Not the First Time This Has Been Said, Nor the Last…
“Great difficulty is experienced by discharged convicts in obtaining employment.
“In many cases the convict leaves in impaired health and unable to work if he could find employment. He has neither money nor friends.
“What is to become of him? He has made up his mind to lead an honest life but he cannot live on resolves alone. He must have food. Finding no one to sympathize with him, no one to encourage and give him a morsel to eat, he comes to the conclusion that society is waging an unrelenting warfare against him. He falls in with his old associates in crime, who relieve his wants and in time he returns again to the prison.
“That man is irretrievably ruined. Nor is this a fancy sketch. Cases of this sort have occurred in our prison and will, it is not doubted, occur again.
“Are we not, therefore, called upon by every principle of humanity to mitigate, if not remove, this great evil? Are we not, as Christians and as men, under obligations to do something toward encouraging this unfortunate class?
“If these men could be furnished with the necessary means to enable them to reach the great field of labor many of them would reform and become useful citizens.
“It is far better – as a mere question of economy – to appropriate a small sum to aid in getting (released inmates) employment than to expend thousands in convicting them again and supporting them in prison.”
—Gov. John B. Weller, Annual Message to the Legislature, January 1860.
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