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2£l*jc prison plirrwr.
Edited and Published by tbe Inmates. Entered at the Post Office at Stillwater Minn. M Second Class Mail Matter. Subscription Rates. THE PRISON MIRROR is issued every Thurs day morning at the following rates. One Tear SI.OO Six Months 50 Three Montns 25 Single Copies 5 Subscriptions must be paid invariably in ad vance. Advertising rates given upon application. Address, EDITOR PRISON MIRROR, Stillwater, Minn. TO THE PUBLIC. 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. A hotel keeper captured two burglars in the act of carrying off 5,000 of his cigars the other night, and he now purposes to make them “smoke.” A man died in the Maine state prison last October who was serving his eighth term. He had served altogether forty-one years, five months and four days. He died of ex haustion at the agp of seventy*four years. Of 318 prisoners in the Connecticut state prison 40 are under life sentence. The case of one of these life prisoners is peculiar as it stands recorded in the prison report. He was convicted in 1859, and he is now 21 years old. Here is a case for those who hold that crime is hereditary. A woman can do a great many things with a hair pin. Puck of March 4th con tains an interesting article on this subject, by Mrs. Orel D. Orvis. Cigarette lovers should read, “Breaking Off Cigarettes,” by Williston Fish, in the same number. Our readers will be pleased to learn that Puck is about to begin a series of short stories by that well-known writer, James L. Ford. They are to be called, “Hypnotic Tales,” and will run through eight or ten numbers of the paper. The sixth biennial report of the Minne sota state reform school shows that there have been committed to the school since its opening 23 years ago 1,246 children. The daily average of inmates for the year end ing July 31, 1890. was 280.5. The ages of the inmates range from two up to twenty one years. All those over sixteen years old secured admittance to the school through perjury. The physicians’ report shows that there was not a death within the past year. The management hopes to be able to re move to the new school, now in course of construction at Red Wing, sometime the coming fall. The Prison Mirror, published by the inmates of the State Prison at Stillwater, is among the brightest of our exchanges. A recent article on the “Great Cause of Crime” is significant because of its source, the author being an inmate of the prison at Bismarck. We quote two paragraphs: “What is this cause? What do the prison records of every state prison in America say? Here it is in one word, intemperance. They may send ministers to preach seven times a week, and supply each prisoner daily with a thousand religious tracts, and all to no avail so long as the deadly poison is for all. Close up the whisky dens of every city, town and village, and then you can close the state prisons, and one police man then will accomplish the work which it now takes twenty to accomplish.”— Church Record. The Connecticut state prison seems to be a breeding place for consumption germs. With a population of little more than 300 they have eleven consumptive patients in the hospital and a like number in the earlier stages of the disease who are still able to perform light duties. Of the 22 deaths Within the past two years eleven have been caused by consumption. The fearful pre valence of the disease is due, no doubt, to the bad sanitary condition of the old prison. The board of managers say in their report that, since the removal of the prisoners to the new cell-block, there has been a marked improvement in health, comfort and con duct. Punishments have diminished in number and duration. The former sullen, dogged, hopeless expression has in a large measure disappeared, and everything indi cates that the change to more wholesome quarters “has contributed materially to the physical, mental, and moral well being of the prisoners.” The editor’s mind was a mass of squirm ing, hissing serpents, the compositors were snapping and snarling at each other like sullen dogs, the devil’s under lip was on the sag, in fact there an evil, misanthropic spirit pervading the atmosphere of The Mirror office when the afternoon mail came in. Three letters dropped upon our desk along with a lot of exchanges. The first contained a patent “ad” proposal. It found its way to the waste basket in a twinkle. The second letter was a “please discontinue sending” etc., “as I’m not able to pay any longer.” The villain! He had never paid a cent for the two years he had received the paper. The third opened, and what have we? Two new subscribers and two dollars. The sun began to peep out from behind the clouds. The exchanges came next. The Fargo Sunday Argus was the first opened, and here is what we found: One of the best-edited, best-made up and best printed little papers on the Argus’ ex change list is The Prison Mirror, pub lished by the inmates of the Minnesota pen itentiary at Stillwater. It shows that there is editorial ability and taste of a high order among the unfortunates of its strange pub lication- office. When we had read the above aloud to the boys, behold the clouds had been swept away and the gracious sun was shining forth in all his splendor. A PENITENTIARY TO BE GRADED. By the biennial report of the Western penitentiary of Pennsylvania we see that the prisoners are to be classified in a short time. Warden Edward S. Wright