National Affairs: Moral Imbecile

When New York State passed its Baumes Laws under which four-time felons are automatically imprisoned for life, some States copied this severe code, while others watched critically its operation as a penological experiment. Only executive clemency could save convicts from the machine-like precision of these criminal statutes. Last week other States saw New York send its first woman to jail for life under their stiff provisions. She was Ruth St. Clair, 30, kleptomaniac. Her fourth offense was stealing from Manhattan's John Wanamaker store $121 worth of dresses and baby ware for which she...

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