Drown points out in the opening of his speech that he doesn’t believe in crime, people in and out of jail are “equally good and equally bad”(pig. 4). He explains that while there are people in jail who would pick his pockets, nearly everybody outside would do it as well, giving multiple examples as the gas company, streetcars and the oil company (namely Mr.. Rockefeller), who would overcharge for their services. It’s the wealth of the rich that gives them the power to shape the law, own “all the earth” (pig. ) and control the society by alluding universities and churches where would be conveyed the ideas of how to be good. Drown believes that it’s not only the lack of free will, but also the state of raw capitalism and greed that pushed so many into crime. He challenges the views that most crimes are done out of hate and all criminals are bad and analyzes the environment and social system at the beginning of the 20th century. During this period very few people enjoyed the luxuries as piped and hot water, indoor toilets and electricity.
Hours of work while horror in the United States than in most other nations in 1900 were typically ten hours a day, six days a week. Women worked from dawn to dusk, or even longer by the light of oil or kerosene lamps. Caring for sick children lengthened those hours further. Paid vacations were almost nonexistent in 1900. Many employers would hire children and women as they would agree to work for lower wages than men. There were no regulations of minimum wage. According to Drown this is what forces many to seek alternative, very often criminal means of living in order to survive.
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He refers to Henry Buckle’s research that showed close connection between food price increase and number of people arrested. In the words of Drown the jail “is about as good a place as they can get where the food is free and the building- In the eyes of Drown there would be no need of jail if there is a system of equality, where the power to create the law is not restricted to the richest, where “every man… In the world had a chance to make a decent, fair, honest living'(pig. 9).