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MAINTENANCE OF AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT
Mr. ROONEY. What is this item of $145,000 for maintenance of average employment?
Mr. BENNETT. That is to reimburse the cost of in-grade pay increases, Ramspeck increases. This is a standard operation, this maintenance of average employment. That is a budget term and actually what the money is for is to take care of the in-grade pay increases.
Mr. Rooney. How many people at how much?
Mr. BENNETT. I do not know. There are a lot of people who get that. This is part of the turnover problem. Our turnover is about 2 percent a year and this is the amount over and above the amount saved by bringing people in at the bottom of the grade.
Mr. ROONEY. How many recreation officers do you have at the present time?
Mr. BENNETT. All told, everywhere?
Mr. BENNETT. There might be a custodial officer who assists them at times. He is the man who runs our physical education program in the various institutions.
Mr. Rooney. These two that you request at a cost of $14,000 would be assigned to institutions where you already have a recreational officer; is that right?
Mr. BENNETT. Yes, sir.
SUPERVISORY CHAPLAIN AND SECRETARY
Mr. ROONEY. What is this item for two people, supervisory chaplain and secretary at $16,000?
Mr. BENNETT. We have no chaplain in Washington now who is responsible for maintaining contact with our institutional chaplains, of which I guess there are 41 full time. In addition to that, Mr. Chairman, there are a number of part time chaplains. This is a matter you have taken a good deal of interest in. We think they are in need of help and guidance at the central office. The denomination of the chaplain would be determined by rotation. We would take a chaplain we have in one of the institutions at present, bring him to Washington for a tour of duty and then bring somebody else in of a different denomination.
It has proved very helpful and very useful to members of our service, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Rooney. Tell us about this correctional program officer, GS-13, $11,000.
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Chairman, before I leave this other item, I brought with me a letter signed by a long-time inmate who sent me a postcard at Christmas and I have had some correspondence with him. I complimented him for making good. He had a bad record. He said,
In 1939, a preacher in Leavenworth made a statement I have never forgotten. It has played an important part in my life. In fact, it has kept me on the straight and narrow. "It is better to be satisfied with what you do have and keep your freedom than to be dissatisfied with what you do not have and lose it." Our chaplains are used for counseling the inmates.
Mr. Rooney. This new one you are going to have and the secretary in Washington would hardly be heard from by that prisoner, would they?
Mr. BENNETT. He might be heard from.
Mr. ROONEY. You would let him out and have him come to Washington ?
Mr. BENNETT. No, we would not let him out.
Mr. ROONEY. We used to have trouble getting you to assign a chaplain to various institutions. I see you have been converted.
Mr. BENNETT. Perhaps I am making progress as I grow older.
Mr. ROONEY. Going back to your prepared statement I want to inquire about page 4 thereof, where you said, “We have, however, had a number of minor instances, largely due to the influx of aggressive and race conscious groups, including a considerable number of socalled Muslims."
What do you mean by that?
COLORED MUSLIMS IN PRISON POPULATION
Mr. BENNETT. They are a group of colored people who belong to what they call the Muslims. They believe in the ultimate dominance of the colored race. They are a very aggressive type and they are the group, for instance, that recently raised the altercation at the United Nations. They are a very aggressive, hate-conscious group. We have had a great deal of difficulty with them, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROONEY. How many of them do you have in the prison institutions?
Mr. BENNETT. I suppose 300 all told.
Mr. BENNETT. You bet your life they cause a lot of trouble, a small group of them ganging up, fighting, pushing other people around.
Mr. ROONEY. What incidents have you had?
Mr. BENNETT. We have had some strong-arm punch-outs, so-called, out in Terre Haute this last year. We have had a number of efforts of one prisoner to knife another prisoner because he would not join up with the group.
I have been in the business a long time and I have never met a more aggressive, hostile group. They refuse to acknowledge anything from the white man or refuse to accept any kind of leadership from our officers. They are antiauthoritarian in every way possible.
Warden Wilkinson has had a good deal of experience with them. He was warden at Lewisburg and he can give you instance after instance of that, I am sure.
Mr. WILKINSON. Mr. Chairman, I would say that the most difficulty they have caused has been in grouping together. Any group that becomes troublesome in that way, they impose their will and influence on others and sometimes are a pretty strong force in influencing the person of low IQ or almost illiterate. That is especially true of some of the young Negroes from the Deep South whom they call on.
That was the biggest difficulty we had in recent years in Atlanta. About 2 years ago, we had several serious gangs of tħese Muslims and we were able finally to break them up and surmount it, but it is still a continuing problem.
Mr. Rooney. How many did you have in Lewisburg, when you were there, at one time?
Mr. WilkinsOn. At the time I was at Lewisburg as warden, the Muslims had not come into the picture quite as strongly, although I should say we had 35 to 40 at that time.
When I was in Atlanta in recent years, 1958, we must have had about 30 to 35, and aggressive ones, but we had a lot of others on the fringe with whom they would hold meetings. They would seduce them, so to speak, and propagandize yard activities, in the cellhouses, and in other places. That was our principal difficulty, to dilute that or to counteract this influence. Most of the group who exerted the influence were from Chicago and the Detroit area.
Mr. Rooney. What sort of criminals are they, generally speaking ? Can you categorize them?
Mr. Wilkinson. They are bad-check people, steal from mailboxes, forge Government checks, if possible, and the greatest number is in that group. A very few, very few, are impersonators. Occasionally, some get into robberies near military reservations. The military has quite a number of them. They gamble and steal from each other, rob, and finally filter in to us.
