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American Prison Association. Congress.

Proceedings of the annual Congress of the American Prison Association online

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to the shop and I said, **What are your rules?'' One said, **I
do not know rightly what they are." Another said, **I under-
stand we are to see that a man does his work, ajid if not, report
it. ' ' I found that the convicts had money. They were carrying
it on their persons and if a man escaped he had enough" to keep
him two or three days. I found two notorious men who were
allowed to go out fishing in the river from day to day without
any particular complaint being made, and on Christmas day one
of those men, whose name is known throughout this country,
came walking up to the oflBce of the prison in citizen's clothes
with a lady on his arm, as a guest at the warden's table on that
day. It was inconceivable the things that happened. The war-
den absolutely did not know what was going on under his own
eyes.

Sometimes the warden can get some help from a visitor. I
find often that the man coming from the outside will discover
things overlooked.

I learned many years ago to always discount the statement
of a discharged employe. I learned also to listen to what he had
to say, and then when he made a report to find out whether it
was true or not. But the last thing is to condemn an officer on
account of stories told by a discharged employe, who was dis-
charged for cause. I have the highest admiration for the men
who are able to administer prisons, and efficiently. I know
from my personal knowledge many of them. I have seen in
the last thirty years the magnificient growth of the spirit of the
men engaged in this work. I listened a moment ago to one
of the wardens, a man I have known for more than twenty years
and have seen him grow. I have often had occasion to say of
him what may be said of other men, he had a very extraordinary
power of preserving the freshness of his mind ; although he has
been in prison work for more than thirty years, in almost every



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Prisox Discipline: Discission — Hart. 117

capacity, nevertheless he seems to me always to have a freshened
mind, as if he had never seen a convict. It is a wonderful thing
for a man to preserve the freshness of his mind and not allow
himself to become hard, unbelieving. I delight in the optimism
of the prison men of the United States. Thank God for it.

Speaking of the matter of prison discipline, there is a warden
present at this meeting (I do not see him in the room now) that
gave me one of the best lessons I ever had in my life. lie was
then assistant superintendent of a reformatory. I regard him
as one of the greatest disciplinarians in the world. That reform-
atory had a large prison yard of eighteen acres. A young con-
vict got wild onp (lay and stood at bay with a hammer and
threatened to kill anybody that came near him. They sent for
the assistant superintendent. There were no telephones. lie
came down, walked into the shop where the man still stood rav-
ing. He walked up to him and said, "Give me the hammer."
The man handed it over. lie said, **You may come with me,"
and he started and the convict walked with him, but he was still
in a high state of rage and storm. He called him every violent
name he could think of. They walked slowly until they got to
the door of the cell house, and there the ofl8cer stopped. He
turned to -the prisoner and said, **See here, I am angry now;
I am not fit to punish you; you go back to your work." The
man looked at him in amazement, turned on his heel, went back
to the shop. There never was any more trouble with him.

Adjourned 4 :45 p. m.



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118 American Prison Association.

MONDAY NIGHT SESSION.



The Monday night session was called to order by the Presi-
dent at 8:15 o'clock. The invocation was delivered by the rector
of St. Paul's Church, Baltimore.

Mr. Pettigrove: The Governor of Minnesota is here and we
all appreciate the courtesy he shows us ))y turnin<jr aside from
his work to come to this meeting. It gives me great pleasure
to introduce him and I am sure the audience will .share in this.
Governor A. 0. Eberhardt, of ^Minnesota.

CRIME PROBLEMS.

HONORABLE A. O. EBERIIART, GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA.

