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Increase in repeated Commitments to Prison.-We find that in 1884 the number A
Increase most marked among Confirmed Offenders.-Prison statistics further B prove that it is amongst the most incorrigible class of offenders that the increased re-commitments have principally occurred. This is very clearly brought out if we compare the tables of re-committals to prison, published in the Annual Reports of the Prison Commissioners. Taking the five last years, we find that the total re-committals in Scotland, once and oftener, and the re-committals of those who had been ten times or oftener previously in prison, stood in the years 1889-90 to 1893-94, as follows:
The increase in the total re-commitments was therefore 749 or 47 per cent.; C while the increase of the more hardened offenders was 347 or 14 per cent.
Causes of Increase. In considering the causes of the increase of petty and D habitual offenders in Scotland several facts require to be borne in mind. For instance, the number of commitments to prison of offenders under 16 years of age has diminished by 471 in 1893 as contrasted with 1861. This is doubtless due to the institution of Reformatory and Industrial Schools and the enactment of compulsory education, which, apart from other considerations, deprives juvenile delinquents of much of the opportunity previously afforded for wrong-doing. Another cause is doubtless also an improvement in public sentiment, which renders magistrates reluctant to commit such cases. To this we believe to be due a considerable portion of that diminution in the ratio of petty offences See ante,p.iii. to population which is noticeable in the case of larger burghs. In the case of the
counties and smaller burghs the same causes would, of course, exert an influence in
Influence of Legislation and Police Administration on number of Offenders.- E The potency of these two causes in influencing the number of arrests and convictions is not generally sufficiently appreciated. To illustrate it, take the case of Glasgow. In 1866 the principal Glasgow Police Act was passed. Under the Act in vogue prior to its passing, the drunken cases with which the police had to do were classified as drunk and incapable and drunk and disorderly, but the coupling of drunk with disorderly was found to lead to miscarriage of justice when the drunkenness could not be proved. The Act of 1866 therefore omitted the drunkenness in disorderly cases, and charged the disorder simply. The last complete year in which the old Act was in force was 1866, and the number of convictions, admonitions, and pledges forfeited in that year in cases of drunk and incapable, drunk and disorderly, assaults, and disorderly, amounted to 15,656. The first complete year under the new Act was 1868, and in that year the number of convictions, admonitions, and forfeited pledges in cases of drunk and incapable, assaults, and disorderly rose to 16,226. This increase of 570, we may take it, was due chiefly to the change of law. But prior to 1866, and for seven years afterwards, the custom was for the lieutenants in charge of the various police offices to discharge when sober those drunks who could not leave a pledge, as not worth the trouble of bringing before the magistrate. In 1873 the magistrates gave orders that this system should be discontinued, and that every person who did not leave a sufficient pledge should be brought before them. 1873 was the last complete year during which the old system was in force, and in that year the number of convictions, admonitions, and pledges forfeited in cases charged as drunk and incapable,
A assault, and disorderly amounted to 24,324, while the drunks' discharged without leaving
Case of Perth.-Again we may take the case of Perth. In that city, without any special change in the law, the number of arrests, which during the administration of one Chief Constable had been between 500 and 600, sprang up on the appointment of his successor to over 1000. The only reason the new Chief Constable could give was the change in the management of the police. The people, he admitted, were not more drunken or disorderly, but those who were allowed to escape before were dealt with now.2Q. 7357–8.
C Cases of Govan and Partick.-Another illustration of the extent to which the
While it is right to state that in no instance did we find any prisoner in a police office whose condition and appearance did not afford strong presumptive evidence in justification of his arrest, we must state our conviction that a judicious management of the police tends to diminish the percentage of arrests to population, and we commend to attention the following extract from a memorandum (to be found in our Appendix) by the Chief Constable of Partick relating to arrests in his district":-Having had Appendix experience in five different Police Forces during the last 23 years, I must say that the that the LXXII. more efficient the management of a Police Force is, and the more the Police keeps in touch with the Public, the fewer will be the apprehensions.'
In Scotland the Magistrates are indirectly elected by the inhabitants of the different localities, and where any peculiarity in the management of the police' is based on definite instructions from them, we may assume that it accords with popular sentiment. Where, however, it results simply from the idiosyncrasy of the local Chief Constable, as appears often to be the case, we think it but proper that attention should be called to it, in order that if it be commendable the example may be held up for imitation, and if it be the reverse, the attention of the local Magistrates may be called to it.
1 Donaldson, Appendix LV.
If this were done, although it could not bring about uniformity in the 'management of the police' throughout Scotland, it would tend to discourage those extreme departures from it, to which the fact of so much being left to the unsupervised discretion of individual Chief Constables at present gives rise.
Conclusions. In response to the question propounded in the first portion of remit, your Committee have to report
We therefore recommend that the Inspector of Constabulary should, as part of his
(1) That the percentage of convictions to population for graver offences in Scotland
Appendix E. Col. M'Hardy's letter, 1st Dec. 1893.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SCOTTISH AND ENGLISH LAW AND ADMINISTRATION.
