( Originally Published 1915 )
THE problem of crime is one of the great problems of social pathology. There have been developed, in order to deal with this problem scientifically, a number of subsidiary sciences, especially Criminology and Penology, which are sciences dealing with the causes, nature, and treatment of crime. We cannot therefore deal with this problem adequately in this chapter, but again must refer the student to the literature on the subject.
The Definition of Crime. The best definition of crime and the simplest is that it is a violation of law. It is evident from this definition that crime is primarily a legal matter; and as laws vary from age to age and from country to country, so too the definition of crime varies. Nevertheless, because crime is a variable quantity that does not make it impossible of scientific treatment; for law itself is only one aspect or phase of the social life, namely, that which has to do with the control of conduct through organized social authority. Therefore, while crime is primarily a legal matter, it is also a social matter and has at the same time psychological and biological implications. While crime is an expression of social maladjustment defined by the law differently under different circumstances, it nevertheless has psychological and biological roots; and these we must take into account in a scientific study of crime.
The simplest and best definition of the criminal accordingly is a violator of the law. However, because the criminal lacks social adjustment the causes of this lack of adjustment are very often in certain psychological and biological conditions of the individual. While the criminal is defined by the law differently from age to age, he is nevertheless under all circumstances the socially peculiar and sometimes the psychologically and biologically peculiar person. Under all circumstances he is a variation from his group; and whether the causes of his variation are psycho-logical or biological is the problem that concerns us.
But in the group of socially maladjusted persons whom we call criminals are many classes and it is necessary to note the chief of these classes before we can understand the many causes of crime.
The classification of criminals. The legal classification of criminals according to the nature of their crime is manifestly of no use for scientific purposes. What we need is a classification of criminals according to their own peculiar nature. Inasmuch as the nature and conduct of a criminal person is largely a matter of his psychology the most scientific classification of criminals must be upon a psychological basis; and a simple psychological classification can be made upon the basis of habit, that is, as to whether the habit of crime is inborn, acquired, or not yet formed. According to this classification then there are three main classes of criminals: (I) The instinctive or born criminal. This is a person in whom the tendency to crime is inborn, and this inborn tendency is always due to some congenital defect. The most common type of the instinctive or born criminal is the moral imbecile, a person only slightly mentally defective who cannot distinguish right from wrong. It is evident that in the instinctive or born criminal biological causes of crime predominate. This class is however relatively small among the general criminal class, and it is estimated by experts that it constitutes not more than from 10 per cent to 15 per cent of our prison population. (2) The habitual criminal. The habitual criminal is a normal person who has acquired the tendency to crime from his environment. The most marked type of the habitual criminal is the professional criminal, who is frequently a person above the average in ability and who deliberately chooses a career of crime, taking the risks of his calling. It is evident that the professional criminal class is the most dangerous class of criminals with whom society has to deal. A more common type of habitual criminal, however, is the occasional habitual criminal, a weak person who drifts into crime through temptation and who has not strength of character enough to throw off the habit. It is estimated that habitual criminals of both types mentioned constitute from 40 per cent to 50 per cent of our prison population. (3) The single offender. The single offender is a normal person who commits only a single crime through some sudden stress or temptation, but lives ever after a law-abiding life. The two types of the single offender are the criminal by passion and the accidental criminal. The criminal by passion is a moral, and oftentimes a conscientious, person who commits a crime through some sudden stress of passion, under great provocation. The accidental criminal, on the other hand, is the weak type of moral person who yields once through some sudden temptation, but who regrets it ever afterward. It is estimated that single offenders constitute from 40 per cent to 50 per cent of our prison population. Strictly speaking, they are only legal criminals, and not criminals in the sociological sense, being relatively moral and law-abiding citizens whose variation from the normal is confined to some single offense. Nevertheless, single offenders constitute, as we have already seen, a very considerable proportion of our prison population.
If this classification of criminals is correct, it is evident that it is very important both in studying the causes of crime and in devising practical measures for dealing with the criminal class; for the instinctive criminal, the habitual criminal, and the single offender manifestly need very different methods of treatment. One of the gravest faults of the criminal law and of penal institutions hitherto is that they have not provided for the different treatment of different classes of criminals.
