Crime is a very serious issue in todays society that is talked about through many different methods, media, television programs, etc… Clarence Darrows speech, Address to the Prisoners in the Cook County Jail displays a very strong feeling on whether or not criminals in jail our really at fault for their crimes or if its the fault of those people on the outside, those not in jail. Once being a lawyer himself and defending criminals like Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, both notorious murders, Darrow has a strong insight on hard core criminals and the legal system.
He utilizes his experience and nowledge along with the appeals of pathos, logos and ethos, to gain the respect and opinions of his audience. Darrows main purpose in this speech is to state his feelings of disregard for the justice system. He feels as though jails do not serve a true purpose and that people are not in jail because they deserve to be but rather because of unavoidable circumstance. Those who obtain money hold the power and those who are poverty stricken will be punished, no matter who was at fault or who did the crime.
This piece was a speech to prisoners in a Chicago jail and therefore, it seems as if his targeted audience must have been he criminals themselves. However, he must have also been targeting the politicians and legal personnel for the tone of his sentences and the beliefs he stated would do no justice for those already in prison and must have been intended to influence those people on the outside.. Darrow strikes the pathetic or the emotional appeal instantly in his first paragraph: I do not believe that people are in jail because they deserve to be.
They are in jail simply because they cannot avoid it on account of circumstances which are entirely beyond their control and for which they are in no way responsible (862). This statement alone could create an uproar in any prison. Darrow uses great diction in this quote, using it as, a persuasive tool, to slip past the scrutiny of readers and sway them toward particular responses. With a statement as powerful as that one how can a person not begin to ponder on why these people are in jail and if the prisoners are really at fault for their crimes.
Through the use of tone Darrow triggers the mind into believing that the people that are on the outside are the ones that create the havoc and those on the inside, the prisoners, are mere victims of their ruthlessness. If it were not for the fact that people on the outside are so grasping and heartless in their dealings with the people on the inside, there would be no such institution as jails (863). The words seem to creep into your mind making one feel as though he is correct in what he is saying. It is as if one can hear the power and persuasiveness in his voice speaking to the prisoners allowing one to have no choice but to believe him.
Darrow targets the emotional appeal in his closing paragraph, The only way to abolish crime and criminals is to abolish the big ones and the little ones together. Give men a hance to live. Abolish the right of private ownership of land, abolish monopoly, make the world partners in production, partners in the good things in life (872). With his style of using harsh and abrupt sentences Darrow produces the feeling that if we would create an equality amongst us all that people would not experience hardship, there would be no crime, hate and competition.
The length of Darrows sentences seem to bring about different attitudes and feelings. His shorter sentences seem blunt or terse, where his longer sentences, that delay closure, posses more of a dramatic effect. In addition to stimulating ones emotions, Darrow appeals to the logical reasoning side of the audience: Whenever the standard Oil Company raises the price of oil, I know that a certain number of girls who are seamstresses, and who work night after night long hours for somebody else, will be compelled to go out on the streets and ply another trade, and I know that Mr. Rockerfeller and his associates are responsible and not the poor girls in the jail cell (866).
He leads us to believe that it is the fault of the rich and not that of the poor. If the rich would not be so money hungry and reedy they would not raise the prices of oil and create these girls to not be able to afford it. In another aspect Darrow acquires us by placing the blame on the government. In England and Ireland and Scotland less than five percent own all the land there is, and the people are bound to stay there on any terms that landlords give.
They must live the best they can, so they develop all these various professions- burglary, picking pockets and the like (869). We must visualize that it is not the fault of the people but rather the fault of the landlords. For they give the rules and they are the ones who do not set forth dequate salaries to the people. So long as men are allowed to monopolize all the earth and compel others to live on such terms as these men see fit to make, then you are bound to get into jail (872).
In a simple sense, as long as we create a world where we allow men to rule over us we will never succeed in eliminating the crimes and injustice that take place. The more that is taken from the poor by the rich, who have the chance to take it, the more the people there are who are compelled to resort to these means of livelihood (867). Once again Darrow manages to state that it is the people on the utside of these jail cells and there queries that place the poor on the inside. They do not accomplish what they pretend to accomplish.
If you would wipe them out there would be no more criminals then now. They terrorize nobody. They are a blot upon civilization, and a jail is an evidence of the lack of charity of the people on the outside who make the jails and fill them with victims of their greed (872). Another powerful statement that accuses those with the wealth for the misfortunes of those of the poor leading the poor to be criminals. Again stated earlier, in Darrows eyes if this world could only possess true equality all crime would be abolished and all jails and prisoners could be disregarded.
He uses a good choice of words that seem to grab at the reader allowing the reader to sympathize and feel the pain of the poverty stricken, and the prisoners. Through drastic tone and pitch Darrow uses, his quotes are influential and go straight to the readers heart and mind. The ethos of Darrow is quite a touchy subject. Although he was a lawyer for several years he obtains no solid evidence, only well worded statements and descriptions that place thoughts and visions into ones head. His words possess great power and one could be easily influenced by them.
It is now in the readers hand to formulate their own opinion and decide whether or not their is truth in Darrows accusations. The reader must rely solely on the fact that Darrow is in the legal profession and has inside information on what truly transpires. Darrows theories can be summed up almost as easily as they were first introduced. He feels that the only way to get rid of crimes and criminals is to abandon it all. The only way that this world will rid of the misdeed that goes on is to create a pure world with absolute equality.