STATE INSTITUTIONS GOVERNED BY THE BOARD OF CONTROL
The financial statistics which accompany the following sketches show only the appropriations made by the legislature. Except in the case of the penitentiary, no complete statistics of the earnings of the several institutions are recorded. Consequently the per capita expenditures prior to 1913 are computed from the legislative appropriations for maintenance, an item which included everything except appropriations for buildings and land. Beginning with 1913 the legislative appropriations for maintenance, are not itemized, and the admirable system of accounting instituted by the board of control arrives at the per capita expenditure by an inclusion of much more than the amount of the legislative appropriation in the case of institutions which produce, or collect revenue. The legislature appropriates the "cash funds" of the several institutions in addition to the specific sums mentioned in the appropriations.
Warden--W. T. Fenton,
Deputy Warden--N. T. Harmon
Chief Clerk and Principal of School--James O'Connell
Steward--W. A. Kirby
Physician--I. C. Munger. M. D.
Chaplain--F. A. Maxwell
Handicraft Furniture Company
Manager--L. M. Eastman
The first territorial act concerning the penitentiary, after the adoption of the criminal code of Iowa in 1855, was that approved January 22, 1856, naming a board of commissioners to locate a penitentiary within one mile of the public square in Tekamah, Burt county. Am act approved February 13, 1857, named a new set of commissioners to locate the institution. The legislature of 1859, as a part of the criminal code, provided that convicts should be kept in county jails until a territorial penitentiary should be erected. An act approved January 6, 1860, authorized the territorial governor to "contract with the proper authorities of any of the states of the Union having a penitentiary or state prison, for the confinement of Nebraska convicts." In joint resolutions approved January 7, 1860 and January 4, 1861, the legislature memorialized congress for an appropriation to build a penitentiary at or near Bellevue, Sarpy county. Again in a joint resolution the legislature made this petition, asking for $40,000. Another petition for an appropriation for a penitentiary in the territory, without reference to location, was approved February 12, 1864. This petition asked for $100,000.
The criminal code of 1866 provided for the confinement of convicts in the county jails of the territory, and an act approved February 18, 1867, made an appropriation of $3,000 for the support of the territorial convicts, the jailers not to receive more than fifty cents a day for boarding each prisoner. In his message of January 8, 1869, Governor Butler stated that prisoners were in county jails, and that a penitentiary was very much needed.
On March 3, 1870, a joint resolution of the legislature created a joint committee to draft a bill providing for the "immediate concentration, care and keeping of the state convicts." On the following day, March 4, 1870, a bill providing for the erection of a penitentiary at or near Lincoln was approved. A board of three inspectors elected by the legislature had the management of the penitentiary, the warden, only, being appointed by the governor. The state received grants of land amounting to 32,000 acres from the United States for a penitentiary, and the inspectors were directed to sell the lands and place the funds so derived in the treasury,
The inspectors were required to concentrate persons under sentence at or near Lincoln in a temporary penitentiary. They were also required to put the prisoners "at work upon the. public buildings and in stone quarries for the use and benefit of the state, for the hours specified in their respective sentences." The inspectors were also authorized to "hire out or contract the labor upon the best terms that call be obtained." The temporary penitentiary was ready for the occupancy of thirty-seven convicts in July, 1870.
The contract for the permanent buildings was let on June 13, 1870, to Stout and Jamison, who employed the prisoners at forty-two cents a day each. The buildings were erected on land which Judge Hilton and W. T. Donavan donated to the state for that purpose. An act approved March 9 1871, made further provisions concerning the sale of the lands, and the extension of the contractor's limit for the completion of the building. An act of March 9, 1871, granted prisoners a deduction from the time of sentence for good behavior.
On March 20, 1871, it was provided that the rents and revenues and profits derived from the leasing of the penitentiary shops, grounds and convict labor * * * shall be paid into the state treasury and shall be held by the treasurer for the care and support of state prisoners."
The legislature of 1873, through a special committee of the house, investigated the penitentiary and failed to find any serious criticism of the contractor's work. An act approved February 24, 1873, levied, a tax of one-half mill on the grand assessment roll of the state for 1873 and 1874 for the penitentiary building fund. A supplemental act made a one mill levy for the years 1875 and 1876. An act of February 19, 1877, transferred the balance remaining in this fund to the sinking fund.
The constitution of 1875 placed the penitentiary under the control of the board of public lands and buildings. On October 1, 1877, this board entered into a six-year contract with W. H. B. Stout, who was to pay all the "Expense necessarily incurred in the maintenance of the prison, including the board and clothing of the convicts, and the salaries of all the officers and guards," for which he received from the state the labor of the convicts and sixty cents a day per capita for each convict for two years, and fifty-five cents and fifty cents a day per capita, respectively, for the succeeding terms of two years each. By an act approved February 26, 1879, this contract was extended for an additional six years from October 1, 1883, provided the contractor should build a cell-house of specified size and quality, and should receive only forty-five cents in cash, or its equivalent, a day for each convict for the first three years of the extended lease, and forty cents a day for each convict for the second three years of this lease, and provided that, after the first day of January, 1880, there should be one cell for each and every Nebraska prisoner, and that after January 1, 1884, only Nebraska prisoners should be kept at the penitentiary. The legislature of 1883 passed an act permitting the keeping of other than Nebraska convicts until 1889. During 1883 to 1889 the lessee employed convicts in the erection of the state capitol, for which he had the contract.
