OCR Interpretation

The prison mirror. [volume] (Stillwater, Minn.) 1887-1894, October 23, 1890, Image 2

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86063465/1890-10-23/ed-1/seq-2/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

•ghc prison fsXimrr.
Edited and Published by the Inmates.
Entered at the Post Office at Stillwater Minn
as Second Class Mail Matter.
Subscription Rates.
THE PRISON MIRROR is issued every Thurs
day morning at the following rates.
One Year #I.OO
Six Months 00
Three Montns 25
Single Copies 5
Subscriptions must be paid invariably in ad
vance. Advertising rates given upon application.
Stillwater, Minn.
THE PRISON MIRROR is a weekly paper pub
lished in the Minnesota state prison. All matter
published in its columns is contributed by the
inmates, except that properly credited. Its sup
port must come from the outside as every inmate
is given a paper without cost. It is published in
the interest of the prison library and after paying
for the printing outfit, contributed #l5O to the
library fund the first year. Its objects are to en
courage individual intellectual effort, provide a
healthy journal for the inmates of this and other
prisons, and, above all, to acquaint the outside
world with the needs of the prison by reflecting
its inner life and thus aid the cause of moral ad
vancement and prison reform.
The Prison Mirror, published in the
State penitentiary, is a spicy and brainy
little paper.—The Irish Standard.
Mr. Arthur J. Mclntire and Miss Jennie
E. Mosher were married at Zumbrota. Oct.
11. Mr. Mclntire lately published the
Stillwater Democrat, but is now living in
St. Paul. The Mirror offers congratula
Tiie Mirror extends a cordial welcome
to “Our Companion” a monthly paper pub
lished at the Cincinnati House of Kefuge.
The paper is neatly printed and ably ed
ited; and we shall always regard it as a
cheering, elevating companion.
No 1. of Vol. I. of the Puget Sound
Lumberman and Shipping Journal has
readied our table. It is devoted to the mil
ling, mining, shipping and railway inter
ests of Washington. It is an ably gotten
up journal and will be invaluable to all hav
ing interests of the new state.
It is customary for editors to take a vaca
tion about once a year, but owing to cir
cumstances we have not been able to get
away from our duties for several years, and
we are tired. Therefore, as will be seen,
we have given the editorial hemisphere of
our little globe of thought a vacation this
Our old friend, Texas Siftings, came to
hand this week fairly bristling with bowie
knives, Winchesters, six-shooters, whisky
bottles and ail the other implements of
western humor, and a double page picture of
the marriage in Fizen Creek ot our old and
admired acquaintance, Col. Whipsaw, of
the Kattlesnake ranch, to the youngest
daughter of Judge Pulltrigger. The cos
tumes of the ladies and gentlemen are sim
ply gorgeous and are admirably portrayed
by the skilled artist. Thos. Worth.
We have just received a pamphlet copy
of Secretary H. H. Hart’s Address to the
Alumni of Oberlin College on the Beforma
tion of Criminals, delivered July 1, 1890.
Mr. Hart, as secretary of the state board of
corrections and charities, has had oppor
tunities for gaining a wide knowledge of
affairs appertaining to crime and criminals
and in his address he sets forth the most
advanced ideas upon the subject. He ad
vocates more care and discrimination in
dealing with the different classes of crim
inals, and holds that while the primary ob
ject of imprisonment should be punishment,
no effort should be spared for the morai and
intellectual elevation of the imprisoned
criminal; that is, prison discipline should
be of an elevating instead of a degrading
nature. We will endeavor to give a fuller
review of the address in another issue.
Dr. M. Lavell, warden of the peniten
tiary at Kingston, Canada, in a speech be
fore the Nashville prison congress said:
“When a convict is received, 1 come into
personal contact with him at once. I get
at his history, I find out his peculiarities,
and everything that has reference to him,
and before 1 assign him to work, I know
all that lean about him. Throughout their
imprisonment I endeavor to come into per
sonal contact with these men. I tell them
constantly that lam accessible to them at
all times and under all circumstances; that
they are free to tell me their complaints
and to make a friend of me; and if they
will give me their confidence. I will prove
a friend in the truest sense. That, I think,
is my duty as a warden. While the ref
ormation of the convict is surrounded by
many difficulties. I feel that, since provi
sion is made for the salvation of the worst
man, there is a possibility of saving our
vilest criminals. I try to instill hope into
them, and to make them believe that I am
their friend.”
