Newspaper Page Text
3£lxjc prison IlCirrnr.
Edited and Published by the Inmates. Bntered 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 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 %? reflecting its inner life and thus aid the cause of moral ad vancement and prison reform. The Prison Mirror, published by the inmates of the Minnesota penitentiary, is now in its fourth volume. The mechanical work is excellent and the editorial ability displayed would attract attention in any journalistic field.—Southwest Mail. A convict has been indicted for having escaped from Sing Sing prison. That is tough, it is an encroachment upon the inal ienable rights of prisoners. If these out rages are allowed to continue the time will be when we will have no rights at all. There has been a change in the warden ship of the penitentiary at Bismarck, N. Dak. Warden Dan Williams has been suc ceeded by his deputy, Clark W. Haggart. The change seems to be a surprise to North Dakotans. Such is the whirligig of poli tics. The Mirror continues gathering them in, and now the Inspector General of Pris ons, N. W. P. of Oude, Lucknow, India, orders our paper for a year through the In ternational News Company. That is what we eall reaching out. It is only a matter of a short time when we will be receiving a subscription from His Celestial Jags Em peror ot China. The N. Dakota legislators did at least one good thing at their recent session. They made a law authorizing the board of the state penitentiary to parole prisoners who have a six months’ record for good be havior and have secured employment with some responsible party. The warden’s ap proval and the consent of four of the mem bers of the board is necessary to parole. A bill to prohibit the pardoning of life convicts has been recommended to pass in the Minnesota legislature. It is not at all probable that such a bill will ever become a law in this enlightened age. When courts become unerring in their judgments and the law strong enough to assure impartial jus tice to rich and poor, and humble and pow erful alike, then, if ever, will be the time to wall up the gates of mercy. The servant girl question continues a live subject of discussion. People wonder why it is that the respectable and intelligent girls of the poor class prefer employment in crowded factories rather than in the wholesome homes of well-to do families. It is probable that many of the girls would answer the question by saying that they preferred to be known as factory operatives rather than a? servants or scullions. Henry D. Dement qualified as warden of the Joliet, 111., penitentiary on the sth inst. In the evening the new warden, officials, employes and contractors tendered a fare well reception to ex-Warden and Mrs. Berggren, which was largely attended by the citizens of Joliet. A silver set consist ing of three dozen pieces was presented to the retiring warden and wife as a token of the high esteem in which they were held. Recently a plan was invented by one of the convicts serving a term in the Colorado penitentiary, at Canyon City, by which James Joyce, a condemned murderer, ex ecuted himself. Now a bill has been intro duced in one of the houses asking that this system of suicide be legalized and adopted as the means of carrying out the sentence of capital punishment with an excellent chance of its becoming a law.—Oregon Scout. The Scientific American pronounces the Pennington air ship, of which so much has been said of late, the most successful hum bug of its kind yet invented; but says, “Twenty millions of dollars is the modest amount of capital stock. A few of the shares have been reserved for sale to a hun gry public. Those who have a dangerous surplus of cash on hand -can promptly re duce it by investment in this deceptive and visionary scheme.” The Mirror is indebted to Supt. J. C. Hite for a copy of the thirty-fifth annual re port of the Boys’lndustrial School, of Ohio. The report is voluminous and the mechanical work was all done in the printing depart ment of the school. This school wasestab lished in 1858. Since then 5,808 boys have been received ot whom 612 still remain. The school is focated on a farm near Lan caster. They have a garden and nursery ef 30 acres and a vineyard of 20 acres be sides 400 acres of otherwise tillable land. An Indiana gentleman with a genealog ical eye has prepared a chart showing that every great crime occurring in that state within the past hundred years was com mitted by descendants of an old rogue by the name of lshmael who settled in Indian apolis late in the last century. This dis covery throws the noted Jukes family in the shade. It has not vet been ascertained whether Jukes is a descendant of Ishmeal or Ishmeal of Jukes. The genealogical tree propagator should call his tree the Upas tree. Our Bismarck correspondent informs us that an effort is being made to organize a Chautauqua Circle in the prison. The pris oners have received the ready consent of the warden who will, no doubt, co operate with them in devising means of securing the necessary books. We hope they may succeed, and will offer them a little advice. Do not beg anyone to join the circle, for if you do they will say sometime in the future that they came in just to please you and to help the cause along—not for their own benefit—oh, no. N ine out of