Mr. President and ^lembers of the American Prison Associa-
tion: The greatest problem in America today is the government
of the large city, and any one who occupies the important posi-
tion of governor cannot fail to realize his responsibility in regard
to the solution of this problem. The conviction and punishment
of wrongdoers, as well as the care of criminals and the admin-
istration of criminal institutions, constitutes some of the most
important phases connected therewith. I can conceive of no
representative gathering better qualified to deal with that part
of this problem than the American Prison Association. It is
desirable that the executive officers of the State should be present
to listen to and take part in the various discussions. I desire
to give to the people of my State the best possible service of
which I am capable, and I am here to profit by the experience of
thoe-e who have spent a lifetime in this work. Ever since I be-
came vested with legislative and executive responsibility, I have
taken much interest in criminal problems, and especially in the
prevention of crime. A considerablei portion of my messages to
the Legislature has been devoted thereto, and ^linnesota has
within recent years enacted much important legislation for this
purpose, such as the establishment of the indeterminate sentenco



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Address: Crime Problems — Eberhardt. 119

and parole system, the abolishment of capital punishment, and
the distribution of support to families dependent upon prison-
ers. In addition thereto we are providing: penal farms for the
employment of short term prisoners in the large cities.

Capital punishment was abolished in Minnc^sota so recently
that .the statistics up to date might not be reganUnl as conclusive.
As far as we have proceeded, however, the experience of Minne-
s-ota is in line with that of Maine, Rhode Island, \VLs(»oasin and
Michigan, which indicat*^ less crime and more convictions than
in the States where capital punishment is administered. Our
experience thus far does not indicate any material change in the
number of homicides, Init has shown a far greater portion of
'convictions. If '*life imprisonment'' means **life imprison-
ment,'' as it should, no p<?rson who contemplat^^s murder is going
to commit the deed because he cannot l>e hanged. If he is sane,
the difference in punishment as between life impri.sonment and
hanging will not )k» material, for he will always figure out that
he can escape. I am firmly convinced that the execution of a
criminal does not deter others from committing murder; but on
the other hand there are almost numberless cases where crim-
inals have been acquitted where the jury or some meml)ers there-
of would not consent to the hanging of the crimanal even though
they believed him guilty.

There arc, however, uianv causes which have a tendency to
increase crime. Our manner of selecting juries is open to much
objection. The intelligent person who is well informed cannot
escape fonning some opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the
accused, and no matter how willing he may be to change such
opinion when warranted by the evidence, he cannot qualify as
a juror. Technicalities and delays in the execution of the law
are often responsible for failure to convict. Sometimes appeals
are permitted to keep the case pending for years until the pub-
lic have lost interest in the case and the important witnesses
have disappeared. The wealthy criminal takes advantage thereof
and oftentimes escapes justice, while the poor offender is unable
to pay the expense. Expert testimony is very often used to sup-
port defenses which should not be pennitted. It is indeed to



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120 American Prison Association.

be regretted that prominent professional men should be per-
mitted to spend days and weeks on the witness stand in contra-
dicting each other as to d-^fenses for murder, such as an irresist-
ible impulse and numberless varieties of insanity. It is essential
that all crime should be prosecuted and punished without delay
and without reference to the financial or social standing of the
offender.

While we have advanced rapidly with reference to the prose-
cution of crime, we have not made sufficient progress in the direct
prevention of crime. The one great principle therein involved
is the maintenance of the home through which the children can
be provided for, kept in school and given suitable recreation and
employment. When the family is broken up and the children
permitted to drift upon the streets without supervision, recrea-
tion or employment, it is only a question of time when some of
them will finally stray away, drift into error and crime and land
in our penal institution. If there is anything that reflects dis-
credit upon America it is the fact that our homes are so easily
broken up, marriage vows so readily dissolved and the diildren
permitted to pursue their ovm course without supervision or re-'
striction. Any legislation, therefore, which will tend to keep the
home intact and bind its members more closely together, keep
children under proper supervision and guidance, promote health,
and assist in securing wholesome recreation and employment, will
have a direct bearing upon the lessening of distress, poverty and
crime. Where the parents are found unable to take care of the
children, they should be given suitable assistance, for it costs
the State only about one-half as much to assist a worthy mother
in tlie care of her children as to provide for them in a State
institution. Every effort, therefore, on the part of the State
to lessen and prevent crime must be centered about the home.