Although at first blush the fact that 38 persons per 1000 are annually apprehended or cited in Scotland against 25 in England, and that 12.3 per 1000 are annually imprisoned in Scotland against 5.6 in England, would seem to indicate the existence of a far greater amount of crime in Scotland than in England,' your Committee see no reason to believe that such is the case. In Scotland the system of public prosecution operates in the case of all offences, petty or serious, whereas in England it is resorted to only in that of the serious crimes, petty offences being there prosecuted either by the police or by private individuals. The committals to penal servitude, where the systems of prosecution adopted render a fair comparison possible, are proportionately almost identical in the two countries, being per hundred thousand of
* Appendix F. population in Scotland 2-4 against 2-3 in England. In indictable crimes where the public
prosecutor intervenes in a large number of cases that in England would be left to private
* Col. M'Hardy's tableAppendix F.
The Offence of Drunkenness in England and Scotland. By much the greater portion of the apparent excess of crime in Scotland over that in England is due to drunkenness and offences arising therefrom. Thus in 1892 the number of persons charged with drunkenness, breach of peace, and petty assault in Scotland, was upwards of 103,000, whereas in England, with more than seven times the population, it was under
• Appendix E. 254,000. This would at first sight seem to indicate the existence of a much greater
-M'Hardy's letter 1st Dec. 1893.
amount of drunkenness in Scotland than in England, but that by no means follows. The fact is that the law and the practice of the police in the two countries are so different as to render any comparison based on police statistics utterly misleading. Here, for example, is a description of the practice in London extracted from the evidence which Mr. de Rutzen, police magistrate at Westminster, gave before the Minutes of Departmental Committee of 1892 on the Treatment of Inebriates."
Evidence of that Com
mittee, Q. 223
'In a great many years' experience I have never known the police to take anybody D to the station for being drunk and incapable, unless incapable, in the sense of either lying down dazed, asleep, either in the middle of the street, or in the gutter, or on the pavement, and so forth. And the mode in which they are dealt with now is, they
are taken to the station to be taken care of; as soon as they become sober the police
(2) That the number of convictions for petty offences has within the same period A
(3) That the number of habitual offenders, as indicated by those imprisoned more
(4) That there has been a disproportionately large increase in the number of
(5) That the increase in the number of convictions, &c., for petty offences is not
are obliged to let them out, and my experience is that there is not one in twelve
whom a magistrate sees after they are let out from the station. The police have the
power to summon, it is true, but the persons detained probably have given either a
false address or a false name, and nothing more is ever heard of them. . . .
.. The only
excuse for taking them to the station is the same excuse that you might have if you
and in the same way the police only take a drunken person to the station and detain
A him there until he is fit to go, and bind him over in recognisances to appear next day.
Drunken people having found out that there is no kind of power to enforce attendance,
'never make any appearance at all, and therefore, one after another, when the name is
called, the magistrate marks "no appearance," leaving it entirely to the police to take
Contrast this with the practice in Scotland. In Dundee in 1865 there were 1231 arrests for Drunkenness, Drunk and Incapable, and Disorderly Conduct; in 1875, 1656; in 1885, 1169; and in 1893, 1615. Every one of these 5671 arrests is recorded as having resulted in fine, imprisonment, admonition, or forfeiture of pledge. In Edinburgh 'Appendix X. in 1893, out of 2206 persons arrested for the offences specified, 15 only appear to have been acquitted; the rest resulted in fine, imprisonment, admonition, or forfeiture of pledges.
Differences between Scottish and English Poor Law.-Your Committee also had to keep in view the differences between the Scottish and the English Poor Law systems. On the one hand, as brought out by Mr M'Neill, and as fully dealt with by us afterwards (p. xxi, C), the Scottish Poor Law system is one of outdoor relief, with the poorhouse only as an auxiliary or as a check. On the other hand, the theory of the Scottish Poor Law, differing on this point totally from the English, absolutely denies relief, not only to all able-bodied persons themselves, but to those persons dependent upon them, who if they were in employment, they would be held to be able to maintain. In Scotland the relief of the able-bodied and of their dependants is left to the charity of public bodies and private persons. This theory is one which Parochial Authorities find it difficult to carry out in its strictness, but we have accepted it as one which is not to be altered, and we have framed our suggestions so as to make the minimum of interference with it.
Differences in Prison Administration. It is also to be remembered that there is a considerable difference in the details of Prison Administration in Scotland and England. For instance, in Scottish prisons there are no tread-wheels or other mechanical means of inflicting what is known in England as first-class hard labour. Sentences involving hard labour are comparatively rare in Scotland, while in England they form the great majority; and it may thus have come about that the need for mechanical appliances has not been strongly felt in Scotland: nevertheless the tread-wheel and crank have both been tried in Scotland, and abandoned many years ago as improper instruments of punishment.
