Document 18G: "Appendix," Kate Richards O'Hare, In Prison, by Kate Richards O'Hare, Sometime Federal prisoner number 21669 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923), pp. 181-86.
STATEMENT BY THE AUTHOR
When I found that I might be compelled to spend many months in prison I felt that I should like to make my incarceration of social value, if possible, by making a detailed study of my fellow convicts.
With the co-operation of the heads of departments of universities, heads of social service organizations, scientific societies, employers of labour, labour leaders and other interested individuals I prepared the outline reproduced in this appendix, for a case book on criminology.
When the outline was completed I visited (1918) Governor Frederick D. Gardner of Missouri, submitted a copy of the schedule, asked his co-operation in securing permission to make the survey in case I should be compelled to serve as a federal prisoner in the state penitentiary at Jefferson City. Governor Gardner seemed to feel quite sure that such a survey would be of great social value. He called in his private secretary, discussed the matter with him at length, and then gave his unqualified promise that he would arrange that the prison officials should not only give me permission to make the survey, but that I should have every co-operation needful.
I then visited the University of Missouri at Columbia, and found that the department of psychology and the medical school would be willing to make the psychological and medical examinations, and were keenly anxious that a case study in criminology should be made.
I also visited Governor Lynn J. Frazier of North Dakota, the state in which my presumed offence was said to have been
committed, the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, and the warden and physician of the state penitentiary at Bismarck.
The North Dakota officials were eager to arrange with the Department of Justice for my incarceration in the penitentiary at Bismarck. They were deeply interested in the data the survey might make available and offered every opportunity for the work to be done, as well as the services of certain convicts capable of doing clerical work.
Before entering the prison at Jefferson City I had prepared myself for the work on the case book. The schedules had been printed and I expected to undertake the work which Governor Gardner had promised that I should be permitted to do. But the prison officials were of another mind. I was strong and in good health and capable of doing more than the ordinary amount of work in the prison workshop, so I was told that I was there to work and not to make a prison survey. However, my husband was permitted to bring me a bundle of the schedule blanks and I made the survey "under cover" during recreation hours. I managed to get the case histories of about two hundred women. I not only had no difficulty in getting the information I desired, but the prisoners felt slighted if I failed to ask them for the data. When Mr. Fishman, the U. S. Inspector of federal prisons, visited me in Jefferson City I gave him the above facts, and made a formal request to be transferred to the penitentiary at Bismarck, North Dakota. I thought that this work might be of greater social value than making overalls in the prison workshop, but the Department of Justice refused to make the transfer.
When I was released I was permitted to take out my library of several hundred books which had been sent me by friends, as well as paintings, gifts and other personal belongings, except my bundle of case histories. This had been taken to the matron's office by a trusty with my other property, but when I looked for it to pack with my books I found that it was missing, and I was told it had been destroyed. I
feel that this action on the part of the prison officials at Jefferson City was anti-social. Such data as I had secured would certainly have been of some value in the study of delinquent psychology. Because of the months I had given to the work, and the eager co-operation of the prisoners, the work constituted an exhaustive survey. Because I was a convict I secured information inaccessible to the ordinary research worker. In destroying the case studies the prison officials robbed themselves of what might have been of value to them, and deprived scientists of the opportunity of considering the fruits of my original researches.
The outline of the proposed case book follows.
p. 184A PROPOSED STUDY IN CRIMINOLOGY
It is but recently that any serious study along modern lines and with present-day methods and conceptions has been given to the problem of the causes for crime, the prevention of the development of criminals and the rehabilitation of the offenders. No such detailed studies have been made in the field of crime as have been made in the realm of sanitation; little data exist for the use of the student; no generally accepted conclusions are available for the guidance of those responsible for the safety, moral health and general well-being of the community. Crime is as old as disease, quite as wasteful and more of a menace to society. Modern science bids fair to conquer disease in the near future, and it would seem but common sense that we should, if possible, determine scientifically whether crime is a social disease, or the result of social disease, and to what extent the criminal is mentally or physically deficient and unable to cope with an adverse environment.
The agencies in charge of the administration of social life in all countries have become aware that disease and death are subject, within certain limits, to human control. The research work of the students of hygiene and sanitations, and the achievements of sanitary engineers, have demonstrated the value of detailed investigations as a necessary basis for their work. Because of such investigations an immense literature and technique now exists dealing with hygiene and sanitation, which organized society is making use of. Everywhere prevention is replacing efforts to cure in the world of physical well-being.
Pioneer work must be done in the investigation of the life
histories of individual inmates of penal institutions in order to determine, if possible, the forces that foster the inception and development of criminalistic careers. No progress can be made in reducing the appalling social waste due to crime until it is accurately determined to what extent crime is an individual reaction, separate and apart from social causes, and to what extent there are causes external to the individual as sure to produce crime and criminals, as insanitary conditions are sure to produce physical disease.
The inmates confined in the State Penitentiary of Missouri.
METHODS TO BE USED
Personal examination of each individual, along the following lines:
1. Family history -- data regarding parents (heredity).
2. Economic status -- training in useful labour, etc.
3. Social background -- during youth, adolescence, and maturity, etc.
4. Psychological examination.
5. Physical examination.
6. History of delinquency.
Sufficient individuals would be examined in the course of the survey to insure an ample mass of data for scientific study. The inquiry in the case of each delinquent would be made with considerable detail, as is shown by the schedules included herewith.
CASE BOOK OF CRIMINOLOGY
The data secured to be published for the free use of public officials, social workers, educators, pastors, sociologists, psy-
chologists, criminologists, and physicians, as a source book in the study of the causes of crime and methods of prevention.
NOTE 1 -- The examination under heads 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7, to be conducted by Mrs. O'Hare; expert specialists to handle 4 (psychological) and 5 (physical).
| Documents Projects and Archives | Teacher's Corner | Scholar's Edition | Full-Text Sources | About Us | Contact Us |