Much crime is caused today by reason of the fact that crim-
inals, who, while being able to distinguish between right and
wrong, have not the will power to choose the right and reject the
wrong, and are inflicted upon society at the expiration of their
sentences. These criminals are mental delinquents who by mar-
riage to other defectives contribute largely to the increase of



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Address: Crime Problems — Eberhardt. 121

crime by raising children with criminal tendencies. One of the
greatest duties the State owes to society is that of protection,
and consequently it has no right to permit criminals of that
nature to be at large. To keep them where they can receive the
best care and treatment, and to protect society from their in-
fluence is an obligation of the State which every officer has sworn
to assume and discharge.

Our juvenile courts and probation oflScers are entitled to
more support and co-operation in their work. It is unnecessary
for me to mention the numerous cases in our State where the
confidence reposed in the erring boy or girl and the helpful
suggestions of the probation oflScer have checked an early start
in the career of crime. In many cases these probation oflScers
have been assisted by nurses who have visited the homes, nursed
the sick and suffering, secured better food and clothes, instructed
the mother in cleanliness and sanitation, placed the children in
school and assisted in securing wholesome employment. These
are preventive agencies of the utmost importance and the Legis-
lature should do all in its power to provide for their support
and to enable the cities to extend the necessary co-operation.

Perhaps there is no reform more urgent today than the penal
or workhouse farm. In examining the records of our work-
houses, I have found cases where men have been committed more
than thirty times. Whenever an offender does not reform after
working out two or three sentences in the workhouse, he should
be sent to the reformatory or prison. All workhouses should be
provided with a large farm or such other means of employment
for the inmates as will afford the least competition with free
labor. The employment of short term convicts upon farms, has
been proven an unqualified success. In the case of a large city
the produce could be either sold on the market or to other city
or State institutions. Every convict should be permitted to
earn fair wages, a portion of which should go to the maintenance
of the institution and the remainder directly to the family or
other dependents. Often in our large cities, when the father
has been sent to the workhouse, the family is without support
and the mother is compelled to go out on the street that she may



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122 American Prison Association.

secure sufficient work to keep her children from starvation. No
one is left to take charge of the children. They drift away from
home, fall into bad company, commit some crime and finally be-
come charges of the State. The neglect of the city or the State
to provide compensation for its prisoners and to turn over a
sufficient amount of that compensation for the support of the
family surely is a policy best designated as ** penny wise and
pound foolish.'*

Because of this negligence on the part of the State many
efforts have been made by public and individual charities to sup-
port the mother and children and to keep the home intact.
Some cities and States have provided a system of pensions for
dependent mothers. This system is undoubtedly valuable w^hen
properly administered in providing temporary relief, but it does
not reach the root of the evil. The arguments in favor of such
a public charity are numerous. It is claimed that the private
charity organizations are too numerous and consequently more
expensive in administration; that the pension system is more
certain and permanent in providing regular income to the
mother which will better secure the education and training of
her children; that the State has more power in the regulation
of health and sanitation and that under its extensive system of
schools and institutions, it can better assist the mother in direct-
ing the training of her children; that the mother is entitled to
secure this assistance from the State as a matter of right and
that it is the duty of the State to give it to her; that private
charity is insufficient and that the State is better able to cope with
it. On the other hand, it is argued this pension system opens
the public treasury to those who believe it inexhaustible and who
otherwise would not depend upon it ; that it will have a tendency
to stop individual giving and the establishment of individual
charities ; that there is too much publicity connected with public
charity and that it necessarily parades the unfortunates before
the people; that it is difficult to enact a law which will be suffi-
ciently elastic to apply justly in every case; that the State has
no agency which can properly administer this charity, except
where specially created for that purpose, in w^hich event the



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Addrkss: Crimk Problems — Eberitardt. 128

iiH'tliod of selecting ollieers is Iod ('Uiiiljersoiiie and dependent
upon change of political administration.

