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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 10, 1912, Image 3

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1912-04-10/ed-1/seq-3/

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perinjtendent. Sims was not look
ing for the job and.had to be in
duced to take it. He cares noth
ing for "politics" and has radical
ideas on prison management. He
is humane, has kindness plus, and
a firm will.
The new superintendent tore
up the old rules, issued a few gen
eral orders and went down to get
acquainted with the convicts. He
listened to their stories, asked for
their suggestions as to how
things could be improved, and,,re
ceived tips of value and secured
the co-operation of the men.
Justice and the common decen
cy due a human being obtain. At
the governor's suggestion, Sims
abolished the "snake-hole," an
underground dungepn where men
were placed' in solitary confine
ment on starvation rations of
bread and water, anywhere from
24 hours to six months ! All Other
forms of punishment tending to
humiliate a man and rob hini of
his self-respect were set aside and
the "honor" systern established.
Under the old regime the only
newspapers allpwed in the prison
were -the Los Angeles "Times,"
and a local corporation sheet.
3ims admitted all papers and re
quested Arizona editors to place
the prison on the free -list. Mail
is not held up, but goes and comes
oromotlv ' and communication
with relatives. andfriends is en
couraged. 1 his stteds an amount
m suusiiiuc-uiipubsiuie ioran out
sider to comprehend.
All sorts of amusements which
give exercise and keep the minds
efrthe inmatesjoffi foeif .troubles
are promoted. The guards have"
been selected with great care. No
abusive language, no contemptu-,.
ous treatment is allowed. "Help1
them forget they are criminals.
Kindness riot cruelty, hope not
humiliation," are the new watch,
words.
There are about 70 men work-
ing in the bridge gang near
Tempe just now. A few Sundays!
ago the Bridge Gang ball team
and several "rooters" came to
Phoenix, played a local team and
returned without a single attempt
at a "get-away."
The governor gave them a din-
ner "before leaving. 'There were
no guards. The boys were on
their honor and they made good-
And what are the results of4
these revolutionary practices?
Instead of constant trouble," re
bellion and disorder, with the
men disposed to "take advant
age," shirk their work, and cause
I dissention, the exact opposite ob
tains, ine prison almost regu
lates itself. Good will rules. J.t
there is a tendency on thepart of
any unappreciative or ignorant
man to break over, he is quickly
brought to his senses by themen
themselves, wh"o are determined
to "make good."
They know the governor is un
der criticism from political op
ponents and they propose to backf
him up. The prison "public opin-"-ion"
is more powerful by far than '
a thousand severe "regulations."
The men not only are quick tcr
help themselves, but suggestions
come in for the public benefit. Fot"
.example Walter Meyers, lifer, in-1'
ihHkfmr"i -Jw

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