ten of that class will drop out in a short time and your circle will be weaker than if they had never joined. Do not strive to see how large a class you can form to start with, but try rather to begin with a small class of earn est spirits who will join for purely selfish reasons, and then you will have a natural growth that will not fall to pieces at the first stroke of adversity. Beware of the prison “lawyer.” HE TOOK TO THE BUSH. At' eighty years of age grandfather was very much of a philosopher and one of the jolliest companions a boy ever had. He owned a bit of timber land near the town and he and his grandson would go out there occasionally in the warm season and bring in a load of wood. It was on one of these summer excursions to the woods that an in cident occurred which was comical yet sad. The two axemen were at work trimming the branches from a fallen tree, when the boy discovered a large hornets’ nest hanging from a limb just above their heads. The boy was familiar with the disposition of the hornet and advised an immediate re treat; but grandfather laughed at the boy’s fears and said that so long as the hornets were not disturbed they would not hurt any one. The boy, having had experience, had no confidence in the old man’s theory, and he went to the other end of the tree to work. Grandfather was a city-bred man, and the boy felt that he did not appreciate the dan ger, so uttered an occasional “You’d bet ter look out,” as he awaited the denoue ment. “Look out!” yelled the boy, but too late. The nest had been jostled, the en emy were out, and the tight was on. There was a few quick passages at arms; then all was frantic confusion. Never before was such agility displayed by warrior so aged. He struck right and left, afore and aft, over and under, and everywhere and anywhere, but the enemy were too many for him and he took to the bush. The boy in the meantime had been fully engaged by the enemy’s skir mishers. but when the old man bolted he took to the bush also. The enemy did not pursue beyond a few rods, but the old man did not halt until he was far away. When the boy came up he found his valiant grandsire seated upon a log rubbing his wounds, and laughing—but not merrily. He said it was nothing, but when the ques tion arose of how the axes were to be brought away he suggested that the boy “had better slip back and get them.” Minnesota Prison Labor. The specter of prison labor rises to haunt every state legislature. And it will not be laid until the subject has been treated hon estly and intelligently, which has proved almost impossible so far. The importance of the competition of convict with free la bor has been vastly overestimated. It has been shown by statistics that prison labor does not constitute 1 per cent of the total labor product of the country. This, if properly distributed, is an absolutely inap preciable quantity. But, if in any state, all the inmates of the penitentiaries are en gaged in making a single article, which is also a subject of manufacture on private ac count, then the force of such competition may be felt in the market; and it may con stitute a hardship for those who employ free labor and have to meet a product man ufactured by state criminals. It ought to be clear, therefore, at the outset, that the diversification of prison labor is part of the solution of the question of unfair competi tion, as it is unquestionably the most desir able thing for the physical and moral im provement of the convicts themselves. But the problem is never left to solve it self in this easy and natural manner. If the state farms out prison labor to a con tractor, it is to his interest, it is a necessity if he wants to make a profit out of the ar rangement, to engage in making a single article or class of articles. For this purpose he puts in an extensive plant and goes into the business on a large scale. The conse quence is that he soon controls the market of that particular product, and rival em ployers, using free labor, find cause for com plaint in the difficulty of competition. As soon as this condition arrives, the state takes the matter in hand, and proceeds to repeat exactly the same blunder. It en deavors to find some industry which is car ried on but little, if at all, by private enter prise, and directs the employment of the convicts at that. But somebody is sure, sooner or later, to want to go into that bus iness on his own account; and then the old complaint of injustice is made, and a new occupation must be found for the state’s prisoners. The escape from this, and the settlement of the prison labor question on a fair and sensible basis is to be found only in the per mission and encouragement of a variety of pursuits within prison walls. It is proba ble, though not necessary, that this would require the adoption of the state account system. But it should be done, no matter what theory of state control it involves. It needs no argument to show that the well being of the convicts, and their conversion into orderly and independent members of the community, requires that they be as signed to different occupations. An intel ligent prison management will discern quickly for what kind of work each convict is best adapted, and will employ him ac cordingly. It ought to need no argument to show that what is best for the prisoner is also best