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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, October 27, 1913, Image 8

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

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-10-27/ed-1/seq-8/

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REPORT SCORES -.CONDITIONS
AT PONTIAC REFORMATORY
Springfield, III., Oct. 27. That
, "boys 'were beaten with hammers and
"squeegees' cftibs and leather
straps; that they were placed in soli
tary confinement for the smallest in
fraction of rules and given bread and
water; that sometimes their thirst
drove them to drink the water that
was used to flush the lavatory, is the
report of the committee appointed
by Gov. Dunne to investigate alleged
cruelties practiced at the Pontlac re
formatory. This report, which has been given
the governor, states that 600 of the
boy inmates of the institution were
placed in the "screen," which is an
.isolated cell, 1,732 times, that 3,233
complaints were made against the
boys and every one of these com
plaints sustained hy the prison man
agement During two months not a boy was
found innocent of any charge pre
ferred against him by guards, teach
ers or employes, and not a boy es
caped punishment under the charges.
Cripples were cruelly beaten by
men twice their size; a devilish in
genuity in making tortures unique
was resorted to. A boyish prank in
spired by the exuberancy of youth
was regarded as a criminal offense.
In the "chair shop, which was pre
sided over by a man named Burrell,
boys were kicked; others were felled
by blows from Burrell's fist Each
boy was compelled to make five
'chairs a day and if he did not succeed
Burrefl administered the-punishment
his mood dictated regardless of its
unnecessary brutality. One little fel
low, who was physically unable to
'cope with the other boys, Burrell
csmashed over the head with a ham
per. Dr. Marshall, who was institution--physician,
seemed to be convinced'
that every boy committed to the re
formatory had been guilty-of de
praved practices, according to -the re-)-portand
asked-each boy if'this Vas
true. If the boy replied in, the nega
tive, the doctor used his" fists or a
squeegee and beat the boy.
The report, in speaking of Judge
R. A. Russell, who was appointed by
Governor Deneen as superintendent
of the institution, and who fled the
state during the inquiry and is now in
Idaho, says:
"There cannot be a shadow of a
doubt that the routine of the institu
tion as maintained under the man
agement of Judge Russell was con
ducive to the breaking down of all
moral restraint. Deprived"bf recrea
tion in any form, forced to labor or
attend school eight or nine hours -daily,
their meal hours so circum
scribed that they would not eat prop
erly, thereby suffering from the ac
cumulative effect of toxic poisoning,
locked in cells when not employed,;
every boyish desire, every boyish
ideal, was ruthlessly shattered."
When the report was called to the
attention of ex-Governor Deneen, he
refused to make comment. The
Board of Managers appointed by De
neen, presumably responsible to De
neen andto the people for the acts
of Supt. Russell and his staff, are:
Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows, Charles A.
Purdunn, Frank R. Robinson, Chas.
H. May and'Arthur W. Charles.
o o
HE KNEW
Dad What animals "have horns,
Tommy? -
Tommys-Automobiles;'
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