« PreviousContinue »
whose joint resolution foreran this bill recommended that there should be a minimum of 500 acres of land.
Mr. MICHENER. This same group of women indorsed Mount Weather last year and the procedure which you have suggested was gone through last year, as stated in the hearings by both Mr. Votaw and yourself, and you arrived at the conclusion that Mount Weather was the most available and proper place. Now, there were those on the committee who disagreed with you. You come back with a bill practically the same, only taking from the committee in the House the power to locate. You have also surveyed. If you are of the opinion now that you were then you would, if you follow your suggestions just stated, place this institution at Mount Weather, and personally I am opposed to Mount Weather. I will vote to report this bill out if it is understood that you are not going to insist on Mount Weather. If this is a way to get around the decision of the House on the site or location, then I want to reserve the right to protest.
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. If I may be permitted to differ with the Congressman in one respect, that is, that the procedure that we followed last year was not quite the same.
Mr. MICHENER. I assume that is correct, because you found that there is not enough land up there.
Mrs. WILLEBRANDr. Last year, you see, all that we did was to survey. The Department of Justice itself surveyed, unhelped by any other department, the available places that the Government already owned. We did not have a chance to survey anything else that might be purchased or might be used in another respect. At this time, if you want to secure 500 acres, which undoubtedly we eventually ought to have if you are going to build for the future at all, as far as I know we will have to buy it and, at least, go outside of Mount Weather.
Mr. MICHENER. I will be frank to say that I am afraid of organizations when their representatives are in Washington and can be called in to indorse a bill very readily. I do not care what the organization is or who the representatives are. I appreciate how easy it is, and every member of the committee understands how easy it is, to get certain indorsements for certain things and without consideration on the part of the organization except by the leaders here in Washington.
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. Last year, I believe, there were only three organizations. There is a large number this year. Also, those three were represented by their representatives, which was brought out, and not by resolutions of their executive board. We have had greater time for consideration at this time. There is also one other suggestion in reply to the Congressman's suggestion that I would like to make, and that is that at this time, as I view it, there is no effort, certainly there is no desire to take away from this committee or to take away from Congress the power to pass upon a place. This is an enabling act.
Mr. FOSTER. Is it not the fact that this course was the course pursued for locating the other Federal prisons?
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. Yes, sir.
Mr. FOSTER. And the course that would have been followed last year except that it was thought by speedy action you could avoid the conditions now existing?
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. Yes.
Mr. FOSTER. And now you come back with no notion of trying to put it at Mount Weather or Camp Grant?
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. After a place is chosen it will have to be reported back to Congress. This is an enabling act only.
I would like to have Mr. Votaw call certain examples to your attention.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Votaw, will you very briefly supplement what has been said.
Mr. Voraw. I have here a list of State institutions that within the last year have notified the department that they can no longer accept federal female prisoners, and these institutions in the past have accepted our prisoners. If you would desire to have it introduced as part of the record, I can submit it.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the will of the committee? Shall it be put in the record ?
It being agreed to, it may be put in the record, (Mr. Votaw submitted the following paper:)
LIST OF INSTITUTIONS WHICH, WITHIN A YEAR, HAVE NOTIFIED THE DEPARTMENT
THEY CAN NO LONGER ACCEPT FEMALE FEDERAL PRISONERS.
Colorado State Penitentiary, Canon City, Colo.
Mr Votaw. I have a letter here which came to me yesterday. The chief of the local division of the narcotic unit came to me with this letter, and while part of it is not quite relevant, part of it is very pertinent.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, read the part that is pertinent.
Mr. Votaw. It has to do with eight women who were awaiting notification to the district attorney concerning a place of incarceration, and the narcotic inspector reported to his chief that something ought to be done and asked him to come to the Department of Justice and see if he could not get a place because, he says, judge J, W. Woodward had remarked that "if a place can not soon be found to which these women can be sent he will modify their sentence to expire at a very early date, because he does not believe they should be confined to a local jail under present conditions."
One judge that I know of has sentenced women to a jail for a long time, but this crowded condition of all of the places that are at present receiving Federal women offenders has made it exceedingly difficult for us to know what to do.
Mr. SUMNERS, Mr. Votaw, is not this the case, that the Federal Government convicts women and has no agency through which the punishment can properly be administered? Now is not that the concrete situation?
Mr. Voraw. Exactly.
Mr. SUMNERS. May we not assume—and I think we may—that the members of this committee recognize that that situation ought to be corrected? So that gets us by that point. Now the next question is—pardon me, Mr. Chairman, for trying to get right down to this—the next thing is, is this a proper sort of bill?
Mr. Voraw. I think so.
Mr. SUMNERS. You think this is the proper way to locate an institution? Mr. Voraw. Yes. It was said before you
It was said before you came in that this is the plan followed in locating the present penitentiaries.
Mr. SUMNERS. What more is there to this hearing?
Mr. Votaw. I would like it stopped if the bill is reported out. I do not want to take
time. Mr. SUMNERS. I see no reason for beating around the bush.
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. There are various people here representing the organizations which have passed on this.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless the committee so order, I would not wish to hear from the representatives. Just have them rise and say who they represent.