Here is something truly remarkable. It
is not the expose of the “sweat box” and
“slugging” process that is remarkable
such is a common practice in many cities —
but the fact that officers have been indicted
for such an offense against law and human
ity is indeed astonishing. No wonder
The utmost excitement was created here (Den
ver. Col.) when it was learned that in the grand
jury’s report handed in six indictments were found
against Chief Loar, of the city detective force,
and Detectives Clark, Wattrous, Crocker and In*
gersoll for false imprisonment and two for assault
to kill and one for assault and battery against
Wattrous. The complaining witnesses are Dan
Sinks and B. F. Smiley, who were imprisoned and
brutally assaulted by the officers for the purpose
of extorting confession to a crime for which they
were arrested and which they claim they knew
nothing of. The local press has for some time
charged the detective force with being very cor
rupt and that they receive regular monthly con
tributions from fallen women, gamblers, bunco
men and criminals, and in return these classes
are not molested. These charges will be inves
tigated by the grand jury.—Minneapol s Tribune.
Two months In u “Sweat-Box.”
Providence, U.l.,Oct. 17.—Charley Mc-
Carthy, 14 years old, who was confined in
the “sweat-box” at the state reformatory
under Superintendent Niebecker, was
brought before the committee to investigate
the charges of inhuman cruelty toward him.
A more pitiful and shocking scene was
never witnessed in this city. McCarthy
was livid and weak, and death seemed im
minent. The committee was horrified, and
asserted that it would not listen to a word
uttered by a child in the helpless physical
condition of young McCarthy. “Why. you
must take that boy home,” said Chairman
Wilson, “for he is not able to testify.” The
parents of the boy ins.sted that he should
be allowed to tell the story of his confine
ment for 62 days in the dark cell known as
the “sweat-box.” The chairman of the
committee administered the oath. Toung
McCarthy was too weak to hold out his
hand. The mother and father held up his
arm for him. His hand, when liberated
from their hold, dropped helplessly to his
side. “You must take that child home.”
said the committee, “for we don’t want to
make any examination of him now.”—
Minneapolis Tribune.
A Ranker Rested by ail Editor.
“The best laid schemes of mice and men
gang aft aglee,” or words to that effect. A
banker in Van Wert, who is rather slow
pay. especially on his country paper, was
dunned by Editor Arnold, of the Bulletin.
He said, “Why, certainly; it ought to have
been paid long ago;” then what did this
banker do but hand to the editor a new
SIO.OOO bank bill. Did this innocent editor
blanch with surprise and wonderment and
collapse at the sight of more money than he
ever expected to see? Well, no; not much.
With much unconcern, as if it were an
every day occurrence, he took the SIO,OOO
bill, and. pulling out an old wallet from his
pistol pocket, proceeded to count out the
banker his change. It was the banker’s
time to wilt, as he did not want to part
with the big bill, which was a curiosity in
Van Wert; but the editor said it was no
trouble at all. as he was saving up a few of
these SIO,OOO bills for Christmas. The
banker had gathered several of his choice
friends in the bank to see him toy with the
editor, but another banker had got on to it,
and just padded the editor with a huge bun
dle of greenbacks tomakechange.—Urbana
Vagaries of Habitual Drunkards.
Habitual drunkards, it appears, have al
ways their idiosyncrasies. One woman was
in prison 167 times in eleven years for
smashing windows; a man also well known
to the police stole nothing but Bibles; with
another spades were always the coveted
articles; and into other female cases shoes
and shawls were the objects invariably that
were misappropriated by them when under
the influence of drink. A man was once
transported on a seventh conviction for
stealing tubs for which he had absolutely
no use, yet which he could never resist the
sight of when alcohol had done its work.—
London Tid-Bits.
How to Depopulate Prisons.
We respectfully call the attention of law
makers to the following editorial clipped
from a late number of the Weekly Scots
man, of Edinburgh, Scotland:
A pleasing and interesting chapter in the
story of social progress is furnished in the
report to parliament by the directors of
convict pri oils. One e’a s of the com
munity appears to be dwindling in numbers
with surprising rapidity—the occupants of
the convicts’ cells. At the present moment
the number of persons in custody in Eng
land and Wales, under sentences of penal
servitude, is the smallest on record.
