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In and Out of Jail

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Authors Charles Dickens
Henry Morley
W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genres Prose: Digest; Review i
Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Crime; Criminals; Punishment; Capital Punishment; Prisons; Penal Transportation; Penal Colonies
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Other Details
Printed : 14/5/1853
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume VII
Magazine : No. 164
Office Book Notes
Views : 858

Dickens probably wrote the following portion of 'In and Out of Jail': from 'I go further still' (p. 244) to the conclusion.
Dickens may also have written or added to the following passage: from 'Thus far' to 'Mr. Hill proposes' (p. 244).
In addition, Dickens seems to have added touches to the following passage: from the beginning to ''without mercy'' (p. 242).
Finally, Dickens seems to have interpolated brief comments elsewhere in the essay.
This article, a review of Frederic Hill's Crime: Its Amount, Causes, and Remedies (1853), was originally written by Morley under the title of 'A Doctor of Morals.' Dickens was dissatisfied and instructed Wills to make changes (see letter of 10 March 1853 below), but apparently was still dissatisfied when he saw Wills' revision, and finally reworked the piece himself, editing it and adding the passages listed above.
Dickens' letter to Wills gives some indication of how strictly he controlled the editorial policies of Household Words, how closely those policies followed his own ideas, and how pervasively he colored articles not his own, by his known predilections and editorial assignments, as well as by interpolating phrases, comments, and sometimes long passages. In this instance, portions of Morley's piece ran counter to Dickens' published views. Dickens writes:

A Doctor of Morals, impossible of insertion as it stands. A mere puff for Hill, with all the difficult parts of the question blinked, and many statements utterly at variance with what I am known to have written. It is exactly because the great bulk of offences in a great number of places are committed by professed thieves, that it will not do to have Pet Prisoning advocated, without grave remonstrance and great care [see 'Pet Prisoners' by Dickens, Household Words, 27 April 1850; see also 'Cain in the Fields', Household Words, 10 May 1851]. That class of prisoner is not to be reformed. We must begin at the beginning and prevent by stringent education and supervision of wicked parents, that class of prisoner from being regularly supplied as if he were a human necessity.
Do they teach trades in workhouses, and try to fit their people (the worst part of them) for Society? Come with me to Tothill Fields Bridewell, or to Shepherd's Bush [the former was a prison for petty offenders, the latter a home for "fallen women" founded by Angela Burdett-Coutts with Dickens' very active participation], and I will show you what a workhouse girl is. Or look to my Walk in a Workhouse (in H. W . [25 May 1850]) and to the glance at the youths I saw in one place, positively kept like wolves.
Mr. Hill thinks prisons could be made nearly self-supporting. Have you any idea of the difficulty that is found in disposing of Prison-Work? Or does he know that the Treadmills didn't grind the air because the State or the Magistracy objected to the competition of prison labour with free labour, but because the work could not be got?
I never can have any kind of prison discipline disquisition in H. W. that does not start with the first great principle I have laid down, and that does not protest against prisons being considered per se. Whatever chance is given to a man in a prison, must be given to a man in a refuge for distress.
The article in itself is very good, but it must have these points in it; otherwise I am not only compromising opinions I am known to hold, but the journal itself is blowing hot and cold and playing fast and loose, in a ridiculous way ...
Let me see a revise when you have got it together ...

Dickens saw the 'revise' and then reworked the article himself.

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

Based largely on Frederic Hill, Crime: Its Amount, Causes, and Remedies (1853).

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