Newspaper Page Text
- . ■ Tgr
Vol. 1. No. PRISON OFFICIALS. , INSPECTORS. E. G. BUTTS. Stillwater. .lOHN F. NOURISH Hastings. 1-IBKRTY HAUL Glencoe. RESIDENT OFFICIALS. 11. G. STOUDOCK Warden. .1. A. VVESTBY Deputy Warden. JOHN COVER *. ...Ass’t Deputy Warden. FRANK BERRY Clerk. H. E. BENNER Steward. W. H. I’RATT.. Physician. F. H. HALE Hospital Steward. GEO. P. DODD Storekeeper. W. S. MATTHEW Protestant Chaplain. M. E. MURPHY Catholic Chaplain. MRS. SARAH McNEAU Matron. A DAY IX OUR UR I SOX, As Seen l*y One of I s —Routine Work — The Cell-Room Gong 1 Execrated — A Timely Suggestion. The first yawning notes of the innocent little birds cosily tucked away under the striped blankets; the grey streaks of dawn piercing the gloomy precincts of the vacant corridors; the dismal creak and crank of tramping night guard upon the iron gal ery, making his final round just before day light, and sundry noises from all parts of the immense cell building announce the approach of day to the weary convict —weary of the night’s dismal length and harrowing dreams. The first official notice of another day. however, is the clanking (it can scarcely be called ringing) of a most disreputable old .gong situate in the central part of the build ing. To describe the various modifica tions of the tone of this instrument of tor ture would madden the brain of a Macau lay. From one angle it reminds us of the “thunder” iron behind the scenes in a melodrama, from another, the jangle of a .lot of old junk bells; and many a poor fellow has no doubt been rudely wakened thinking himself still clinging to the brake beam of a car on the night freight on which lie was “hi-ki-ing” in very undignified )manner hoping to escape from the clutches of his late friend, the diabolical detective. If the warden is the kind hearted phil anthropist folks claim,, he will replace this dreadful thing—an incentive to suicide — with a sweet-toned gong, a silver chime, or something that will moderate the acer bity of our early morning spirits. This agony is undergone at 0 o’clock during about seven months of the year, the hour being later when the days are short. Breakfast is served immediately after. Before each door is set down a “silver plated” dish divided into triple compart .ments containing a modest quantity of neatly prepared food, consisting of beef and potatoes, Irish stew, hash, bread and butter —these being the staples, the different dishes : alternating through the week. Bread and • coffee are passed separately. Breakfast finishes, at 0:45 the wall guards are dispatched to their respective stations, the shop guards summoned into the cell building where the deputy warden makes inspection and issues the orders of ithe day. The cells are now quickly “unt sloughed” by the guards and the assistan ■ deputy warden proceeds in systematic manner to dispatch the convicts to their -several shops. The men are called by a series of numeral -signals corresponding to the different shops. As these signals are given each shop squad iinakes its appearance from the cell house, forms in line in the yard with the precision •of an astronomo-electric clock, where it is passed undfer the inspection of the deputy warden and turned over to the guard of the •shop, to which it is marched in double file. As one company moves off another makes its appearance in obedience to the signal •call of the assistant deputy stationed inside the cell house. There are at present about 370 men at work daily, 320 on con tract labor and 50 on State. The time oc cupied in dispatching averages 10 minutes. "The lock step lias been abolished in this institution. Stillwater, Minn., Wednesday, Any. 31, ISBY. Five Gents. So soon as the men have reached the shops the citizen, laborers are admitted to the yard, and proceed to their shops. Work begins at 7 sharp. There are three dungeons in the prison the situation of wihch is the .same as other cells, and differ only in being bare of all furniture and closed with a blind door. The temperature of these cells is nearly equable throughout the year, if anything a tritle warmer in winter than in summer. Convicts are confined on bread and water diet. This is the only form of physical punishment. The deputy warden visits these cells every morning and investigates the cases, releasing or remanding the cul prit according to the merits of his case. The deputy warden or his assistant makes a detailed inspection of the entire prison each morning, visiting the shops, attend ing to requests of prisoners, hearing eom plaints, and adjusting all matters within their respective jurisdiction. The physician calls at 10:30 a. m. The sick and disabled are summoned to the hospital„Avhere he treats them. Those un able to work but not seriously ill are sent to their cells where they receive medical trearment, and remain until recovered. One hundred and thirty-six men were dis abled in July, incurring a total loss of 293)£ working days. At 12 noon the men are marched to the