The obligation resting upon the Stat€ can not be satisfied by
the payment of these pensions. Where the husband has deserted
the family, the strong arm of the law should reach him and
compel him to ccmtribute to its support, and where the husband
has been committed to a penal institution, he should be em-
ployed and a sufficient portion of his compensation be allowed
the family for support. It is of greater importance that the
slums of the city should be removed ; that parks and playgrounds
for the children should be provided, so that the children of the
large cities may have an opportunity to play and develop under
more wholesome conditions than they are afforded today. When
the State has removed the opportunities for, and the temptations
which lead to the commission of error and crime, when the en-
vironments of the city are made more wholesome and attractive,
the criminal records of the State will not be burdened with the
sad story of so many boys and girls who have gone wrong. In
ancient times a very unique test of sanity was employed. The
person to be adjud«red was requested to dip out water with a
dipper from a tub under an open faucet. If he kept on dipping
he was committed, but if he turned off the faucet, he was ad-
jud^'cd sane. We shall always, perhaps, be compelled to di[)
out water by increasing the capacity of our penal and charitable
institutions, but I am in favor of turning off the faucet by re-
moving the causes which today are responsible for jnost of our
poverty, disease and crime.

Another important element in the prevention of crime is the
making of country life more attractive so as to prevent the
migration from the country to the large cities. No State in the
Nation has done more effective work along this line than ^linne-
sota, but time will not permit my discussion of this important
phase of the subject. Perhaps T shall have an opportunity to
do so at some future occasion.

In conclusion, permit me to extend an invitation on behalf
of Minnesota for the meeting of the American Prison Associa-
tion two years hence. INfinnesota is now building one of the



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124 American Prison Association.

best and most sanitary prisons in the world. It will be com-
pleted by that time. It is managed by "Warden Wolfer, con-
ceded to be one of the best wardens in America. We want you
to meet with us then, inspect this new prison, and enjoy the un-
surpassed hospitality of our Twin Cities.



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Warden's Association: President's Address — Scott. 125



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE
WARDENS' ASSOCIATION.



BY HENRY K. W. SCOTT, WARDEN NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE PRISON.

With the view of informing myself concerning general prison
conditions in the country and to learn what has been done along
advanced lines in the conduct of our penal institutions during
the past year, circular letters containing several questions re-
lating to the subject were mailed to various wardens and super-
intendents.

Amonor others, the following question was submitted :

** Generally, what has been done in your institution, along
any lines, that has had for its object the improvement of con-
ditions both for the prisoner and the State?"

The answers to our letters disclose a very healthful advance
in prison methods and indicate that our prison men are in
sympathy with the present day ideas and are trying very hard
to work out their problems which are being so widely discussed
by the public at this time throughout the length and breadth
of the land.

New plans for the employment of prisoners have been adopted
in several States, and very gratifying results are reported by the
wardens, who write that the general conditions in their prisons,
on their farms, and in road camps are greatly improved. This
is especially true in sections of the South, West, and in Canada,
where out-of-door employment is in operation to a greater or
less extent. This plan seems to be regarded the ideal work for
prisoners when conditions permit of its operation, and will
doubtless extend to other States that now confine their prison
labor largely to factories under the State Use Plan, Piece Price,
or Contract System.

In several States more or less extensive building construction
is in operation in their penal departments, in others alterations
and general improvements in the prison buildings are being
made for the better housing and care of the inmates. All over



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120 Amertcax Pkisox AssoriATiox.

the country today agencies tliat have for their definite aim the
individual development of that which is best in human nature
seem to have gotten a firm hold upon our prison men and women,
who are givin^r greater lieed to the man in prison ; and the man-
aj^vment of our penal institutions is niarkid by a higher st^indanl
of justice and humanity. Laws have been enacted having for
their object more enlightened administration of justice, prison
governing boards have amended the rules in force in their in-
stitutions with a view to more humane treatment of the crim-
inal, and prison administrators have abolished many of the old-
time regulations designed to further publicly degrade the con-
vict in addition to the punishment fixed by the court, and re-
placed them by less intolerable methods.

