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About The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 10, 1901)
6 'Che Conservative *
cnl record which contains the imrao of
every inmate , the date of their admis
sion , their residence , and a multitude
of facts relating to their history and
that of their family. This book is so
arranged as to enow the subsequent his
tory of the person while in the institu
tion and his death , parole , release , dis
charge , as the case may be. Appro
priate blanks corresponding to these
books are furnished the institution and
upon these all the information is con
veyed to the board when it is from time
lo time entered in a like record kept in
the office of the board. These statistical
books and blanks are alike for the same
kind of institutions. We thus have a
reasonably full history in our ofiice of
eveiy inmate in a state institution un
der the control of this board.
Other Hooks licquiroil to bo Kept and
Reports Which Must ho Made.
At each institution a book is required
to be kept which is called a "Complaint
Record. " In it all complaints made by
inmates , officers , or outsiders touching
the management of the instilution must
be entered , with the action taken there
on by the chief executive officer. Monthly
reports of these cases are made to this
board. At the hospitals for the insane
and the penitentiaries there is required
to bo kept what is called a "Mechanical
Restraint Record , " wherein must be
entered a memoranda of each case where
restraint has been applied , the character
of the restraint , the duration , cause
thereof , and its effect.
At the penitentiaries and Industrial
Schools , records are required to be kept
of all cases of punishment by means of
mechanical restraint or otherwise for in
fractions of the rules. In all the above
cases monthly reports must be made to
the board upon blanks provided for
that purpose. From time to time each
institution must report its dietary in
detail , showing the number of persons
fed , quality of every article used , cost
of same , and list per capita per meal ,
per day , and per week. Every quarter
each institution must report the condi
tion of fire escapes and fire appartus ,
showing the result of tests made by fire
apparatus and wherein same is defective.
Other Mutters of Interest.
All books and blanks used at the var
ious institutions in carrying out the sys
tem adopted are furnished through the
board and the cost apportioned to the
several institutions ; in this way only
can uniformity be secured.
No new building or improvement can
can be erected or made which is to cost
over $800.00 except on competitive bids.
The board appoints an architect who
receives a salary of $8000.00 and rail
road fare , and who is required to pre
pare plans and estimates for all new
buildings and improvements and look
after the construction of the work.
Plans are prepared by him for all pro-
posed new buildings for which appro
priations arc to be asked from the legis
lature , also estimates of their cost.
These are laid before the proper com
mittees for consideration. Formerly
the legislature was besieged by all the
superintendents , and many of the trus
tees of the institutions who formed a
formidable lobby for appropriations.
Now the needs of the institutions are
presented by the board and the superin
tendents devote their time to attending
to their respective institution duties.
The chief executive officer of each in
stitution , except the wardens of the
penitentiaries and the commandant of
the Soldiers' Home , draws food supplies
for himself and all members of his
family xinder twenty-one years of age ,
from the institution stoies , and he is
not permitted to purchase with state
funds any articles of food not bought
In supplies we buy the best flour and
meats obtainable. Fresh beef must be
from native steers weighing when
dressed from 600 to 800 pounds each.
Great care is taken to have all goods of
good quality , and the chief executive
officer is made the sole judge as to
whether articles furnished comply in all
respects with the specifications.
Fire companies are organized and
drilled at several of the institutions.
All officers and employees having the
custody of state property are required
to give bond. All officers and employees
except the chief executive and except
those employed on the farms or in shops
are required to be uniformed. This
conduces greatly to discipline and indi
cates at. once to the stranger those who
are clothed with authority.
Semi annual visits are made by the
entire board to all institutions , and some
member of the board visits the hospitals
every month. Thus by visitation , by
reports , by checks , by daily correspon
dence does the board keep in touch with
the affairs at the several institutions.
It is the policy of the board to promote
capable and efficient officers to the posi
tions of chief executive officers as vacan
cies may occur.
This system of control has now been
in operation for more than two and a
half years and has proven very satis
factory. It has resulted in paying
women nurses and attendants the same
wages as men receive for like service ;
in improving the character of the ser
vice ; in bettering the condition of the
institutions ; in elevating the standard
of care afforded to inmates. All this
has been accomplished , notwithstand
ing the fact that the legislature , just
before we took up the work , reduced
the per capita allowance for support of
inmates in the aggregate sum of $100,000
per year , and the further fact that nearly
all of the time since the law has been in
operation , the market price of many
commodities has been steadily advan
cing. Over $100,000.00 which the board
might have drawn for support of in
mates remains in the state treasury un
In his last report , the treasurer of
state computes the decrease in cost of
operating the institutions under the con
trol of this board during the first year ,
as compared with the cost of the pre
vious year "under the trustee system at
$870,490.78 or twenty-six and nine-tenths
per cent. " * * * "This saving , it is
fair to presume , was not the result of
unwise economics that were detrimental
to the institutions. The character of
the members of the board of Control is
a sufficient guarantee that such was not
the case. They have been the fruits of
the application of business principles
and methods in the conduct of the four
teen institutions under the board. "
In the last sentence the treasurer has
struck the key note as to how this board
has been able to make such a large sav
ing to the state , and at the same time
improve the conditions at the institution.
I trust that the foregoing may enable
your readers to form some idea of our
law and the methods employed in en
Very truly yours ,
L. G. KINNE.
Chmn. Board of Control.
Des Moines , Iowa.
AN APPOINTIVE JUDICIARY.
EDITOR CONSERVATIVE :
Recently I read your brief argument
favoring the practice of an appointive
If you will examine authorities , at
random , in the reports of courts of last
resort , I think that you will find that
the decisions of elective judges carry the
greater weight. The judges proper to
the District of Columbia are appointed
by the president and are high-salaried ,
yefc they are generally very inferior men ,
and low grade lawyers. Who ever
heard of their decisions as authority for
any other court to follow ?
Even the supreme court of the United
States has very few lawyers of high
ability and attainments , and is growing
weaker and weaker as time goes. Per
haps it is because the men are too old
when appointed. To make it elective ,
say ten or twelve year terms , and put it
on a selected reservation , away from
Washington , would doubtless improve
it and its work. I recall ex-Senator and
ex-Attorney-General Garland's con
temptuous allusions to it , "dozing and
belching" through arguments.
POSEY S. WILSON.
Chicago , 111.
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