The Extent of Crime in the United States. According to the United States census there were in prisons on June 30, 1904, a total of 81,772 prisoners above the age of five years serving sentences. Of this number 77,269 were males and 4503 were females; again, 55,111 were whites, and 26,661 were colored. Classified according to the prisons in which they were found, 53,292 were in state penitentiaries, 7261 were in state reformatories, 18,544 were in county jails, and 2675 were in city prisons. These were only the persons serving prison sentences. An unknown number were in county and city jails awaiting trial and serving out fines. Again, it must be remembered that this was simply the prison population on a single day, June 30, 1904. During 1904 there were, according to the census, 149,691 persons committed to prisons to serve sentences. To all of the above we must add also the 23,034 juvenile delinquents who were found, on June 30, 1904, in the juvenile reformatories of the United States.
Unfortunately we have no figures from previous censuses with which we can compare the above, as the census of 1890 and previous censuses included prisoners awaiting trial. In 1890, however, there were, deducting the 15,526 awaiting trial and serving out fines, 66,803 persons above the age of five years serving sentences.
These prison statistics, however, give us little idea of the actual amount of crime in the United States, because they include only the persons committed to prison to serve sentences, and do not include the vast number who escape the meshes of the law or who simply receive fines, or whose sentences are suspended. It is estimated by competent authorities, basing their estimate upon the number of known convictions of crime in certain large cities, that there are not less than 1,000,000 convictions for crime, annually, in the United States including, of course, convictions for both felonies and misdemeanors. That this is not an excessive estimate may be indicated by the fact that in the state of New York alone in 1900, a year before the custom of suspending sentence on probation came so largely into vogue, there were nearly 100,000 commitments to prison.
All these figures, however, fail to give us any very correct idea of the amount of serious crime in the United States the prison statistics, because they understate the mat-ter, the statistics of convictions, because they overstate. A peculiarity about serious crime in the United States, it must be remembered, is that so many persons escape through the meshes of the law, and this is particularly true in the case of the characteristic American crime of homicide. An enterprising newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, has for years, with the help of the Associated Press, collected statistics of homicide and suicide in the United States. While these statistics seem relatively incomplete and inaccurate for the earlier years, since 1892 they pre-sent every appearance of great accuracy, and have not been seriously impugned. According to these statistics the United States has had for the last dozen years from six to ten thousand cases of homicide annually, including all cases where one person has killed another. In 1896 the number was 10,652, in 1899, 6225; in 1900, 8275; in 1904, 8482; in 1906, 9350; in 1908, 8592. The census of 1904 showed only 2444 persons committed to prison for homicide in that year, but these figures are not in conflict with those of The Chicago Tribune, because the census statistics omit the vast number of persons who committed homicide but who escaped, were not convicted, were killed, or for some other reason failed to show up in the statistics of commitment. Accepting The Chicago Tribune's figures as relatively accurate, it may be remarked at this point that the number of homicides is far greater in the United States than in other civilized countries, with the exception of Italy, Spain, and some other countries of the Mediterranean region. England, for example, has only between three and four hundred cases of homicide annually as compared with our six to ten thousand, al-though England's population is about 30,000,000 as against over 80,000,000 for the United States. The greatest number of these homicides take place in the Southern and Western states, Texas leading, according to the statistics, with about one thousand homicides annually. This suggests that to some extent our high homicide rate is due to the survival of frontier conditions in a large number of the states, although it is probably even more due to American individualism and lawlessness, the tendency of every man to take the law into his own hands.
There can be no doubt that the amount of serious crime in the United States is relatively high, although there is no reason to believe that the serious crimes against property are proportionate to the serious crimes against persons.