The Scottish prisoner is therefore engaged entirely in industrial labour, some kinds of it as for instance, oakum picking-being unfortunately not satisfactory in their results either as means of reformation or as giving good financial returns; but the profitable employment of prisoners has always been a difficult question, and every effort is made to find suitable and remunerative labour for them.
DIFFERENCE IN LAW AND ADMINISTRATION WITHIN SCOTLAND.
In cases of drunkenness.-In Scotland itself, while the law on the subject of drunkenness is uniform throughout the Counties, however much its administration may differ, both law and administration differ to a bewildering extent in the different Burghs. In the Edinburgh Police Act, for example, there is one definition of a Drunk and Incapable, and he is liable to a maximum penalty of 40s. or 1 month's imprisonment; in the Glasgow and Greenock Police Acts there is a wider definition, but the maximum penalty is 40s. or 14 days. In the Burghs under the operation of the Burgh Police Act, or which have (like Dundee) adopted the same provisions on this point, the punishment is 40s. or one month, and in the case of habitual drunkenness a sentence of 14 days' imprisonment without the option of a fine may be inflicted. Under the Greenock Police Act a man committed as drunk and incapable may, after 6 previous convictions for the same offence, be sent to jail for 60 days, while in the Counties he may get drunk as frequently as he pleases at a maximum penalty of 5s. or 24 hours. In Police Administration too there is the greatest diversity. In Glasgow, drunk-and-incapables, or other petty offenders, are, on becoming sober, liberated from the police cells on leaving pledges of 58. or 7s. 6d.; and having done so they depart and hear no more of the matter. Those who cannot leave pledges are brought before the Magistrate and dealt with very summarily, especially on busy mornings (Mondays for example), when they are
brought up, and plead guilty or are dismissed in batches. In this way out of 33,998 A arrested as Drunk or Disorderly, 2488 escaped without fine or imprisonment, admonition or forfeited pledge. In Edinburgh, on the contrary, those released on pledge are only allowed to go on condition that they shall appear before the Court next morning, and if they fail to present themselves their pledges are forfeited and they are proceeded against by summons, and the system is so thoroughly enforced that, as has been mentioned, only 15 out of 2206 arrested in 1893 are unaccounted for under the heads of Conviction, Admonition, or Pledge forfeited. But in Edinburgh, instead of the prisoner being dealt with at once, he only receives immediate sentence if he pleads guilty. If he pleads not guilty his case is remanded for 24 hours for the convenience of the police. The habitual petty offender, knowing this, only refrains from pleading guilty when a Magistrate reputed for his severity happens to be on the Bench, and then he does so in hope of getting off more easily before another Magistrate next day. An innocent novice, however, arrested on Friday afternoon, without friends or money, and ill-advised enough to plead not guilty on Saturday morning, might, and no doubt occasionally does, under such a system subject himself to 48 hours' extra incarceration in the police cells. In Q. 13,808. Cupar and other burghs in Fife,' on the other hand, so careful are the authorities to avoid
the unnecessary detention of untried prisoners that Magistrates are appointed to visit the
3 Q. 11,344.
the passing of this last Act our powers were limited. It was only 5s. or 24 hours
man before the Court if we can help it, because a man might be ruined if it was found that he came before the Police Court. We study these things in Paisley.'** We have gone somewhat into detail on this branch of the subject because we desire to make clear the vast extent to which difference of Police Administration in different localities must affect the significance of criminal statistics so far as petty offences are concerned, rendering comparisons between those of different localities in Scotland almost as impossible as between those of Scotland and England.
Habitual Offenders vary their Offences.-One fact it is important to bear in B mind in dealing with the whole question-the habitual offender, as a rule, does not confine himself to one offence. The greater number of his convictions may be for breach of the peace, or even for incapable drunkenness, but generally, in the case of males, other charges, such as obscene language, begging, malicious mischief, theft, or robbery, sooner or later appear on the record; and in the cases of females, importuning generally figures among the charges. Thus a return of female offenders brought before the Dundee City Police Court more than four times during the year 1893 gives the record of 79 women. Among these women were only seven whose repeated appearances were due to one charge
-that charge being in three cases breach of the peace and assault, in two, drunkenness, and in the two others, importuning. Of the remaining 72, who during the year 1893 had between them been apprehended 550 times, the charges on which they had been arrested were in 238 cases breach of the peace, in 174 drunkenness, in 169 importuning, and in 5 petty theft.
COMMITMENTS FOR PROSTITUTION.
The number of commitments for petty offences of females to prison in Scotland" in C 1893 was 15,206; of these, 3100 commitments, or over one-fifth of the whole, were
* The exceptional leniency of the Paisley police force does not seem to have blinded them to the fact that the increased fine which could be imposed under the Burgh Police Act inferred a legitimate increase in the pledge that could be exacted in suitable cases. The customary pledge had accordingly been raised to 5s. 6d. or 7s. 6d., and in the case of a prisoner with £1 in his possession the Chief Constable told us that he would make it 10s.