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- noun Plural form of
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The small number of recommittals is no proof of the efficacy of this system; since, in a country like the United States, a liberated felon may very easily choose another locality for his sphere of action.
I am also not quite convinced that the reformation of prisoners is effected to the extent sometimes inferred from the small number of recommittals.
I may here mention that only a few years before my arrival in the country, the treatment of all convicted invalids had been much more barbarous than now; for no physical remedy was provided, and prisoners were put to the severest labour in all sorts of weather, so that most of them soon succumbed to the extreme hardships which they suffered; this was supposed to be beneficial in some ways, inasmuch as it put the country to less expense for the maintenance of its criminal class; but the growth of luxury had induced a relaxation of the old severity, and a sensitive age would no longer tolerate what appeared to be an excess of rigour, even towards the most guilty; moreover, it was found that juries were less willing to convict, and justice was often cheated because there was no alternative between virtually condemning a man to death and letting him go free; it was also held that the country paid in recommittals for its overseverity; for those who had been imprisoned even for trifling ailments were often permanently disabled by their imprisonment; and when a man has been once convicted, it was probable he would never afterwards be long off the hands of the country.