de scribes the plan as follows: “Every inmate who has in the preceding six months, or who may hereafter comply with all the rules for that time, will be reg istered in the first grade. This step will be entitled to all the privileges, consistent with law, that can be given, mainly of prison details, that are inexpensive in character but greatly valued by the recipients. A few may be mentioned, light at night one hour longer, privilege of going to and fro in double line without lockstep, clothing of plain grey without stripes, and the benefits of the law granting a reduction of sentence for good conduct In the second grade all will be expected to carefully conform to rules for six months. These require care and diligence at wor£, progress in school, or ceil if under instruction there, and civil deportment at all times. The third grade may be reached for misconduct and viola tion of rules, according to a scale set forth in a little printed book, given to every in mate and carefully balanced by a fixed sys tem every month.” To this the inspectors say: “While this is a new departure, the board has long desired its accomplishment, inas much as the systematic recognition of merit under this plan has in view the best inter ests of the criminal, by placing him under conditions most favorable for reformation of character, the great end and aim of prison discipline, the attainment of which is of prime importance, not only to the prisoner, but to society at large.” As was remarked in this paper a few weeks ago, the reformatory plan of disci pline is finding its way into the penitentia ries. No one can be about a large prison a great while without recognizing the neces sity of some kind of a classification of the prisoners in order to bring about the best possible results of imprisonment. We have' heard this plan objected to on the grounds that it was founded on sentimentalism, was expensive, and was wrong in principle inas much as it offered specific rewards for good conduct whereas the prisoners should be forced into good conduct. Now, the grad ing system as practiced in the prisons of Great Britain and in a few reformatory prisons in this country does not call for the relaxation of strict discipline, but, if we have been rightly informed, it tends rather to intensify it. The course of discipline may change its lines, but it always adds greater responsibilities compelling the pris oner to be more circumspect in his conduct at every station of advancement. The per quisites belonging to the advanced grade need not be an additional item in the expense account. The rewards may be like those mentioned by Warden Wright. Such privileges may seem, to persons who have never been in prison, like poor induce ments, but to the prisoner they have a great value. The simple fact of belonging to a higher grade of men would be a sufficient motive to induce most men to strive to reach the highest class. The great merit of this plan is the training it gives the prisoner in perseverance in a right direction. A man to win promotion and hold his place must first learn self-control and then keep a close guard upon his conduct; and it is well un derstood that man, a victim to habits, can not long follow one line of conduct without it becoming fixed upon him. It is also well known that the majority of those who find their way into prison are deficient in the power of prolonged application to any one undertaking. The want of this power causes many men to drift from one thing to another until they finally become criminals through sheer discouragement at their own worthlessness. Those who become crim inals from other causes if they have not this fault to begin with soon acquire it. About the only good that imprisonment can do for a man is to correct this fault, and there is no better way of doing it than by the grading system. Thieves’ Profits. An interesting story of crime in a great metropolis is to be found in the last annual report (that for 1889) of the Commissioner of Police for London. The metropolitan area guarded by tbe force was 700 square miles, and for the protection of person and property 15,000 men were on the rolls. Of the men, however, owing to reasons not detailed, several thousand were continually unavailable. At the head of the list of crimes com mitted in spite of the public guardians stand seventeen homicides, the most of which were plainly deliberate murder, but not a single capital conviction is recorded against the names of the criminals. In four cases the criminals could not be found, one of the four being Jack the Kipper of Whitechapel. In other cases the assailant was insane, some committed suicide, and in a few cases conviction for manslaughter was obtained. On the whole it was fairly safe to kill a man in London, quite as safe as in Ken tucky or any of the American States where a feeling that the criminal “done had to” commonly influences the jury to acquit. It is likely that no State shows so serious a failure of justice as this report shows for London. In the report on crimes against property, it is told plainly that stealing does not pay. Even leaving out of consideration the awards of punishment meted out to the thieves, they would scarce have made the wages of honest labor. Thus, there were but 499 burglaries, and but £3.000 worth of property gathered in, about £6 per job on the average. But of this a great part was recovered, while in 124 cases not a farthing was obtained by the