The Cost of Crime in the United States. The Hon. Eugene Smith, a lawyer of New York city, in a paper read before the National Prison Association in 1900, , estimated that the criminal population of the United States costs not less than $600,000,000 annually. He based his estimate upon the cost of crime in New York city and other large cities of the country. He found that the probable expenses of government in the United States attributable to crime, that is, the cost of police, criminal courts, prisons and other institutions connected with the prevention and repression of crime, amounted to about $200,000,000 per year. This is the amount paid by the taxpayers for the repression and extirpation of crime annually. In addition there is the cost of the criminal class through the destruction of property, their plunder, and the like. Mr. Smith estimated that there were no less than 250,000 dangerous criminals in the United States and that each such criminal cost the people of the United States, on the average $1600 annually. Accordingly, the 250,000 criminals would cost a total of $400,000,000 annually, which, added to the $200,000,000 paid out in taxes for the repression of the criminal class and protection against crime, makes a total of $600,000,000 paid out every year by the people of the United States as the cost of supporting the criminal class. While this figure seems enormous, careful students of the matter consider that it is an underestimate rather than an over-estimate of the total cost of crime. We may compare the amount with certain other figures. The cost of public education in the United States is about $350,000,000 annually; the annual value of our wheat crop is about $600,000,000, and of our cotton crop about the same. It is evident that the problem of crime is worthy of serious study even from a financial standpoint alone.
Is Crime Increasing? How we answer this question will, of course, depend upon the length of time considered. We have no statistics going back further than fifty years in this country. Moreover, it is entirely possible to hold that while crime has decreased during the historic era among civilized peoples, it has increased during the last twenty-five or fifty years. All statistics of crime in the United States seem to show that it has increased. In 1850 for example, the number of prisoners was 6737 which was one prisoner to every 3442 of the population. But the census of 1850 was seriously defective, and we would better take the census of 1860 as the basis of our comparison. In 1860 the census showed a total prison population of 19,086, which was one prisoner to every 1647 of the population. In 1890 the census showed 82,329 prisoners in the total population, which was one in every 757. In other words, between 1860 and 1890 the total population of the country just doubled, while the number of prisoners quadrupled. Inasmuch as the census of 1904 was taken upon an entirely different basis, we cannot bring the comparison down to that year.
The value of these statistics has often been questioned, but it has been questioned chiefly by people who have not taken other corroborative evidence into account. The chief corroborating evidence is to be found in the statistics of prisoners in our state prisons from 1880 to 1904. Now only those are sent to state prisons who are guilty of felonies, and the length of term of sentence in our state prisons has steadily shortened during the last twenty-five years, while within the last few years the practice of suspending sentence ou probation for first felons has been largely introduced. We should expect, therefore, a decrease in the state prison population in proportion to the general population. But we find that the number in state prisons rose from 30,659 in 1880, to 45,233 in 1890, an increase of 47.5 percent, while the general population increased only 24.86 per cent. Again the number rose in 1904 to 60,553, an increase of 33 percent, while the general population increased about 30 percent. Apparently, therefore, the amount of serious crime in the United States is increasing more rapidly than the population. Corroborating evidence is also found from Massachusetts statistics, which indicate that between 1850 and 1880 the prison population increased twice as rapidly as the general population. Other evidence could be cited, but the statistics of our state penitentiaries may be considered conclusive when all facts are taken into consideration. There is apparently no escape from the conclusion that serious crime between 1880 and 1904 increased more rapidly than the population.
The amount of minor offenses, every one admits, has increased. The statistics of all European countries show this, and there is no reason to suppose that the United States is an exception in this regard. England is the only country of the civilized world in which there has been apparently a decrease in proportion to population of both serious crimes and minor offenses. This decrease of crime in England may be attributed largely to England's excellent prison system, and also to the swiftness and certainty of English courts of justice.
The Causes of Crime. The causes of crime may be classified best, as we classified the causes of poverty, into objective and subjective. Objective causes are those outside of the individual, in the environment; subjective causes are causes in the individual, whether in his bodily make-up or his mental peculiarities.
The Objective Causes of Crime. The objective causes of crime may be divided into causes in the physical environment and causes in the social environment. The causes in the physical environment are relatively unimportant, but are worthy of note as showing how many various factors enter into this social phenomenon of crime. Climate and season seem to be the two chief physical factors that influence crime; and in connection with these we have two general rules, abundantly verified by statistics; namely, crimes against the person are more numerous in southern climates than crimes against property; and again crimes against the person are more numerous in summer than in winter, while crimes against property are more numerous in winter than in summer. All this is of course simply an outcome of the effect of climate and season upon general living conditions.
The causes of crime in the social environment are of course much the most important objective causes of crime, and, many students think, altogether the most important causes of crime in general. Let us briefly note some of the more important social conditions that give rise to crime.