The legislature of 1887 extended the lessee's contract for ten years from October 1, 1889. W. H. B. Stout had assigned and transferred his contract to, C. W. Mosher. It was stipulated that Mosher was to receive forty cents a day cash, for each convict, in full compensation. The employment of convicts in the manufacture of cigars, brick, or the cutting of stone, except for use at the penitentiary, was forbidden.
A special investigating committee of the legislature of 1895 strongly advocated the abolition of the contract with the lessee. Accordingly, an "act to annul a contract between the state of Nebraska and W. H. Dorgan, alleged assignee of C. W. Mosher," was approved April 11, 1895. The entire appropriation of $35,000 was exhausted in the culmination of this annulment. In spite of this legislative action, the board of public lands and buildings proceeded to make another contract, over the protest of Governor Holcomb, who caused the matter to be submitted to the supreme court. The court decided that the board had exceeded its authority and that the attempt to lease the prison and the labor of the con-
victs was illegal. The legislature of 1897 passed a general act governing the penitentiary, which made it the duty of the warden, subject to the approval of the governor and the board of public lands and buildings, to provide employment for the convicts and to contract out the labor of such as he had no employment for.
In general, the industries maintained by the subcontractors in the penitentiary have been the making of buttons, brooms, trunks, barrels, chairs, machinery and harness.
By an act approved April 13, 1915, the board of control was empowered and required to "provide labor for the prisoners and keep them employed as far as possible for the. greatest profit to the state and the general welfare and health of the prisoners." Services of prisoners may be let to counties, cities, villages, and other state institutions within the state, but not to any individual, firm or corporation within or without the penitentiary unless it is otherwise impossible for the board to keep all the prisoners busy. The only commercial enterprise now being carried on within the penitentiary is the manufacture of handicraft furniture. This is a state undertaking. Prisoners have been employed at road making in various parts of the state. The penitentiary farm and shoe shop employ many of the prisoners. The law provides for the payment of wages to prisoners.
The legislature of 1893 empowered the governor to parole prisoners. The legislature of 1911 created the prison board to handle the paroling of convicts. An appropriation was made by the legislature of 1913, to build a reformatory to which certain classes of convicted persons are to be sent, but the board of control considered the establishment of such an institution unnecessary. The legislature of 1913 provided for a night school for prisoners, and for a grading of prisoners with reference to character and conduct. Only three times in the history of this institution have serious mutinies occurred--on January 11 and May 26, 1875, and March 14, 1912.
A constitutional amendment of November, 1912, vested the government of the penitentiary in the board of control of state institutions. Another amendment adopted September 21, 1920, lodged the power of pardon and parole in a board consisting of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
PARDONS. COMMUTATIONS AND PAROLES OF PRISONERS, 1867-1918
Governor Pardons Commutations Paroles
13 ...... ......
2 ...... ......
David Butler (W. H. James acting)
...... ...... ......
Robert W. Furnas
27 ...... ......
7 11 ......
10 12 ......
...... ...... ......
1 ...... ......
James W. Dawes
1 ...... ......
James W. Dawes
5 ...... ......
John M. Thayer
7 13 ......
John M. Thayer
8 14 ......
John M. Thayer (acting)
8 23 ......
James E. Boyd
3 16 ......
23 39 831
Silas A. Holcomb
3 37 62
William A. Poynter
...... 28 76
(C. H. Dietrich) Ezra P. Savage
...... 38 78
John H. Mickey
2 7 54
John H. Mickey
7 26 104
George L. Sheldon
7 15 41
A. C. Shallenberger
14 5 113
Chester H. Aldrich
29 9 1382
John H. Morehead (July 1)
1 1 2453
John H. Morehead
2 3 420
2 11 4724
182 308 1,886
1The first parole act in Nebraska hears, date April 10, 1893, and empowers the governor to parole any prisoner who has served the minimum term provided by law for his first offense (except for murder in first or second degree), and anyone serving for murder in first or second degree who has served twenty-five full years.
2State prison board act of April 7, 1911, provided for a board of three persons appointed by the governor, removable by him for misconduct, incompetence or neglect of duty. This board had power to establish rules and regulations for parole of prisoners In the penitentiary, who had served minimum sentence fixed by law. This act regaled the first parole law of 1893.
31913-14: 7 transferred to asylum, 6 on temporary leave.
4Includes furloughed and deported.
The above table computed from governor's messages and reports of prison warden.