Mt. Vernon Register-News from Mt Vernon, Illinois on September 19, 1952 · Page 5
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Mt. Vernon Register-News from Mt Vernon, Illinois · Page 5

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Mt Vernon, Illinois
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Friday, September 19, 1952
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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1952 Charge Laxity; Waste And Theft at Menard (From Chicago Tribune) m EDVVII* KENNEDY Charges ol' laxity, waste, theft, and ineptitude in the operation M and management of the Illinois state penitentiary at Menard will be invostigalcd by a legislative commission, it was announced yesterday, It was also charged that discipline and efficiency wore subordinated to politics and favoritism. Conditions at the institution came under at tacit following the recent escape of two prisoners thru a hole in the prison wall. Rep. Sam Schaumleffel (R- lijf 32d), who heads the penal com- mittce of the iogislative interim institutional commission, said his group will investigate the institution in the next week or 10 days. Sen. Peter J. Miller (R., Chicago), vviio is secretary of the interim commission, said notices arc being prepared for the meeting. Seven Cliarifps Outlined Charges that will be investigated by the legislative group are: 1. Theft and disappearance of food, equipment, and live stock from the institution. 2. Spending of ,?MO,000 more than was authorized in the legislative budget. 3. Wild liquor parties in the em­ ployes' cottages on the prison grounds in which "trusties," prison staff members and outsiders participated. '1. That prisoners who could pay were able (o get whisky, dope, and special favors. 5. That guards placed bets on %l the races for prisoners at a handbook in Chc^stcr, Randolph county, two miles away. 6. General mismanagement, laxity, and waste. 7. Political favoritism. It was charged by persons connected with the institution that the prison was operated like a "big country club." Kaffee-klatches were held by. prisoners thruout the day, they said. "Houseboys," or prisoners assigned to the prison n cottages, were reported to have *^ unusual liberty. Charjfe Wholesale Thefts Articles stolen from the prison allegedly include hundreds of bed sheets, cases of soap and tissues, reels of heavy copper wire, lumber, paint, farm products, food, and almost any article that was not nailed down and could be carried out without too much trouble. Two new corn sowers of heavy m«;)tal and 500 chicken disappear. ed from the prison farm last #/ spring. It was reported that they were carried away by the high Mississippi flood waters. About 500 acres of the prison's 2,200 acres of farmland are along the river. The story of the chickens was accepted as plausible, but skepticism was expressed as to the explanation for the disappearance of the sowers. The prison hay barn bumed to the . ground last February with considerable loss. There were re^\ ports that the barn was burned to " conceal thefts. Hay that was baled on the farm was reported sold in part to dealers who then sold it to the institution. Convict "Exposes" Sale The story going the rounds of the prison is that a prisoner's work shirt was found in one of the bales of hay bought by the institution. It was reported that a convict on the farm threw his shirt into the baler to expose the hay thefts. While the investiga- 4") tion was being conducted, the shirt disappeared. Prisoners claimed that ham was never on the menu, altho about 25 hogs were butchered at the prison farm each week. A current jest around the prison is that "ham- less hogs" were being raised on the prison farm. It was charged that hams were smuggled to an island in the Mississippi river where they were smoked and sold on the market. ^) The hams wgre said to have been carried out in barrels disguised as scrap meat. Prison officials admit that between $135,000 and ,$140,000 in excess of budget appropriations was spent by the prison for commodities, such as food, prisoners' clothing, and essential'housekeep­ ing articles. None of the excess expenditures went for repairs, equipment, or remodeling. Taxpayers to Foot Bills Put in other words, it means that the taxpayers will have to dig up an additional $140,000 to pay prison bills for alleged mismanagement, waste and thefts. The appropriation by the legislature for operation and management of Menard penitentiary in the last budget ca led for an annual expenditure of about .?1,895,000. Of the latter sum, nearly .$800,000 was for the purpose of commodities. Warden Jerome J. Munie, who was transferred to Menard frorr Pontiac reformatory last May 25, admitted to a reporter for The Chicago Tribune that the excess spending could not be accounted for solely by the rise in living costs. He said it could be charged to "looseness" in the operation of the institution. Warden Munie succeeded Browning Robinson of Tamaroa, Franklin county, who was appointed by Gov. Stevenson to operate the institution in February, 1949. Robinson was shifted to the Vandalia penal farm as warden. Cumpaiffn Cover-Up Seen It was reported that Warden Munie, a former sheriff of St. Clair county who has been in prison work for the last 11 years, was transferred to Menard prison to try to clean up the "mess" at the institution before it became entangled in the Democratic political campaign. Rep. Schaumleffel said his committee also will be eager to learn whether "filthy" conditions found by his group in their last visit to the institution some months ago have been corrected. Rep. Schaumleffel, whose home is in Monmouth, Warren county said his committee was astounded at the insanitary conditions found in the prison kitchen and in the handling of food. "We did not think that they could exist in an institution operated by the state," he said. Two Flee Thru Tunnel It was disclosed that the two prisoners who escaped from the penitentiary—Philip Crylen. 30, of Chicago and Norman Brimberry, 45, of Salem, Marion county—had to crawl along a tunnel that led under a high barbed wire fence and on to the back yard of the prison disciplinarian, George Rodman, and chief guard, Leonard Wood. If either official had been 013 his back porch or looking out the kitchen window he would have seen' the prisoners crossing his lawn. A guard who allowed the prisoners to go into the tunnel on their representation that they wished to replace some light bulbs had been fired. . Warden Munie said he believes others have been guilty of carelessness in leaving the opening in the wall unguarded and is continuing an investigation to fix further responsibility. The prison has about 1,900 in- THE REGISTER-NEWS — MT. VERNON, ILLINOl\ BONNIE milY V SHAFFER CanMMK^MH Miss Paulette Howard visited a few days last week with her great aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Koehler. Mr. and Mrs. .Sonny Allen and daughter Vicky Ann, Mrs. Elizabeth Jeffries and children. Colleen and Kenneth Farthing, visited Mr. and Mrs. Garold Farthing and family of Hindsboro, 111. Tuesday night and attended the corn bread and bean festival at Oakland, 111. on Wednesday. Mr. and Mrs. Donald Farthing and sons of Mt. Vernon visited Sunday evening with Mr, and Mrs. Claude Jeffries. Mr. and Mrs. Earl Kniffen and daughter Janice, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle Peek and Miss Teresa Putney spent Saturday at Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Clauoe Williams and son of Pinckneyville visited relatives here Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Casey of Ina called on Mr. and Mrs. Claude Jeffries Sunday afternoon. A very nice dinner was served at noon Wednesday at the home of Mrs. Ruth Hale b; W-C.T.U. members. Only one birthday was ibservod. Mrs. Elwanda Neighbors being the honored guest. The devotional service was held in the afternoon. Misses Tresa Hale and Lillie Shoffer played a piano solo." The next meeting will be held at the home of Mrs. Lizzie Knowles October 15th. mates, many of whom are the "toughest" in the state's penal institutions. About 500 of the convicts are confined to the institution's psychiatric department. Although sulfur is used in many industries, agriculture is the greatest consumer. Its most widespread application is in convertnig phosphate rocks to superphosphate fertilizer. Today Can be a RedUfferDay — IF YOU DON'T HAVE ACID INDIGESTION Today and every day, you'll be "sitting on top of the world"—having fun eating, drinking .* what you like without fear of gas, heartburn, sour stomach—if you do as millions do. Just eat 1 or 2 Tums after meals or whenever over-indul- f ence brings on distress, or Tums quickly neutralize excess acid. Contain no soda to over- alkalize or cause acid t_ rebound. 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