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THE INEBRIATES ACT. rHE present week is utilized in Denbigh, md probably in other places, in endevour- ing to convince by argument, and by illus- tration, the evil of over-indulgence in in- ioxicating drink. On the 12th of August ast, an Act intended to do by legislation vhat both argument aim illustration have ailed to do in many instances, received the Soyal assent. We allude to the 'Act to irovide for the treatment of Habitual In- briates,' but which is commonly known as he Inebriates' Act. The provisions of his Act are so important, and marking as hey do a new era in the attempt to miti- gate the evils of drunkenness, that we make io apology for devoting considerable space o some of its details. The Act creates a new crime, or, to be recise, it provides a new treatment in the ase of those whom the ordinary provisions of the previously existing laws failed to benefit. Broadly speaking, the Act deals with two classes of drunkards. Its first clause enacts, that when a person is con- victed of a crime punishable with imprison- ment or penal servitude, such person may, in addition to, or in substitution for any other punishment meted out to him, be also, if it is proved that the crime of which he is found guilty, was committed under the influence of drink, detained for a period not exceeding three years in a State Inebriate Reformatory. The jury who tries the case are also empowered to say, after evi- dence on the point has been given, that the prisoner or defendant is or is not, a habitu- al drunkard. Certain forms are to be observed which we need not allude to. The other class of persons for the benefit of whom the Act has been framed, are those whose only crime is that of drunkenness. After the passing of this Act, any person who, within twelve months is fonr times convicted of drunkenness, is liable to be detained in a Reformatory for a period not exceeding three years. We will quote the section of the Act (Sec. 2) which deals with this subject, fully. It is as follows :—Any person who commits any of the offences mentioned in the first schedule to this Act (persons found guilty of crime punishable by imprisonment or penal servitude) and who within the twelve months preceding the date of the commission of the off >nce. has been convicted summarily at least three times of any offences so mentioned, and who is a habitual drunkard, shall be liable upon conviction on indictment, or if he consents to be dealt with summarily on summary conviction, to be detained for a term not exceeding three years in any certified ineb- riate reformatory, the managers of which are willing to receive him.' The marginal note to this clause explains the clause in this manner: 'Detention of habitual drunkard four times convicted of drunken ness.' It would appear therefore that if a man is convicted four times within twelve months of the crime of drunkenness, the justices may assume that he is a habitual drunkard, and treat him accordingly. We hope that our readers, and especially people who are in the habit of over-indulg- ing in intoxicants will take heed of the pro- visions of this Act. They are most serious. From inquiries which we have made of the police.in Denbigh-and Denbigh is by no means worse in this respect than other towns-we find that there are in this town at least nine persons who could be sent to reformatories for a period not exceeding three years. This is not a voluntary re- treat on the part of persons who unfortu- nately cannot break off their vicious hab- bits, but a sentence of virtual banishment, passed by the magistrates in Petty or in Quarter Sessions, as a punishment, and, it is hoped, a reformation, to the habitual ine briate. The Act provides what the Inebriate Reformatories are to be, how governed and how supported. It came into force on the 1st of January, but, it cannot be strictly enforced until the regulations recently made by tbe Home Secretary shall have laid on the tables of both Houses of Parliament for four weeks, when both Houses are in session. In three months at farthest, the Act will be in full operation.


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