Twenty years ago, with a population of al
most seven millions less than that of to-day.
our penal servitude convicts numbered
11.660. To day. the number is about one
half of this—s,944. Between March 1884
and July 1890 —a period, roughly speaking,
of only six years—the convict prison popu
lation decieased by 4,000 persons, or by no
fewer than 660 persons per annum; and
lßst year the number of penal servitude
sentences was. with one exception, lower
than in any previous year in our history.
These facts are the most important when it
is remembered that the decrease of the con
vict prison population has not been accom
panied by any increase in the number of
those who occupy the ordinary prisons.
Crime, unhappily, is and will be long with
us. and the records of the convicts tell only
too plainly of the frequent recurrence of
cases of serious crime. But a vast improve
ment has taken place during the past
twenty years; and if the prison records of
that period may be accepted as an indica
tion of the future, the prospect is most
hopeful and encouraging. It is interesting
to note that fluctuations in the number of
convictions for serious crime have invaria
bly corresponded with' fluctuations in the
number of adult paupers. Pauperism and
crime go hand in hand, and the most recent
returns of the former are as satisfactory and
promising as are those of the latter.
The rapidly diminishing record of serious
crime has compelled the directors of con
vict prisons again to discuss the desirable
ness of making one alteration in the crim
inal law. At present the maximum sen
tence is two years, and the minimum sen
tence of penal servitude is five years. No
intermediate sentence is allowed. The di
rectors certainly make out a strong case for
an immediate change in the law. It may
be said that their whole argument tends to
show that extreme rigor in punishing crime
has never been followed by beneficial re
sults, and that improvement in our criminal
statistics has grown concurrently with the
passing of less severe sentences —with the
tempering of mercy with justice. The di
rectors strongly urge that sentences of three
and four years’ penal servitude be reintro
duced, on the general principle that condi
tions have wholly altered since 1863; that
the Prevention of Crime Act, 1871, which
allows of police supervision after the expiry
of a sentence, supplies the requisite for the
safety of society which transportation and
long sentences used to supply: and that the
punishments which it is necessary to inflict
should not subject those on whom they are
imposed to any greater amount of misery,
discomfort, and degradation than is re
quired to effect the object in view. They
proceed in a comuiendably sympathetic
spirit. “The family of a prisoner, though
innocent, suffer as well as he; the disgrace
affects them, perhaps, more than him. and
they are subjected to discomfort, arising
from being deprived of the advantages of
his labor and protection. It will be ad
mitted, then, that every year to which a
prisoner is sentenced beyond the necessity
of the case entails much unjustifiable suffer
ing, and those who assign the periods of
sentences which are intended to cure moral
maladies should not be fettered by a rule
which absolutely forbids the adoption,
under any circumstances, of certain partic
ular periods, any more than a physician
should be precluded from administering his
dose for the cure of physical maladies.”
There is the pecuniary consideration also.
The directors calculate that if only 300 of
the prisoners who are now sentenced to five
years received sentences of four years or
three years in equal proportions, the prison
population would ultimately be reduced by
450 prisoners, “and, putting the saving at
£25 per head, the public would be relieved
to the amount of £11,250 per annum. No
doubt all this will receive, as it deserves,
attention in the proper quarter. It is a
favorable sign of the times to find prison
officials coming forward as the advocates of
even greater consideration than this su
premely humane age has adopted in the
punishing of our criminals.
“Fifteen years is about the average life
time sentence.” says a prison physician.
“Very few convicts, though sentenced for
life, serve more than that period. They
die or are pardoned.
“In the Missouri prison there are five
holiday pardons every year granted by the
governor. One white and one negro con
vict are pardoned on the Fourth of J uly,
and two white and one negro convicts are
pardoned on Christmas. The long-termers
get the benefit of this clemency. This I
heartily endorse. If fifteen years does not
reform a man fifty years will not.”—Globe-
Prison Sunday.
Secretary H. 11. Hart, of the Minnesota
board of corrections and charities, has sent
a circular letter to the clergy of the state
which reads as follows:
Dear Sir: Sunday, Oct. 26, has been designated
“Prison Sunday,” at which time all ministers are
requested to preach a sermon on prison reform,
the treatment of criminals or some related subject.
