mr Ballance) was in office. Taranaki Gaol was built at an enormous expense to please the Premier and other members for that district. Hokitika Gaol is another political job, and the most expensive gaol of the colony. Owing to railroad communication no gaols are required but Dunedin, Lyttelton, Wellington, and Auckland. Until you elevate prison reform to a science you are running after vagaries. You must study and know the criminal himself, Such knowledge is the basis of all right prison treatment. You cannot reform criminals by merely putting them into
prison, nor prevent crime by putting boys into reformatories. You must find out what are the causes, and adapt your treatment to them. That is the problem that strikes at the root of the matter. All else is playing with the surface. You must look at principles, not mere details. You must look at the question as statesmen, not as politicians. Politics must be eliminated from New Zealand gaols and gaol management. No amount of specious reasoning and no oratorical declaration, however eloquent on the part of the prison inspector’s supporters, will wipe out the dark stains left by the prison appointments, and the very numerous escapes of prisoners throughout the colony.— I am, etc., Scrutator. Dunedin, June 7.
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POLITICAL GAOLS., Evening Star, Issue 7927, 7 June 1889
POLITICAL GAOLS. Evening Star, Issue 7927, 7 June 1889
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