(1) Conditions connected with the family life have a great influence on crime; indeed, inasmuch as the family is the chief agency in society for socializing the young, perhaps domestic conditions are more important in the production of crime than any other set of causes. We can-not enter into the discussion of the matter fully, but we have already seen in former chapters that demoralized homes contribute an undue proportion of criminals. It is estimated by those in charge of reform schools for delinquent children that from 85 to 90 per cent of the children in those institutions come from more or less demoralized or disrupted families. Illegitimate children notoriously drift into the criminal classes, while dependent children who grow up in charitable institutions are prone also to take the same course. Domestic conditions have of course an influence on the criminality or non-criminality of adults. This is best shown perhaps by the fact that the great proportion of criminals in our prisons are unmarried persons. Thus the United States prison census of 1904 showed that 64 per cent of all prisoners were single per-sons. Statistics from other countries are practically the same. This means that, on the one hand, the family life is a preventive of crime, and on the other that the socially abnormal classes who drift into crime are not apt to marry.
(2) Industrial conditions also have a profound influence upon criminal statistics. Economic crises, hard times, strikes, lockouts, are all productive of crime. Quetelet, the Belgian statistician, thought that the general rule could be laid down that, as the price of food increases, crimes against property increase, while crimes against persons decrease. At any rate, increase in the cost of the necessities of life is very apt to increase crimes of certain sorts.
The various industrial classes show a different ratio of criminality. In general among industrial classes the least crime is committed by the agricultural classes, while the most crime is committed by the unemployed or those with no occupation. The census of 1904 showed that 50 per cent of all prisoners that year were non-agricultural laborers or servants.
(3) The demographical conditions, conditions concerning the distribution and density of the population, have an influence upon crime. In general there is more crime in the cities than in the country districts. The statistics of all civilized countries seem to show about twice as great a percentage of crime in their large cities as in the rural districts.
(4) The influence of race and nationality seems to be marked in criminal statistics. We have already noted that the ratio of criminality among the negroes in the United States is from four to five times higher than among the whites. We have also seen that among our recent immigrants the Southern Italians have a pronounced tendency to crime, especially serious crime. Among our older immigrants the Irish on the other hand, owing largely to their love of liquor, have a pronounced tendency toward minor offenses. Even in 1904, 36.2 per cent of the foreign-born prisoners were Irish, while the Irish constituted but 15.6 per cent of the total foreign-born population.
(5) Defects in government and law are among the most potent causes of crime. These are so numerous that we cannot attempt even to mention all. It is obvious that such things as too great leniency on the part of our judges and shortness of sentence if convicted; difficulty or uncertainty in securing justice in criminal courts; costliness of obtaining justice in our civil courts; bad prison systems in which first offenders and hardened criminals mingle; lack of police surveillance of habitual criminals; corrupt methods of appointing the police; partisanship in the ad-ministration of government, and the like, all conduce to crime. And many of these things, we may add, have been especially in evidence in America.
(6) Educational conditions have undoubtedly a great influence upon crime. While education in the sense of school education could never in itself stamp out crime, still defective educational conditions greatly increase crime. This is shown sufficiently by the fact that illiterates are much more liable to commit crime than those who have a fair education. The prison census of 1904 showed that 12.6 per cent of the prisoners were illiterate, while only 10.7 per cent of the general population were illiterate; and of the major offenders not less than 20 per cent were illiterate.
The defects in our educational conditions which especially favor the development of crime in certain classes are chiefly: lack of. facilities for industrial education, lack of physical education, and lack of specific moral instruction. The need of these three things in a socialized school system need not here be more than emphasized.
The influence of the press as a popular educator must here be mentioned as one of the important stimuli to crime under modern conditions. The excessive exploitation of crimes in the modern sensational press no doubt conduces to increase criminality in certain classes, for it has been demonstrated that crime is often a matter of suggestion or imitation. When 75 per cent of the space in our daily newspapers is taken up with reports of crime and immorality, as it is in some cases, it is not to be wondered at that the contagion of crime is sown broad-cast in society.
(7) The influence of certain social institutions in producing crime must be mentioned. Here comes in especially the lack of opportunity for wholesome social amusements among our poorer classes, particularly in our large cities. Lacking these, the masses resort to the saloon, gambling-houses, cheap music and dance halls, and vulgar theatrical entertainments. The influence of all of these institutions is undoubtedly to spread the contagion of vice and crime among their patrons.