I send you herewith some documents which
may be of assistance to you in preparing for such
service. I would suggest that if practicable you
visit the jail or lock-up in your town before the
service. In some cases a union service has been
found very satisfactory.
The end sought in the observance of Prison Sun
day, says the secretary of the National Prison
Association, is to awaken a larger degree of pub
lic interest in the question of crime and criminals
—the prevention and repression of crime, and the
reformation of offenders. The two great agencies
for the education of public opinion are the press
and the pulpit. Probably neither the one nor the
other has in time past paid sufficient attention to
this important subject. To most persons crime
seems to be something very remote. Those of us
who have no official connection with the adminis
tration of justice rarely come into personal contact
with criminals. We read of crime in the newspa
pers, and we leave the problem of dealing with it
to legislatures, courts, police, and prison officials.
We fail to realize that we have any personal re
sponsibility in this matter. But the volume of
crime in any given community is the symbol and
expression of the social and moral condition of
that community. The criminal may be com
pared to the metallic points through which accu
mulated electricity discharges itself and restores
the electric equilibrium. The forces which make
criminals are found in the social and moral atmos
phere which environs them. To purify this at
mosphere is the work, in part, of the church. If
it fails, or in so far as it fails, to do this, the
church itself cannot escape partial responsibility
for the prevalence of crime. And the criminal
stands to the church in the same relation as any
other sinner. The church owes to him precisely
the same duty which it owes to every man who
has violated human and divine law, and stands in
need of pardon and restoration. It is hoped that
this view of the question will be presented, on
Prison Sunday, by American pastors, to the peo
ple who attend religious worship and receiVe re
ligious instruction from their lips. Even a limited
observance of the day cannot fail to accomplish a
useful purpose, by awakening thought, promoting
discussion, and arousing a healthy public senti
ment with reference to the importance of adopt
ing the most effectual methods for diminishing
the volume of crime in the United States.
Tlie Saddest of Stories.
The following is the old, old story told
anew by “Between You and I” in the Min
neapolis Tribune:
Circumstantial evidence is not always to
be relied on as proof positive, yet sometimes
it is to be relied on, and will make a pretty
strong case. People who have had busi
ness at the postoffice for the last few
months may have noticed that several
months ago a pretty, bright eyed girl, evi
dently from the country, began to call at
the general delivery for mail. She was
dressed plain, but neat, and altogether
seemed to carry with her the odor of new
mown hay, and a glance at her fresh, young
face brought to mind visions of cowslips,
field daisies and wood violets. Soon she
began to hang about more often, and many
times she appeared to be waiting for some
one. Often late in the evening her post
was at the window by the wall desks, where
she waited with expectant eyes for the com
ing of some one. Gradually there was an
improvement in her manner of dress. A
new hat was the first feature, then a flashy
pair of shoes, until little by little she blos
somed into a gaudily decked damsel, and
the latest addition was a fur jacket and a
pair of gaudy yellow kids. As the dress
improved the face took on an expression
for the worse. The fresh young cheeks be
came covered by a coat of powder, and the
bloom of the cheek which had been lost was
artificially enhanced by an elalorate use of
rouge. The ripe, warm lips, which had
begun to pale, were touched up with a tinge
of a purpler hue than nature gives, and the
eyes were enlarged by the application of a
pencil in the proper place. Gone was the
bright, innocent young being, and in her
place was a woman of the 'world, with a
growing look of boldness and effrontery in
the pretty, deep eyes. There was no
ocular proof of the fall; but the tale was
only an oft repeated one, all too common in
great cities, and another good woman was
lost to a world that is not too well filled
with pure feminity. How sad and sweet
are those lines of Bret Harte.
“’Twas only, you see. the old, old story;
For the bright blue eyes and the golden hair
Were a woman s shame and a woman’s glory—”
The prison population of Missouri has
declined from 1.879 to 1.667 in the last two
years. The state has been steadily grow
ing in the meantime. These figures are re
spectfully presented to the gentlemen who
delight in quoting penitentiary statistics
from Kansas and lowa. Missouri is not a
prohibition state. Not by a long shot.-
Marshall Co. (Kan.) Democrat.

xml | txt