cell house,the line breaking at the entrance, each man passing by the near est route to his cell, where he finds his din ner awaiting him, having been placed there some three minutes previous. It consists of roast beef and potatoes, pork and beans, corned beef and cabbage, plain boiled cod fish with butter and potatoes, vegetables as the season and exchequer afford. At 12:45 the signal is given and the ope ration of the morning repeated, work be ginning at 1. ‘ Eleven shops are operated by the contract, the principal work being the manufacturing of threshing machines, black smithing, sashes and doors, cabinet making and foundry work. In the two last named, citizens are employed almost ex clusively, although there are plenty of con victs capable of skilled labor in both. About 2p. m. is the hour set apart by the warden to receive convicts who desire to see him on business, or make complaints, petition for .favors, argue their cases, sub scribe for The Mirror, and adjust any family differences which have baffled the ingenuity of the deputy warden or his assis tant. This-ceremony, to which admittance is had by card, and formal only in that par ticular, is conducted upon democratic prin cipals, free speecli being the convict’s ina lienable and unrestricted right. At 6 p. hi. work is suspended, the men march to their cells in the same regular order already iudicated, receive their sup per, which consists of bread anti tea every night, with either butter, apple sauce, prune sauce, cheese, mush, boiled rice, and other delicacies. The evening is passed in reading and working fancy articles until 8:30 when the lights go out—or are put out witli force of arms by the guard, and the men turn in and sleep, if they can. till the pandemomal summons already referred to re calls them to the hard legal fact of another day of hum-drum, diabolical, penal servi tude. F. P. L. Communicated Wliat Are We t We are called convicts (witli a very large “C.”) I suppose this distasteful word is properly applied to us; for we have been legally tried and either justly or in justly declared “guilty” of the offences alleged against us. Being convicted does not by any means constitute the crime. The crime was committed when the deed was done. Although convicted, we are still entitled to some consideration from our fellow men. Our status is most unenviable, but we have only ourselves to blame. By our own ac tions we have forfeited certain rights and privileges, but we retain more than the general public is willing to concede. Some “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” <Z dl- M* 44^ ■ persons, through innate cussed ness or woe ful ignorance, believe in allowing us to exist merely. Should these persons un fortunately be placed in our position, how different would be their views; in what a different channel their thoughts would run; what a hue and cry would they raise against justice. We are as a punishment condemned to hard labor for a certain period. If we per form this work in a modest but thorough manner without putting the state or its em ployes to unnecessary trouble or expense, are we not entitled to a little credit for it? The officials of this prison certainly give us due credit. Should you, then, who proba bly have never devoted two seconds thought to convicts, be able to judge of our dues better than the gentlemen who are thrown in daily contract with us. If we do not perform our work in a satis factory manner, there are means provided for our punishment. Even in this prison we have degrees of goodness. I say goodness advisedly. You may say bad, worse, worst; we say good, better, best. Is it just to consider us the lowest, meanest and most despicable wretches in existence; to regard us as utterly devoid of a conscience, the sense of honor or any gentle feeling? When you come to this and act upon it what opportunity has a man, once imprisoned here, to earn an honest living when again he is set free? All have their weak points. We have found ours. He careful how you criticise before you discover yours. How many men now free are there, who are guilty of offences far graver than ours? Barred, as we are, from the society and pleasures of our friends, I would not ex change places with any one of those free guilty ones. They have no peace; their days seem endless; their slumbers are night mares; their nights haunted. They are continually trying in vain to evade some thing, and that something is their con sience. They tremble at the trear of a tty and are startled at the mention of their names. We, on the other hand, are making every effort in our power to right the wrong we have committed. We are taking our pun ishment like men, and are glad that we are satisfying justice even though in many cases here, justice has demanded a heavy punishment for a comparatively small offence. Knowing our weakness we will, when released from here, reinforce our vulnerable points and be better able to bat tle with the world. We shall find, however, one great draw back. Wherever we go or whatever busi ness we may engage in, we shall contin ually meet the question, “who, or what are you?’