Twenty-Eighth Annual Report of the Commissioners of Prisons of Massachusetts... for the Year Ending September 30, 1898. (Public Document No. 13. January, 1899.)
January, 1899. 1. Report Concerning The State Prison 2. Report Concerning The Reformatory Prison For Women 3. Report Concerning The Massachusetts Reformatory 4. Report Concerning The Jails And Houses Of Correction 5. Statistics Of All Prisons Of Arrests And Of Probation 6. Tabular Statements Of Criminal Prosecutions 7. Recommendations And Suggestions.
Brown cloth 8vo, 280pp. Good with mottling and abrasion to the boards, small cracks/holes to cloth at joints, 1-inch split at bottom. A brief tidemark affects the foredge of the last 8 pages, contents otherwise clean, binding firm. Inscribed "Compliments of James H. Mellen" on the flyleaf, who served many years in the MA House of Representatives and crusaded against the dubious morality of moving pictures, particularly their portrayal of loose women and glamorization of crime.
A portrait in statistics, the report on the women's prison is a particularly jarring inventory of women's crimes against chastity (lewdness, fornication, participating in immoral show) and public order (stubbornness, keeping a disorderly house). Lists of pardons from both men's and women's prisons documenting who had been "sufficiently punished." In more than one case, this referring to teenagers imprisoned for running away from home. Minnie Norwell served one of her two-years, "She was but fifteen years when sentenced, and had a good reputation, aside from the fact that her mother was unable to control her." The report also covers updates to prison labor law, which that year included the abolition of prison contract labor for private companies--with an exception for umbrellas.