for the community at large. For this diversification of convict labor will pre vent concentration in the product of any single article, and so reduce competition to a minimum. As a matter of fact, if labor in our prisons were thus judiciously classi fied, they might be more nearly self-sup porting, the convicts might be made far more proficient in their trades against the time of release, and the force of their com petition would be so reduced that it would not affect the price of commodities in the market, or the wages of free labor, in the slightest degree. Our experience ought to have taught us at least so much by this time. And our legislature ought to be ready to take action which would make that experience a fruitful one, instead of listen ing further to the wholly selfish pleas that have governed prison policy in the past, and that are incapable of doing anything but aggravating the difficulties of the prison la bor problem for an indefinite period in the future. —Pioneer Press. How hard it is to believe a man after we have been lying to him ourselves. It has sometimes happened that an habitually un truthful man has kept up his reputation after death by lying in state.—Texas Sift ings. NEWS OF A WEEK. March 4. Leonard Jerome, of New York, dies at Brighton, England. Seven persons are found frozen to death near Great Falls, Mont. Last day of the Fifty-first Congress. Speaker Keed is refused a vote of thanks by the opposition party. Stevens was fined $2,000 and Beaudet SSOO for crooked work in connection with the Minneapolis census. The big pontoon bridge across the Mis souri river at St. Charles, Mo., is totally destroyed by a heavy flow ot' ice. March 5. The Canadian elections result in a victory for the Conservatives. The Monroe high school at Monroe, N. C., is destroyed by tire and two students perish in the flames. The big passenger steamboat City of Richmond, of the Hartford line, is burned at her dock, East river, New York. Garvin M. Steele is shot dead at Ashland, Wis., by his brother in law, G. W. French. They were respected residents of the city. March 6. W. F. Hamden, a prominent South Da kota editor and politician, commits suicide at Yankton. Poverty was the cause. Warrents are issued for Chauncey Depew and other prominent railroad officials who are held responsible for the recent fatal ac cident in the Harlem railroad tunnel. March 7, The state of Washington is shaken by an. earthquake. The first building of the World’s Colum bian exposition is begun at Jackson Park to-day. It will be used for offices. Twenty-five members of the South Da kota legislature become seriously ill of pneumonia at Sioux Falls, caused by bad ventilation of the state house. Geo. F. Work and James S. wreckers of the Bank of America and the American Life Insurance Company of Phil adelphia, and the president of the bank, Louis E. Pfeffer, have been sentenced to the penitentiary for -four, three and two years respectively. March 8. Many people are afflicted with trichinae in Ida county, lowa. Five persons have al ready died of the terrible affliction. A fast passenger train on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe road is wrecked on a curve at Havana, 111., and a number of per sons are injured. Fireman Saddler was in stantly killed. March 9. Bishop Paddock, of Massachusetts, is dead. Prince Jerome Napoleon is dying in Home. The south of England is suffering from the severest storms ever known in that country. A mail car on the New York Central was burned at Elmira. The car contained 18 sacks of letters and 35 sacks of newspapers. Mississippi is visited by destructive cy clones, heavy rain storms and a cloud burst. Several lives are lost and railroad and other property is greatly damaged. Marc h 10. Daniel W. Lawler is appointed city at torney of St. Paul. John F. Smith. American minister to Japan, dies at Tokio. Ex-Territorial Secretary of State Geo. H. Hand, of Dakota, dies at Peirre. It is reported that W. J. Murphy, of Grand Forks, N. Dak., has purchased the Minneapolis Tribune. Mrs. O. C. Hanson hangs herself and babe at Pelican Kapids. No cause is as signed for the rash act. David H. Poston was shot and mortally wounded by Col. H. Clay King. They were prominent members of the Mem phis bar. Pot Calls Kettle Black. An attorney for the defense in a criminal case in Duluth, becoming provoked beyond endurance by the officious manner in which a couple of reporters pushed themselves as witnesses for the prosecution, made the slanderous statement that he would not be lieve a newspaper reporter under oath. He was called down, and rightly so, by the judge. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that there are extenuating circumstances connected with his offense. It is becoming the common practice fer newspapers to try, and retry, all kinds of cases before they are given to the jury, and in their zeal to make out a good case, reporters very frequently overstep the bounds of propriety, in collect ing the * 'facts. ” Justice is often forestalled by the work of reportorial detectives, whose sense of duty becomes benumbed by over ambition for a reputation, and who quite commonly assume the garb of public pros ecutors. It is not at all surprising then, that attorneys are sometimes caused to pro test in too vigorous terms against such practice.—West Duluth Sun.