(8) The influence of manners and customs upon crime cannot be overlooked. The custom in certain communities, for example, of carrying concealed weapons undoubtedly has much to do with the swollen homicide statistics of the United States. Vicious and corrupting customs, such as compulsory social drinking, and the like, undoubtedly greatly influence crime. Even the luxury and extravagance of the rich might easily be shown to have a demoralizing effect, both upon the upper and the lower classes of society.
The list of causes of crime in the social environment might be indefinitely extended until the student would perhaps think that practically everything was a cause of crime in one way or another; and it is true that everything that depresses men in society is a cause of crime. How-ever, if the student has gained an impression of the great complexity of the causes of crime, that is the main thing.
A question may here be raised whether it is possible to reduce all the causes of crime to causes in the social environment that is, all subjective causes to objective. Many writers have contended that this is possible, but we shall see that there are causes in heredity and causes in psycho-logical conditions, to say nothing of some possible free will in individuals, which cannot be derived from social conditions and which would produce crime quite independent of objective social conditions, unless these subjective factors were also controlled. There is no reason to believe that a perfectly just social organization which did not attempt to control heredity and the moral character of individuals would succeed in eliminating crime. On the contrary, biological variation alone arising from influences independent of the environment would produce a certain amount of crime. Crime, in other words, is, to a certain extent, like pauperism, an expression of the elimination 0f the inferior variants in society, and will continue to exist as long as we allow the process of evolution by natural selection to go on.
Nevertheless, it is true in a certain sense, as Lacassagne says, that " every society has the criminals it deserves;" that is, every society could, by taking proper means, practically eliminate crime and the criminal class. This would have to be done, however, by something more radical than a mere reorganization of human society in an industrial way. Three things are necessary for society practically to eliminate crime: first, the correction of defects in social conditions, particularly of economic evils in society; second, the proper control of physical heredity by a rational system of eugenics; third, the proper education and training of every child for social life from infancy up.
The Subjective Causes of Crime. In order to see all that is involved in the above program let us study somewhat the subjective causes of crime. These may be divided into biological and psychological. Among the biological causes of crime, and one which certainly cannot be reduced to the environment, is sex. As we have already seen, crime is a social phenomenon which is chiefly confined to the male sex. In 1904, for example, 94.5 percent of the prison population in the United States were males, and in the statistics of convictions it is estimated that ninety one men are convicted for every nine women. The statistics for all civilized countries show practically the same conditions, although in most European countries the proportion of female prisoners is somewhat higher, owing, undoubtedly, to certain influences in the social environment.
Another subjective factor in crime, which again cannot be reduced to environment, is age. Practically all crime falls in the active period of life, and the bulk of it between the ages of twenty-one and forty years. The average of men in our state penitentiaries is frequently not above twenty-seven or twenty-eight years.
Other subjective biological conditions that cause crime may be summed up under the word "degeneracy." These abnormal conditions, however, we shall examine later.
Among the psychological conditions of the individual that give rise to crime the most common are habits, aims, and ideals. Of peculiar interest among personal habits that have an influence upon crime is intemperance, and this is such an important cause of crime that we must stop to examine it in some detail. It is often said that 95 per cent of the crime of our country results from this cause alone. The Committee of Fifty, however, investigated the cases of 13,402 convicts with reference to this matter, and found that intemperance was a cause of crime in the cases of 49.95 per cent. It was a chief cause of crime, however, only in the cases of 31.18 percent. In the remaining cases the intemperance was that of ancestors or associates. Other investigators have found that intemperance figures as a cause of crime in from 60 to 80 per cent of the cases, but these investigations were not so full as that of the Committee of Fifty, and it is safer to conclude, for the present at least, that intemperance figures as a cause in about fifty per cent in the cases of serious crime. The wonder is that any one cause could figure in so many cases when there are so many varied influences in society depressing men. Of course intemperance can, as has already been said, in large part be ascribed to the influence of external stimuli in the environment, but it has also causes in the biological and psychological make-up of certain individuals that cannot be easily reduced to environmental factors.
