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Improperly Constructed

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The Washtenaw County Jail Strongly Condemned.

Rev. Mr. Bradshaw in the course of his sermon in the Congregational church last Sunday took occasion to say: "I wonder how many are aware that under the statutes of Michigan county jails may be made places of confinement not only of hardened offenders, but for young boys guilty of their first offense, for persons held for trial, who may be as innocent of the crimes charged against them as the angels in heaven, and in instances for persons who have not been charged with crime but who are simply held as witnesses. In most jails all these classes are huddled together indiscriminately; nothing else is possible. What could be more inevitably fatal to the morals of the community than to be housed day and night for weeks or months with those who have grown in vice and crime? In the county jail of Washtenaw county there is a measure of seclusion possible for first offenders. For instance, in the upper ward there is an iron cage provided for the incarceration of lunatics. Scarcely any circulation of air is possible, no window is accessible to those confined in it. Under the rays of the summer sun the iron plates which span its sides and floor attain a heat which is almost intolerable, and in this stifling furnace it is possible to protect (?) the morals of the comparatively innocent from contamination of the thoroughly vicious. 'But' said one of the officials to me, 'that is an awful place to put anybody in hot weather. We can make bad men beg very quickly by putting them in that cage.' Yet that is the utmost Washtenaw county has done to hinder its institution for the detention of all the classes referred to from becoming a school of crime. No one can examine the construction of the jail and be surprised that the official to whom I have spoken thought it would be more humane to let the boys out where they could get a breath of air, at the risk of their morals, than to keep them confined in that furnace. Surely the work of public sentiment will not be wholly accomplished as long as such conditions as these exist. "