September 18, 1909


No Longer May Favored Ones Have
Delicacies at Table, But Must
Masticate Prison Fare --
Guard Discharged.

The board of pardons and paroles took occasion yesterday to issue its first orders governing the future conduct of affairs at the workhouse. the new orders, or rules, were submitted by Secretary L. A. Halbert and approved by the board. They are taken from rules governing houses of correction in Chicago, Ill., Cleveland, O., Elmira, N. Y., and Boston, Mass.

"General order No. 1, section 1," reads" "At no time will cigarettes, cigarette tobacco or papers be permitted in the workhouse, and the smoking of these harmful things by both men and women prisoners must absolutely be prohibited."

Section 2 permits the men prisoners to have chewing and smoking tobacco, but pipes must be used.

Section 3 puts a ban on food, fruit and delicacies being sent in to prisoners by persons on the outside. that custom has been in vogue here ever since there was a workhouse, and the board is informed that this is the only city that permits it. Hardly a day passes that baskets or packages of food or fruit are not received for prisoners. Joseph Mackey is one prisoner who, it is said, does not know what workhouse "grub" tastes like. All his meals come from the outside.


"Prisoners are not allowed to have food in their cells," explained President William Volker, "consequently it was placed on the dining table for them. It is not fair to have a few eating choice viands while the majority of prisoners have to look on. Prison fare is as good for one as another, and should be part of the punishment."

Secretary Halbert was for abolishing tobacco in any form. He never uses tobacco. Neither of the male members of the board are tobacco users but they, with Mrs. Kate Pierson, compromised on abolishing cigarettes. Prisoners will also be permitted to send out for candy, chewing gum and a small amount of fruit which they may have in their cells.

Hereafter prisoners will not be permitted to carry any money or jewelry into their cells with them. Deposits will be made with the clerk. If a prisoner sends out for any of the permitted "luxuries" he will have to give an order on the clerk for the amount and that will be charged against his account.

The board also is working on rules governing the conduct of guards and other employes at the workhouse. they have not been completed. A resolution discharging Joseph Etzel, a guard, was adopted. A prisoner complained that Etzel had abused him. This is the second time the board has dropped Etzel. The first order appeared to have no effect as he kept on working.

During the recent work house investigation Etzel was accused of attempting to intimidate a witness for the board. he was peremptorily ordered dropped. Why he retained his place no one on the board was able to explain. The ordinance giving the board charge of the workhouse gives it the right to hire and discharge guards. It was said yesterday that Etzel is "out for good" this time or the board will know the reason why. When Superintendent Cornelius Murphy informed Etzel that he had been discharged the guard went before the board.


"I haven't done nothing to nobody or violated no rules here and I demand to know why I'm fired," he demanded.

"We don't think you have the proper influence in a place like this," Mr. Voelker informed him.

"My influence is as good as any of 'em," stated Etzel, proudly. "I have as good backing as the best."

"I am not speaking of political influence," replied the president. "We do not consider you a fit man for the place. I do not care to discuss this matter with you further."

Another guard, who was reported to have been involved in a romance with one of the girl prisoners, a sewing machine girl, was called in to explain. He denied being in love and insisted he had made no arrangements to pay the woman's fine. He was told to return to duty.

Five male prisoners and one woman were ordered paroled yesterday. Several applications were deferred until further investigation could be made.

The board made a rule that a prisoner could not receive visitors until they had been there fifteen days. After that the relatives may visit on Sundays only.