Newspaper Page Text
Edited and Published by the Inmates of the Min nesota State Prison. Entered at the post office at Stillwater, Minn., as second-class nail matter. This paper will be forwarded to subscribers until or dered discontinued and all arrears are paid. Should THE MIRROR fail to reach a subscriber each week, notice should be sent to this office and the matter will be attended to at once. Contributions solicited from all sources. Rejected manuscript will not be returned. THE MIRROR is issued every Thursday at the following rates: One Year - - - -- -- -- -- - SI.OO Blx Months - - - -------.50 Three Months - -- - • - .25 To Inmates of penal Institutions ----- 50 cts. per year. Address all communications, Editor PRISON MIRROR. Stillwater, Minn. THE MIRROR Is a weekly paper published In the Minnesota State Prison. It was founded in 1887 by the prisoners and is edited and man aged by them. Its objects are to be a home newspaper; to encourage moral and Intellectual Improvement among the prisoners; to acquaint the public with the true status of the prisoner; to disseminate penological information and to aid in dispelling that prejudice which has ever been the bar sinister to a fallen man’s self-redemption. The paper is entirely dependent on the public for its financial support. If at any time there should accrue a surplus of funds, the money would be expended in the Interests of the prison library. ALL PERSONS receiving copies of THE MIRROR who are not on on r regular lists will please consider such as sample copies. If, after reading, you conclude that THE MIRROR Is worthy of patronage send your name to this office for a trial subscription at rates as published above. To cultivate good traits is the surest road to enrich character. The man who always performs his work in a “I don’t care” manner, is generally the man who is continually looking for a position. It looks as though there was something radi cally wrong with our judicial system. This institu tion now contains several mere boys who should have been sentenced to the reform school. One of them is a trifle over sixteen years of age, and is serv ing an eight year sentence. This year, like every other presidential year, the laboring man learns of the great number of friends he has among the politicians. But, unlike other years, they are not as big chumps as they were then. This year they are going to cast an honest ballot even if they have to rattle the stones in hades to do so. A promise made is honor pledged, and to break it is to weaken the entire structure of character. Confidence between man and man rests on the be lief that promises will be fulfilled. The surest way to establish a good name, gain respect and show love of principle and honor, is to faithfully keep every promise made, even though embarrassment and loss may result. The cruelties that are being practiced upon the Chinese by Russian troops, will certainly cause the former to have a poor opinion of our civilization. From the actions of the Czar’s troops in China one is led to believe that each soldier carries with him a manual on modern cruelty. This is not right. But what else can we expect from a country that denies the right of free speech to its own subjects? When we cross the border line of evil we un consciously drag in our train all who respect us, all who love us and all who look with deep interest on the course of our future. The obligations that make us morally responsible for the happiness, character and future of those whom we are the natural pro tectors, should be strictly held uppermost in mind when the momentous step is taken that involves so much in its consequences. At these moments the present, future and consequences are all forgotten. The full penalty of a single crime can never be known and never expressed. The wrong-doer him self, suffer though he may, usually causes others to share his misery and help atone for his crime. This is universally acknowledged and is one of the sad dest sides of the life of those who have been im mured in a penitentiary. In every person there resides a latent energy that needs but the inspiration of a great occasion to arouse it to action. Men never realize the extent of their powers until the necessity of an emergency impels them to gather together the full strength of their abilities for an unusual effort. Many people when confronted with a difficulty will begin asking themselves how somebody else would overcome it — somebody whom they have been in the habit of look ing upon as a genius, but who relies solely on his natural abilities and who has the force of character to push them to the utmost. The way to succeed is in the attempt, and when made and repeated success is but a matter of time. True success lies in origi nality. Those who imitate are those who follow. They know not their usefulness, but waste their energy in waiting for others to show them the way. NOTICE. “It was regarded as a great triumph won for human liberty a couple of centuries ago, when the principle was established that all trials of persons accused of crimes and misdemeanors must be held with open doors. The famous “Star Chamber” court of the Stuarts was typical of tyranny. But years of ex perience under free institutions have revealed the fact that in a very large number of cases a trial in open court has a hardening and degrading influence on the persons accused, and that with young people of previous good character some choice might well be allowed as to whether the trial should be open to the public or conducted in the presence only of the court officials, the necessary witnesses and attorneys. The latter view has obtained in the conduct of the special court established about a year ago in Buffalo for the trial of juvenile offenders. One of the first acts of the present police justice was to announce that children would be tried behind closed doors. No protest appears to have been raised, and the plan is said to have been most successful.”—Pioneer Press. If such trials have proven beneficial in the case of juvenile offenders, why not include others within its scope? In the case of divorce and other question able criminal trials, it should work equally as well. Very few would have the hardihood to object to di vorce trials being held behind closed doors. We not only believe that it would be wise to prohibit the public from attending divorce trials, but also from allowing the proceedings to reach them through the medium of the press. Next Sunday will be observed throughout this state by the various clergymen who will speak to their congregations on matters pertaining to the care of prisons, prisoners and reformation. In order that they may be fully conversant with their subject, the secretary of the state board of charities and cor rections has sent them literature bearing on this topic. Prison Sunday is observed once a year and has been in force for only a few years. During that period these special services have swept away thou sands of erroneous illusions in regard to the prisoner. Although where these sermons are only thought of once a year, it looks something like dropping a small pebble into a well once a year hoping that it will be filled some day. This is only too horribly true of gome localities. In others, however, they may be received with due consideration and given serious thought. On the other hand there are thousands of persons who, on hearing of such matters, will in stantly feel like snubbing the minister and his wife for daring to broach such a subject. In this state, as in many