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April 8, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(14):1122-1123. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02500410046013

The Journal has called attention repeatedly to the evils existing in our state prisons where contract labor has been abolished by law. There is no place where rational employment is more necessary to mental and bodily health than in state prisons, and a penitentiary sentence without it may be equivalent to the infliction of hopeless insanity as a punishment for any kind of felony. The law does not contemplate this, but that is often the practical result. It has been proposed in the state of Illinois, in order to meet the conditions brought about by the laws enacted at the instance of labor organizations, to employ the inmates of the penitentiary in certain public works, such as improvement of the highways, etc. This would involve the necessity of transporting the convicts to their places of labor and probably the establishment of convict camps at various points throughout the state. So