A special establishment for the perpetual or indefinite seclusion of incorrigible criminals has been proposed or approved in Italy by Lombroso, Curcio, Barini, Doria, Tamassia, Garofalo, Carelli; in France by Despine, Labatiste, Tissot, Leveille; in Russia by Minzloff; in England by May; in Germany by Kraepelin and Lilienthal; in Austria by Wahlberg; in Switzerland by Guillaume; in America by Wines and Wayland; in Holland by Van Hamel; in Portugal by Lucas; &c.
But I believe that, in order to establish the fact of incorrigibility, the number of relapses should vary in regard to different criminals and crimes. Thus, for instance, in the case of murders, especially by born criminals, the first crime should lead to an order for imprisonment for life. In the case of less serious crimes, such as rape, theft, wounding, swindling, &c., from two to four relapses should be necessary before the habitual criminal is sentenced to such imprisonment.
These ideas are approximately carried out, especially in the countries which, having made no great advance in the criminal sciences, meet with less of pedantic opposition to practical reforms.
Thus we find that France, after the proposals of Michaux, Petit, and Migneret, and especially after the advocacy of M. Reinach, followed by several publications of a like kind, agreed to the law of 1885 on the treatment of recidivism.
Messrs. Murray Brown and Baker spoke at the Prison Congress at Stockholm and at the Societe Generale des Prisons at Paris, of the system of cumulative and progressive sentences adopted, though not universally, in England with respect to hardened criminals. The term of imprisonment is increased, almost regularly, on each new relapse. This is the system which had already been suggested by Field and Walton Pearson at the Social Science Congress in October, 1871, and subsequently by Cox and Call, who was head of the police at Glasgow, at the Congress of 1874, and which, as Mr. Movatt pointed out, was adopted in the Indian penal code, and had been established in Japan by a decree fixing perpetual imprisonment after the fourth relapse.
The delegate from Canada at the Prison Congress at Stockholm testified that short terms of imprisonment increased the number of offences. ``After a first sentence many offenders in this class become professional criminals. Professional thieves, who are habitual offenders, ought, with few exceptions, to be sentenced to imprisonment for life, or for a term equivalent to the probable remainder of their life.'' The draft Russian code, in 1883, provides that, ``If it is found that the accused is guilty of several offences, and that he has committed them through habitual criminality, or as a profession, the court, when deciding upon the punishment in relation to the different crimes, may increase it,'' &c. And the Italian penal code, though with much timidity, has decreed a special increase of punishment for prisoners ``who have relapsed several times.''
Quite recently, Senator Berenger introduced a measure in France ``on the progressive increase of punishment in cases of relapse,'' which became law on March 26, 1891, under the title of ``the modification and increase of punishments.''
It is therefore very probable that even the classical criminalists will end by accepting the indefinite seclusion of hardened criminals, as they have already come to accept criminal lunatic asylums, though both ideas are opposed to the classical theories.