* “Oneto-day,” remarked a wise man. “is wofth two to-morrows.” Oh, is it then? Yon go into the market with us to-day and see how many to-morrows you can get for it. You can't get one. Not a solitary one; you can’t get even a to-morrow morning for it. But if you have a to-morrow that you want to put on the market, you might get a whole week of to-days for it. The only man who would’nt offer to-day for it, is the man who is going to be hanged to-morrow, and lias consequently very little use for it. What he wants to trade for is about two months of yesterdays and a couple of weeks before last. —Burdette. Hoycotted. “Ah, good morning; nice morning,” was the salutation of a Hartford gentlemen to his friend. “How are all the folks?” “O, nicely. As well as could be expect ed.” “Why, what is the matter?” “O, nothing much. I’ve been boycotted, that’s all.” “Boycotted?” “Yes. My third girl was bom yester eay.”—Ex. Earnestness commands the respect of man kind. A wavering, vicillating, dead-and alive Christian does not get the respect of the church or the world. —John Hall. l i - . . .* 3eavty in Endings. Fiction, in many respects, surpasses the reality it aims to photograph. In real life, the evil characters may wear for long years the mask of hypocrisy, and not be discov ered. We come in contact with them day by day, speak with them, exchange confi dences and often think we see through their hearts and through every motive as though it. were glass. Death ends all. and the secrets of the life may be buried with the body that contained it, and we rear a monument over the grave with an epitaph that mocks the ashes it protects. A good, noble man strives year after year, to attain success in life, not for himself, but for a family of loved ones dependent upon him. Every thought and act’filay be governed by the deepest honesty, religious sincerity, self-abnegation and unity of purpose. Success seems to hurry before him as a man chases his shadow cast by the sun behind him. To our eyes, the result is not pro portioned to the labor expended. Faith, true contentment and resignation are given him. but the financial equivalent is oftimes withheld. The aim, upon the accomplish ment of which w'e stake all our hopes in life, may turn to air as we approach it. There are rough edges in the threads of life that are never cut smooth. The balance of right and justice oscillates up and down, and the scales do not always mete out for tune as we wish. And there are consola tions and compensations to offset our troub les, too deep and subtle for expression in words. In fiction, the end is entirely dif ferent. A good man is always rewarded and a wicked man always punished. The ragged boy who plunges into the water to save the rich man’s daughter as she sinks for the third time, is promptly taken into her father's counting house, where he speedily mounts the ladder of prosperity; is made a partner; the old gentleman dies sud denly, leaving his fortune and daughter as a sacred trust to the noble youth who in variably marries the trust aforesaid. In real life, the father would say. “Here, Sonny, is a quarter. Come round to my house and I’ll give you an old suit of clothes.” As the villain steps on the ship that is to take him and his ill-gotten gain abroad, the “lynx-eyed detective” touches him on the shoulder, says: “You are my prisoner,” and retribution is satisfied. In real life, he generally gets away. The boy who kills six Indians with his strong right arm. holds the seventh at bay by the terror ot his fascinating eye, while he deals the death blow to a monstrous panther, with a dagger in his teeth, exists only in books. In reality, he saws wood, studies when he does not want to, and his days are full of sadness, and sore from the chastening of the rod. In fiction, the ladies and gentlemen the author has left over after he finishes the story, are: paired off in the matrimonial bonds, lflce couples going in to dinner. The proper ending of the story requires it. If they were living, two or three would be married happily, one or two not at all, and the balance misfits. For beautiful endings, fiction often has the best of it. —Book Chat. Omaha World: The President (preparing for St. Louis) —“Daniel, I wish you would go out and buy me a Waterbury watch; get one for about two dollars.” Daniel —“Yes, sire.” “And, by the way. take my watch with you and deposit it in my box in the bank vault.” “Yes, sire. Is that all?” “That’s all, except on jour way back you might drop into the railroad office and ask what time the train starts for Missouri.” The Christian man whose character has become stereotyped or crystalized has al ready begun to decay.—E. G. Kobinson. Christ came not to talk about a beautiful light, but to be that light—not to speculate about virtue, but to be virtue. —E. G. Tay lor.