Influence of Physical Degeneracy upon Crime. By degeneracy we mean, to use Morel's definition, " a morbid deviation from the normal type." That is, degeneracy is such an alteration of organic structures- and functions that the organism becomes incapable of adapting itself to more or less complex conditions. Ordinary forms of degeneracy that are well recognized are feeble-mindedness, chronic insanity, chronic epilepsy, congenital deaf-mutism, habitual pauperism, and the like. Now there can be no doubt that criminality in some of its forms is related to these functional forms of degeneracy. Even ordinary people have noticed its similarity to insanity, while Lombroso has traced an elaborate parallel between criminality and epilepsy. Without accepting extreme views, it may be claimed that criminality is, in some cases, a form of biological degeneracy for the following reasons:
(1) The investigations of criminal anthropologists have established the fact that criminals as a class present a much larger number of structural and functional abnormalities than does the average man. The prisoners in our state prisons, for example, with few exceptions, could not measure up to the requirements laid down by the United States Army authorities for the enlistment of soldiers.
(2) Investigations, like that of the Jukes family by Dr. Dugdale, have established the fact that criminals, paupers, imbeciles, drunkards, prostitutes, and other de-generates frequently spring from the same family stock. A very large percentage of the prisoners in our prisons have come from more or less degenerate family stocks.
(3) Criminals more often show other forms of degeneracy than criminality than does the average population; that is, criminals often belong to one of the well-recognized degenerate classes, such as imbeciles, epileptics, and insane.
These three arguments may be considered to be conclusive proof that criminality is in some cases a manifestation of physiological degeneracy; but they do not show that the bulk of criminals come from physiologically degenerate stocks. On the contrary it is highly probable that the marks of physiological degeneracy are not to be seen in from more than 25 to 30 per cent of our criminal class. These marks of degeneracy are of course especially common among the instinctive or born criminals, and to some extent they are found among the habitual criminals also.
The Influence of Heredity on Crime. A word must be said about the influence of heredity on crime. The student will remember that, according to the modern theory of heredity, acquired characters, or characteristics, are not transmissible. Accordingly, when we find crime running in a family for generations, as in the Jukes or Zero families, we must assume either that the criminal tendency is transmitted by the social environment or that it is due to some congenital variation in some ancestor. In other words, if a person is a criminal by hereditary defect, if the criminal tendency is born in him, as it is in the instinctive criminal, he will transmit the tendency toward crime to his offspring; but if a normal person becomes a criminal by acquired habit he will transmit no tendency toward crime to his children, although his children may of course acquire the tendency from their social environment.
This is not saying, however, that in such cases as habitual drunkenness and habitual vice an impaired constitution may not be transmitted to offspring. But this, strictly speaking, is not the transmission of any specific acquired characteristic, but only a general transmission of impaired vitality which may show itself in crime and in various forms of degeneracy. The germ cells are of course a part of the body, and anything that profoundly impairs the nutrition of the body generally, such as alcoholism and constitutional diseases, would also impair the nutrition of the germ cells, and result in a weakened constitution in offspring.
Lombroso's Theory of Crime. Lombroso, and the Italian school of criminologists generally, attribute crime chiefly to atavism, that is, reversion to primitive types. They claim that the criminal in modern society is merely a biological reversion to the savage type of man; that the criminal constitutes therefore a distinct " anthropological variety"; and that there is a marked " criminal type " which can be made out even before a person has committed a crime. They say further that the criminal type is marked physically by having five or more of the stigmata of degeneration, and that it is marked mentally by having the characteristics of the savage or nature man. We cannot stop to criticize in full this completely biological theory of crime which is offered by Lombroso and his followers. Undoubtedly crime has biological roots, and these we have attempted to point out in discussing the influence of degeneracy upon crime. But to claim that the criminal constitutes a well-marked " anthropological variety " of the human species, as Lombroso argues, is to set up a claim for which there is no foundation. What Lombroso thinks are the marks of the criminal are simply the marks belonging to the degenerate classes in general. That is, they are found among the insane and feeble-minded, for example, as well as in some classes of criminals. There is then no criminal type which clearly separates the criminal from other classes of degenerates, and which will mark a man out as belonging to the criminal class even before he has committed a crime. Lombroso and some of his school have altogether over-emphasized the physical and anatomical side of the study of the criminal, and slighted the sociological side of such study. Moreover, Lombroso's statements, which he makes in very general terms, apply, if they apply at all, not to criminals as a class, but only to instinctive criminals, as indeed he himself has acknowledged.