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. That is all I meant.
The CHAIRMAN. The representatives who are here to be heard upon this bill will please arise and give their names and the associations which they represent.
Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. Miss Hafford, of the General Federation of Women's Clubs.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, she is here approving as its representative. Mrs. WILLEBRANDT. Yes.
Mr. DYER. I would like to get her correct name and the organization she represents and whether she favors this bill.
Mr. CHAIRMAN. I ask that the clerk take the names of these representatives and the organizations they speak for.
Mr. MICHENER. Why not assume that everybody is for it? The committee is for it.
Mrs. Yost. Alice A. Yost, representing the National Women's Christian Temperance Union.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you favor the bill ?
Mr. DUDDING. E. E. Dudding, of the Prisoners' Relief Society. I am in favor of the bill.
Mr. MICHENER. Your address?
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anyone here in opposition to these bills ? There appears to be no one.
Mr. Lilly, who introduced H. R. 4125, is here and I would like to hear from Mr. Lilly if he has anything to say.
STATEMENT OF HON. THOMAS J. LILLY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA.
Mr. LILLY. That bill is just the same as the one the committee has now considered, and therefore it requires no argument on my part.
The CHAIRMAX. I would say to Mr. Lilly that H. R. 685 was introduced on December 5, a bill drafted in the Department of Justice, and fathered by me in the introduction of it,'and yours is almost verbatim ad literatim, etc.; so you would favor the reporting of the first bill?
Mr. Lilly. Yes.
Mr. Voraw. I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if I could say one more thing as a matter of history. The records of the department show that originally Congress's plan provided a place for the incarceration of Federal women offenders and there was built at the Leavenworth Penitentiary a small inclosure. A wall was built around this and a women's prison was supposed to be built there. Later it was thought it was inadvisable to build a women's institution as a mere annex to a man's penitentiary for a number of reasons. The whole body of penologists have gotten away from that, and that plan was abandoned.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mrs. Yost. Mr. Chairman, would you give me the privilege to make a statement which is in reply to an inference that has been made by members of the committee in regard to the way in which the organizations indorse legislation which they attempt to interest themselves in in Congress? It is suggested, and it is true, that representatives of certain organizations promote legislation without the a tion of their organization. May I say that the Women's Christian Temperance Union is not one of these organizations, that its representative never attempts to interest herself in legislation pending in Congress except with the indorsement of the official board ? Thank you.
Mr. MICHENER. I received a great many telegrams from W. C. T. U. members in my district asking me to support the bill and I took it up with them and they never heard of it and did not know where Mount Weather was l'ut asked me to support it. That is what etuated my statement a while ago.
Mrs.' WILLEBRANDT. If there is any question at all on the part of the committee I would be very glad, as I have not anything up my sleeve as I believe Congressman Michener knows, to ansverany question as to whether this is a right way or not.
Mr. SUMNERS. Have you stated in the record why these particular officers of the Government are selected ?
Mrs. WILLEBRINDr. Yes; it is in the record. The reason why the Secretary of Labor was included was because the organizations that are interested in the measure believe that the person he would name would probably be Mrs. Abbott, the head of the Children's Bureau, who is interested in work of this kind and has had experience with it and is pretty sound about the use of money. Even General Lord says that a dollar given to Mrs. Abbott's burean is a dollar well spent.
There is printed below letters from the Attorney General with reference to this legislation.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 9, 1924. Hon, GEORGE S. GRAHAM,
Chairman House Judiciary Committee. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: There has been brought to my attention that your committee is to hold hearings this morning upon House bill No. 2869, introduced by Mr. Foster, of Ohio, proposing the establishment of a reformatory for the young male first offender. My interest in this measure is very great. I am convinced that by proper segregation of the first offender the prospect of restoring him to society as a useful citizen would be increased.
The treatment to be accorded prisoners of what are generally known as the reformatory class differs from the treatment given to the repeater.
I regret that I am unable to appear in person before your committee. Mrs. Willebrandt, Assistant Attorney General, and Mr. Votaw, Superintendent of Prisons, will represent the department. I feel confident that they will gladly furnish any information that they have that will assist you in consideration of this bill. With assurances of high esteem, I am, Respectfully,
H.'M. DAUGHERTY, Attorney General.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 9, 1924. Hon. GEORGE S. GRAHAM, Chairman Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I understand you have under consideration to-day House bill No. 685, providing for the establishment of a Federal industrial farm for women.
My department will be represented before your committee by Mrs. Mabel Walker Willebrandt, Assistant Attorney General, and Mr. H. H. Votaw, superintendent of prisons, who will furnish your committee all information which we have that you may desire, but I want you to know my personal as well as my official interest in this measure.
Since I took office one of the most vexing administrative problems connected with prisons has arisen because of the lack of facilities for caring for women sentenced by Federal courts. The establishment of housing facilities, owned by the Federal Government, for such prisoners is prompted by considerations of both economy and humanity. I earnestly hope that this measure may move speedily forward. Very truly yours,
H. M. DAUGHERTY, Attorney General. The CHAIRMAN. The hearings are now closed. (Thereupon the committee adjourned.)