25 NOVEMBER 1938, Page 20

[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR,—Your correspondent Mr. Howard

Perkin in his criticism of the new Penal Reform Bill—made no doubt before its provisions were made public—seems to have a very incom-• plete knowledge of the American method of dealing with crime. The American penal system is the most harsh and

unprincipled in the world. There are more criminals in America than anywhere else owing partly to its large popula- tion and partly because there are more crimes to commit.

Some offences in America carry up to fifty• years' imprison- ment, and there is the indeterminate sentence, the most cruel punishment—mental as well as physical torture—now in existence. Fancy sending a man to prison without letting him know how long he will be shut up. On what ground then does Mr. Perkin justify his statement that " America is a perfect example of the tolerant treatment of crime " ?-

Law Society's Hall, Chancery Lane, IV .0 2.