Remedies for Crime. The remedies for crime are dealt with by the subsidiary science of penology, which may be regarded as a branch of scientific philanthropy. We can only direct the student's attention here to the vast literature on the subject and remark that the cure for crime consists not in some social panacea or in social revolution, but in dealing with the causes of crime so as to prevent the existence of the criminal class. In a general way, we have already indicated in discussing the remedies for poverty and pauperism what the steps must be to eradicate crime. In order practically to wipe out crime in society, as we have already said, three things are necessary. First, every individual must have a good birth; that is, heredity must be controlled so that only those who are physically and mentally sound are allowed to marry and reproduce. The difficulties of doing this we have already noted. Second, every individual must have a good training, both at home and at school, so as to adjust him properly to the social life. His education must fit him to take his place among other men, make him able to take care of himself, and to help others; and make him, in every possible way, acquainted with the social inheritance of the race. Last but not least, just social conditions must be provided. Everything in the social environment must be carefully looked after in order to insure the best development of the individual and to prevent his environment from being in any way a drawback to him.
These things, if it were possible to bring them about, would wipe out crime, or, at least, minimize it to the lowest terms. Of course, this cannot be done in a generation, perhaps not in many generations, but it is evident that the problem of crime is in no way an insoluble problem in human society. With time and care and scientific knowledge, crime, as well as poverty and pauperism, could be wiped out.
But curative measures are important, also, in dealing with the criminal, and each distinct class must be dealt with differently. We noted in the beginning of the chapter the three great character types in the criminal class : the instinctive criminal, in whom the tendency toward a life of crime is inborn; the habitual criminal, who acquires the habit of crime from his surroundings; and the single offender, who, while committing a single offense, never becomes a criminal in the strictest sense. These three distinct classes of criminals, whom we might style the degenerates, the derelicts, and the accidental offenders, need to be recognized in our criminal law and to be dealt with differently by our criminal courts and correctional institutions. The instinctive criminal can scarcely be adjusted to normal social life. He is, as we have already seen, essentially a defective, usually more or less feeble-minded. Reformation in the fullest sense of the word is almost out of the question in his case. The proper policy for society with reference to the instinctive criminal class, which constitutes but a small portion of our total criminal population, would be segregation for life. Practically, of course, this may have its difficulties until we perfect our means of discovering slight mental defects in individuals which make them incapable of social adjustment, but practically, also, we have found means of recognizing this type by such marks as incorrigibility, recidivism, and the stigmata of degeneracy.
The habitual criminal, who originally was a normal person, can be, at least in the early part of his career, fully reformed. Children and adolescents, even though habitual offenders, are easily susceptible of reformation, but this is difficult with the adult habitual offender past thirty years of age who has a long criminal record behind him. Like the instinctive criminal, he is scarcely capable of reformation. Hardened habitual offenders, and especially professional criminals, should, therefore, be sentenced upon indeterminate sentences, terminable only when adequate evidence of their reformation has been secured. This can best be accomplished by what is known as the " habitual criminal act," providing that persons guilty of three or four felonies shall be sent to prison for life, to be released only upon satisfactory evidence of reformation.
The single offender, who is usually a reputable citizen who commits crime through passion or through great temptation, can usually best be dealt with outside of prison walls. The young single offender, if not properly handled, may be easily transformed into an habitual criminal. On the whole, a young single offender who has had no criminal record is, perhaps, best dealt with by the system of probation which we will note later. On the other hand, certain single offenders past thirty years of age, such as bribe-givers and bribe-takers, society may have to punish in order to make an example of. Exemplary punishment is, undoubtedly, still necessary in some cases, and in the main it should be reserved for this class of mature offenders in society who have otherwise lived reputable lives. Just how far exemplary punishment should be used in society as a deterrent to crime is a disputed question among penologists. Whether, as in cases of homicide, it. should ever go to the extent of capital punishment or not depends very much upon the civilization of the group. In a civilization like ours, where blood vengeance is so often demanded by mobs, it is probably unwise, for the present at least, to seek the abolition of capital punishment for murder in the first degree.
