Crime: Its Cause and Treatment eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about Crime.

After all, the great majority of men must do some kind of manual labor.  Until the time shall come when this kind of work is as easy and as well paid as other employment, no one will do manual labor if he can do any other kind.  Perhaps the time may come when the hardest and most disagreeable work will be the best paid.  There are too many unskilled workers in proportion to the population to make this seem very near.  In the meantime—­and that is doubtless a long time—­some one must do this work.  Much of it is done under supervision and requires no great skill and need not be very disagreeable or hard.  In a complex civilization there is room for everyone to contribute to the whole.  If our schools are some day what they should be, a large part of their time, in some cases all of it, will be devoted to manual training and will be given to producing skilled workmen.  This sort of school work can be made attractive to thousands of boys who can do nothing else.  And if easier conditions of life under fairer social surroundings could be added to this kind of education, most boys who now drift into crime would doubtless find the conventional life more profitable and attractive.

VIII

THE FEMALE CRIMINAL

Women furnish only one-fifth to one-tenth of the population of penal institutions.  Probably the percentage would be still lower if among these were not a number of rather common convictions for acts which are peculiar to women, like abortion, infanticide, child abandonment and the like.  As to the other crimes, few women are burglars or robbers, or guilty of other crimes of violence, except murder.  Women steal and poison and blackmail and extort money and lie and slander and gossip, and probably cause as much unhappiness as men; but their crimes, like their lives, are not on so large or adventurous a scale.  They do not so readily take a chance; they lack the imagination that makes big criminals or lays broad schemes.  In many of their crimes they are often the accomplices of men and take rather a minor part, although sometimes a quite important one.  For this reason they are often not detected and frequently not prosecuted, a fact which leaves the percentage smaller than it otherwise would be.  Then too, juries are apt to acquit women of crime even when they are indicted and tried.  It must be a positive case and one which calls for no possible feeling of sympathy or where there is no personal appeal that will work the conviction of a woman.  Men have so long adopted an attitude of chivalry toward women that very few juries will convict them.  This too has much to do with the small number of female convicts.

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Crime: Its Cause and Treatment from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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