burglar. Moreover, these figures represent the loss to the own ers, not the gain to the thief. No state ment of the actual cash receipts of the thieves can be made, but whan one consid ers the prices at which the thieves must sell their plunder to the fences, it is reasonable to suppose that had they all gotten off scot free of imprisonment, suffering only from the loss of the property which was recovered from them, they would not have made $5 a job on the average, perhaps not $2. There were about 1,500 cases of house breaking, and here the same story is told. The thieves got property of an estimated value of £II,OOO (the owners always esti mating their losses as high as possible), but much was recaptured. Even on the basis of the estimated loss in over half the cases the value was less than £5, while in only thirty-two cases out of the 1,500 did the value exceed £SO. The cases of shopbreaking numbered 517, or seventy-three less than in 1888. The number of burglaries, too, was less than in 1888. and so, too, were the housebreakings and pocket pickings. Sir Edward Bradford, who writes the re port. says the decrease would be still greater were it not for the leniency with which ha bitual and well-known criminals are treated by Judges. On an average, however, crimes against property were 13 per cent, less numerous in 1889 than in 1888. —N. Y. Sun. A crowd is not company and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling symbol, where there is no love. Bacon. NEWS OF A WEEK' February 25. The prohibition amendment bill before the Minnesota legislature is indefinitely postponed. The congressional silver pool committee makes its report exonerating the congress* men charged with being connected with the pool. The fast train between Chicago and Cin cinnati on the Pan Handle railroad is de railed near Hagerstown, lnd., and three persons are killed and many injured. February 26. Anna Dickinson is reported insane. Geo. C. Ingham, the brilliant Chicago lawyer, dies suddenly. The bill to abolish capital punishment is defeated in the Minnesota House. Minneapolis has a large tire. Fire broke out in the five story building at Nos. 14 and 18 Fifth street South and spread from there to the Lumber Exchange. The old part of the Exchange building was badly damaged. The total loss is 5248,000. February 27. The last horse disappears from the street car service of St. Paul. Senator Blair, of New Hampshire, is ap pointed Minister to China. Yuma, Ariz., is swept away by a flood. Every building in the town except a hotel and the penitentiary were destroyed. A Lehigh Yalley fast passenger train col lides with a freight train at East Buffalo, N. Y., and one man is killed and several are badly injured. Frederick De Haas, one of the managers of the Germania Life Insurance company, St. Paul, dies of a gunshot wound inflicted by his own hand yesterday. The U. S. senate passes the house immi gration bill without amendment. The bill provides for the exclusion from this country of all paupers, persons suffering from loath some diseases, criminals, contract laborers, and all undesirable persons. The terms of the bill are very stringent. February 28. The anti-Pinkerton bill fails to pass in the Minnesota House. Senator Hearst, of California, dies in Washington after a long and painful ill ness. Ex-Gov. John S. Pillsbury is chosen president of the board of regents of the State University of Minnesota. March 1. The village of Herman, N. Y., is de stroyed by an incendiary fire. Senator Manderson, of Nebraska, is se lected to succeed Senator Ingalls as presi dent pro tempore of the U. S. Senate. Hundreds of lives are reported lost and property to the value of millions of dollars is destroyed by the floods in Arizona. An exodus of Mormons from Utah to Mexico is taking place. It is estimated that 2,000 families will leave the state this sum mer. Col. W. W. Gates, the oldest journalist in Tennessee and last of the celebrated lead ers of the Whig party in the South, dies at Jackson, aged 76 years. March 2. Thousands of negroes who were deluded into immigrating to Oklahoma are starving. The fine pottery works of Blackhust Bros., at Brownsdale is destroyed by fire. A bill reducing the legal and contract rates of interest to 6 and 8 per cent passes the Minnesota House. The Nebraska House has passed the alien land ownership bill. Land owned by aliens and not disposed of within seven years will revert to the state. March 3. The murderer of Aid. William Whalen in Chicago has been sentenced to life im prisonment. Striking car workers at Pullman, 111., in dulge in a riot, and many of them are ar rested. The labor leaders among the strikers in the coke regions of Pennsylvania have been arrested which may result in a serious out break. Stevens and Beaudet plead guilty to the charges of fraud in connection with the Minneapolis census frauds, and will be fined. Dickey is acquitted. An Unvarnished. Epithet. Kowne de Bout: So, Tom Knox was talk ing about me, was he? I suppose he said I was somewhat of a debauchee, eh? Upson Downes: No; he said you were a lush. —Puck. Carl Pretzel’s Philosophy. Der teller dot vas got plaindy shendlesomeness in bis frame vorks, der rorldt vill dink he has got efery odder goot qualidy. Ozberience vas told you dot efery desire vhich comes by yon. yas have some inclinations to dook yon der wrong vay out. Der St. Yitns itch und der wheals of der hooman> mind vas pooty perpedual motions, don’t it—Na tional Weekly. J i 1