The Prison System. Every state should have at least six distinct sets of institutions to deal with the criminal class.
1. County and city jails for the detention of offenders awaiting trial.
2. Reform schools for delinquent children under sixteen years of age who require institutional treatment.
3. Industrial reformatories for adult first offenders between sixteen and thirty years of age who require institutional treatment.
4. Special reformatories for vagrants, inebriates, and prostitutes.
5. A hospital prison for the criminal insane.
6. County and state penitentiaries for incorrigible, hardened criminals.
If any one of these sets of institutions is lacking in a state, it is impossible for the state to deal properly in a remedial way with the problem of crime. All these institutions, of course, need to be manned by experts and equipped in the best possible way. The present condition of our jails, of our penitentiaries, and to some extent of our reform schools, frequently makes them schools of crime. Nothing is more demoralizing in any community than a bad jail where criminals of all classes are herded together in idleness. Again, the administration of some of our state penitentiaries with an eye to profit only, makes them places for the deformation of character rather than for its reformation. Again, the lack of special institutions to deal with habitual vagrants, drunkards, and prostitutes, is one of the great reasons why we find it so difficult to stamp out crime. Into the details of the organization, construction, and management of these institutions we cannot go in this book. It is sufficient to say that all these institutions should furnish specialized scientific treatment for the various delinquent classes with which they deal, and to do this they should aim to reproduce the conditions and discipline of free life as far as possible. These institutions, in other words, with the exception of the penitentiaries and other institutions for segregation, should aim at overcoming defective character in individuals. Their work is mainly, therefore, a work of remedying psychical defects in the individual which prevent his proper adjustment to society. In the case of penitentiaries, however, the work is one mainly of segregation, of providing humane care under such conditions as least to burden society, and at the same time give such opportunity as there may be for reformation.
Substitutes for Imprisonment. We have already noted that some classes of offenders may be reformed outside of prison walls. This is especially true of children, of the younger misdemeanants, and of those who have committed their first felony. It has been found that by suspending sentences in such cases, giving the person liberty upon certain conditions, and placing him under the surveillance of an officer of the court who will stand in the relation of friend and quasi-guardian to him, that reformation can, in many cases, be easily accomplished. This is known as the probation system. It has been characterized as " a reformatory without walls." Originating in Massachusetts, it has been increasingly put into practice of recent years in many states with much success. The system, however, will not work well without trained probation officers to watch over those who are given conditional liberty. The practice of placing upon probation without probation officers is a questionable one and is liable to bring in disrepute the whole system. Probation is not mere leniency, as some suppose, but is rather a system of reformation in line with the most scientific approved methods.
Coupled with probation should often go fines and restitution to injured parties. In such cases, when the person is placed upon probation, the fine or restitution may often be paid in installments, and it has been found to have a decidedly reformatory effect upon the character of the offender. Fines without probation are, however, but little more than retribution, or exemplary punishment.
Delinquent Children. The treatment of delinquent children constitutes a special problem in itself. It has recently come to be well recognized that criminal tendencies nearly always appear in childhood, and that if we can over-come these tendencies in the delinquent child, we shall largely prevent the existence of an habitual criminal class. Strictly speaking, of course, the child is a presumptive rather than a real criminal. The delinquent child is socially maladjusted and is scarcely ever to be considered an enemy of organized society. Delinquent children should be dealt with, therefore, as presumptive rather than as genuine criminals. In general, therefore, they should not be arrested, should not be put in jail with older offenders, and should be tried by a special court in which the judge representing the state plays the rτle of a parent. For the most part, delinquent children may be dealt with, as we have already seen by putting them upon probation under the care of proper probation officers. When the home surroundings are not good, such children may often be placed in families and their reformation more easily secured than if placed in institutions. In any case, they should never be sent to the reform school except as a last resort. The parent or guardian, also, should be held responsible for the delinquency of the child if he is contributory thereto by his negligence or otherwise.
We may sum up this chapter, then, by repeating that the problem of crime is in no way an insoluble problem in human society, though, perhaps, a certain amount of occasional and accidental crime will always exist. The solution of the problem, as we have seen, only demands that man should secure the same mastery over his social environment and over human nature that he has already practically achieved over physical nature; and the gradual development of the social sciences will certainly make this possible some time in the future.