Mr. Rooney. How many military prisoners do you now have?
Mr. BENNETT. A few of them, yes. Practically all of the military prisoners we receive now are those who, for one reason or another, cannot be taken care of in Army disciplinary barracks. We get the tough, difficult cases.
I might say further about the Muslims, they are alleged to be Communists. It is a frequent charge made about them and what truth there is in it, I am not sure that I know, but I can tell you this: They are
re an extremely difficult group and they have an organized head of the group. I do not know whether they call it a church, but the head of the association is in Pittsburgh. I have forgotten what his name is.
Mr. WILKINSON. Elijah Mohammed.
Mr. BENNETT. The reason they get into our institutions is that they have committed some crime of violence.
Mr. Rooney. That is all we have ever had with them in Brooklyn, crimes of violence amongst one another.
Mr. BENNETT. And against a white man.
Of course, you must distinguish between these people and the sincere Moslem people who are Moslems by religion. These are not true Moslems but they are Muslims. They believe that they are descendants of the lost tribe of Abraham.
Mr. Rooney. These are the fellows with names ending in “bey."
Mr. BENNETT. Yes. They will not accept a white man's name. None of them are named Johnson, Brown, Bennett, or other English sounding names. They all have a special name and that is one of the tenets of their religion. They say that their name is inherited from slave days, so they will not go by it.
OPERATIONS IMPROVEMENT STAFF
Mr. Rooney. The next is an interesting item entitled Operations Improvement Staff and consists of six more people in the amount of $43,000. They will do what you have told us over all the years you have been doing?
Mr. BENNETT. I know, but the place is growing. These are really inspectors, Congressman.
Mr. Rooney. The growth has not been so much, has it?
Mr. BENNETT. It has grown a lot, I will tell you that. It has grown from a population of 16,000 in 1945 to a population of 24,000. Mr. ROONEY. What year did
Mr. ROONEY. What will these people do outside of this nice scenario on pages 28–14 and 28–15?
Mr. BENNETT. Looking at the problems of economic utilization of our supplies and personnel.
They are going out to see whether or not the officers are performing up to standard. One of the things is that we have an increasing program
Mr. Rooney. This is an inspection corps ?
Mr. BENNETT. An inspection corps largely, although they are also going to help us with the training of our personnel officers, check up on accounting matters in which the inmates' funds are used. We can save the price of those fellows if we can improve the relationship between ourselves and the marshals and the designations of the institutions to which particular types of offenders should go
Mr. Rooney. In connection with this population increase request of $260,000. I should like to ask, what was the prison population as of the last available date?
Mr. BENNETT. On February 1, Mr. Chairman, it was 23,362. On February 23, it was 23,435.
As you recall, our appropriation this year was based on an average of 23,100 and the budget as it appears before you is based on our population of 23,500, which I think is completely unrealistic. That is the manner in which it was submitted.
Mr. ROONEY. What effect, if any, will the reduction in number of criminal cases, as reported to us by the Judiciary and the Department of Justice, have on the population in the coming fiscal year?
Mr. BENNETT. Probably not very much, Mr. Chairman, because, as I understand it, the reduction is rather slight.
Secondly, and most importantly, our population is determined, not alone on the intake, but upon the average sentence. That is, the average amount of time they spend in the institution.
During these periods of unemployment, we are not able to get as many men out on parole as we are in good times.
As I indicated in the general statement, our population is going up considerably from the high surplus labor areas, from the depressed areas, and † am sure it is going to go considerably higher than this average allowed.
Mr. Rooney. It would seem that these requested funds for care of prisoners is the result of the population increase, based on an increase of 900 prisoners; right?
Mr. BENNETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rooney. You presently have a sum based on a figure of 23,100; right? Mr. BENNETT. For this fiscal year, yes, sir. Mr. ROONEY. You want to increase this to 24,000 ? Mr. BENNETT. For next year, 23,500 ? Mr. ROONEY. No; 24,000. Mr. BENNETT. Yes, 24,000.
Mr. ROONEY. The difference between the 24,000 and 23,100 being 900?
Mr. BENNETT. That is right.
Mr. ROONEY. You say you estimate the figure in the present fiscal year to be 23,500?
Mr. BENNETT. That is correct, sir. That is the amount I requested in the supplemental appropriations of 400. That is the difference.
TYPES OF OFFENSE
That population break-down is as follows: 25 percent of our population is in for auto theft; 15 percent for drug violations; 10 percent for immigration; 8 percent liquor law violations; and the others are made up of various other Federal offenses, such as larceny, robbery, kidnapping, postal laws, extortion, and other things of that kind.
Mr. ROONEY. Mr. Marshall ?
COSTS AT SANDSTONE PRISON
Mr. MARSHALL. Mr. Bennett, last fall I had occasion to visit the institution at Sandstone and I was very much impressed with the fine staff you have at that location. I was also impressed with the work they were doing in bringing the prison facilities up to standard.
I notice in your justifications you call attention to the high costs of operation at Sandstone and Lompoc. Is part of that due to the fact that Sandstone Prison is just newly renovated ?
Mr. BENNETT. Yes, sir. That has just recently been brought into activation, and when we get going a little more we will be able to bring down those costs.
INDIANS AMONG PRISON POPULATION
Mr. MARSHALL. I was interested in your comment about your prison population concerning the Indians.