The accumulation of information received from the various
institutions seems to be of sufficient interest to warrant our ac-
quainting this Association with the result of our inquiry, which
we submit to you in as concise a form as possible, presenting the
reports so far received from institutions hx^ated in almost all
sections of the countrv', also the report of Warden Gilmour of tlu^
Central Prison, Toronto.

The Louisiana State Penitentiary reports :

*'Ne\v building construction, striving at all times to better
the prisoners* condition, and, at the same time, endeavor to
make them self-sustaining.''

Mississippi State Penitentiary:

''Abolishment of the leasing system. Prisoners employed on
farms owned by the State. Prisoners are better fed, better
clothed, healthier and happier than ever before."

Georgia Penitentiary:

''Powerful better. All prisoners employed on public high-
w^ays."

Texas State Penitentiaries:

"Employment changed from share and contract farms to
State account. New prison buildings, better faciliti'^s for caring
for the sick and cripples, new parole law, ten cents per diem



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Warden 's AssocLVTioN : President's Address — Scott. 127

paid to prisoners, allowing overtime of ten cents per hour, same
being paid on discharge or to dependent relatives semi-annually ;
working hours limited to ten hours except in cases of emergency ;
night schools, religious services, etc/^

Arizona State Pf ison :

** Prisoners employed on the honor system, building highways
{uid bridges for the State, without any form of espionage other
than their word of honor, with the exception of one camp where
guards are still maintained. Two highways now under construc-
tion, forty and sixty miles in length resi>ectively. Out of the
fifty men working in one camp eight of them are serving a life
sentence. The adoption of the reformative instead of the puni-
tive methods, giving the inmates everj- possible chance to re-
habilitate themselves. Allowing them an unrestricted daily
mail. Encouraged outdoor spoils and games. Improved the
food conditions. Done away with all forms of corporal pun-
ishment.''

Xortli Carolina State Prison :

** Change of employment from shoe manufacturing to farm-
ing and railroad building."

West Virginia Penitentiary:

**One new shop building erei*ted. The whole institution put
in better shape than at any time in its previous history. Prison-
ers better fed and better clothed."

Delaware's New Castle County Workhouse:
** A concrete wall is about complete enclosing a yard for out-
door exercise for prisoners. ' '

Ohio State Reformatory :

** Introduction of State use system of employing inmates. In-
troduction of six industrial lines, including the farm."

Indiana State Prison :

** Completion of hospital for insane criminals and a 340 cell
extension to one of the cell-houses. The erection of a new binder
twine plant begun. ' '



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128 American Prison Association.

Kansas State Penitentiary :

**Road camp established with twenty-five men, maintained all
summer without armed guard. Doubling the products of the
prison farm. Letting the men out of the cells on Sunday after-
noons for two hours. Increased the efficiency of the prison
school. Installed a moving picture machine. Established classes
in special studies. ' '

United States Penitentiary (Leavenworth, Eas.) :
** Ventilation and sanitation of cells and buildings. Eight
hours as a day's labor. Increase of recreation — base ball. In-
crease of school facilities. Increase of facilities for treating dis-
ease and for dental work."

Wisconsin State Prison :

**Now erecting a hospital for the criminal insane. Building a
new dining-room, two warehouses and bakery. Installing a
binder twine plant, also other State industries as old contracts
expire. Contract now in vogue is of the very best. ' '

Minnesota State Pri8(Mi :

** Building a new prison complete. Now partly occupied.
Will be complete and the old prison abandoned in about one and
one-half years. An earnings system has been established for the
benefit of the convicts. Last year the earnings were $40,000.



Online LibraryAmerican Prison Association. CongressProceedings of the annual Congress of the American Prison Association → online text (page 11 of 43)