others, many seem to have various conflicting mythical ideas in regard to a prisoner and how he should be treated. These sermons can materially assist in enlightening them along these lines and acquaint them with the fact that prisoners differ not one iota from those who are enjoying the blessings of liberty. Many also look upon them with a feeling akin to fear. This latter class will be reconciled with difficulty to any extenu ating facts which any one may point out to them. REFORMS THAT DO NOT REFORM We have recently learned that the officials of the Trenton, New Jersey, penitentiary have prohib ited newspapers from entering that institution. Ex ceptions are made, however, to religious periodicals that can furnish a bona fide diploma as to their gen uineness. This is drawing the line rather too fine. Prison officials make a grave mistake when they en deavor to place their prisoners on a too high pedestal. Such an action is entirely uncalled for. We believe that if the question was left to the decision of any religious body in these United States, that they would vote against prohibiting prisoners having out side papers. They would object to such a radical measure, not because it is a revival of inquisition methods, but because it is unprogressive and helps to foster ignorance. Any attempt to turn a prison into a seminary cannot help being a most dismal failure. These prison officials have, no doubt, given this subject serious thought and are under the impression that the prisoners will be benefited by it. If they have arrived at such a conclusion they will soon learn that they have taken a very unwise step. They will also find out —and to their sorrow —that they have made to order as fine a lot of hypocrites and gibbering, jejune Christians as anyone would want to see. In making the above assertion we are not casting any aspersions upon th e religious press. This is far from our purpose. We wish to point out the danger of such a procedure—a procedure that is trying to force religion under pressure. The greater part of pris oners in any penitentiary already belong to some church, and when they fully realize how thoroughly they are being prevented from keeping abreast of the times, their Christianity will be sorely tried. In dealing with prisoners it is much better to act natural with them and treat them as human be ings. Fanatical measures may be all right where severe punishment is desired, but to promulgate them as the acme of reform they will prove abortive. PRISON SUNDAY. A FEW PERTINENT THATS. That if you have a bad temper, don’t be a fool and lose it. That a revengeful person ruins himself if given time enough. That one can always get rid of a bit of gossip, even if it is a bit stale, That adversities are an excellent thing to put starch into a man’s backbone. That back of almost every wrong action jealousy or greed will be found to exist. That Kentucky seems to have more colonels than a potato patch has potato bugs. That the more trusts there are formed, the less honest men there will be in the world. That if silence was really golden, many of us prisoners would soon be wearing diamonds as big as soup plates. That the man who takes too many whisky straights during the day will find himself going crooked in the evening. That the young man who falls in love with a girl that loves a poodle dog, is adding another number to the population of idiots. That when a young man begins sowing his wild oats, he don’t seem to realize what a hard row he has to hoe before getting in the crop. That those who take delight in playing with the sensitive feelings of another, should be held to a strict accountability for that man’s actions. That it makes little difference where we are, we always remain in possession of the faculties that enables us to distinguish between right and wrong. That all the first-class politicians that are touring the country seem to be bothered with a sore throat. This looks as though the Lord was with the people. That the Sultan of Sulu says that he doesn’t know why he i& drawing a pension, but supposes that this country was used to throw ing money away at the dogs. That it is very evident the Creator did not intend that we should walk a pathway strewn with thorns. If He did no doubt there would be a much larger supply of them. That the man who makes enemies in fighting for good principles, ought to-be thankful that he is rid of them. Such a class are only an incumberance in any stage of life. That kindness, like sunshine, should be scattered on the just and unjust alike, but there are many who find it an impossibility to do so. And we can’t blame them, neither. That a man over in Wisconsin claims to have killed a snake four teen feet long. If he had taken another forty drops no doubt he would have made it thirty feet long. That the “rings” that are awakening many voters to a full re alization of their responsibility as American citizens at the present time, is the ring of the almighty dollar. That a prisoner in an eastern penitentiary, and who is a staunch Republican, says “that if he didn’t have a streak of yellow in his make-up, he might become reconciled to the gold standard of the gold bugs.” That although Sir Thomas Lipton has succeeded in getting a corner on hogs, there is still a large number of “hogs” at large. How ever Sir Thomas is too much of a gentleman to attempt to get a cor ner on them. That we learn that a church is to be built in the fashionable quarter of New York that will have a’ceiling inlaid with gold coins. This is very appropriate, for when they lift their eyes heavenward they can worship King Mammon instead of God. That in one of the “roorbacks” the Republican campaign com mittee are sending out they “frankly” state “that some of the binder twine sent out runs short 400 feet to the ball.” If this was true the farmers would hardly have enough twine left per ball to make a watch chain with. That there is a gentleman in New York who says that he won’t touch another drop of liquor until Teddy and Mack are safely en sconced in the White House. It certainly looks as though he is going to miss his four fingers every morning. The temperance people may just as well send him a blue ribbon. Written for The Prison Mirror. A CRITIC REVIEWS “HERBERT SEVERANCE.” “Herbert Severance” is the title of the very interesting novel that reached my den a few days ago. The author, M. French Sheldon, has a way of introducing the divisions of the plot in a manner decidedly novel. But the difficulty of reconciling the period of events noted in certain chapters with others preceding is thereby greatly enhanced. The author’s purpose, I take it, was to exemplify the fallacy of staking one’s future by various intimacy with a person in public life, whose parentage and character is unknown to you, save such as might be inferred by their professional skill and the public’s compliment therefore. The novel opens in the midst of a homily in which Herbert Severance and his nephew, Richard Drysdale, are parties; and though this discourse is rather verbose, if not tedious to the reader, you be come fully compensated by happy surprises in the chapters following. Four chapters are thus devoted, together with a vivid description of the immediate surroundings and the emotions of the participants, ere you read the groundwork of the story. The book throughout is replete with the choicest language and with diction par excellence. In this light it is a study in itself, and is the first feature that commends itself to the reader. BY BASHFUL BILL. Rudolph.