"Maggie Martin, 933" - Madeleine Zabriskie Doty - The Century

A Woman's Voluntary Week in Prison

Byline: Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, Elizabeth C. Watson; 1914-10-01; The Century Illustrated; pages 843-857

Report: Jail Time Undercover

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 "...Then came the bath, taken in public, with the aid of the little colored convict. Under direction, she scrubbed andscsrubbed,w e being told to keep hands off. Some one originated the theory that all convicts are dirty,a nd truly it is on that theory that the whole prison system is built. A convict means dirt, physical, mental and moral and is treated accordingly That this may not be the case makes no impression. I was a convict; therefore, I was full of vermin..."

Description:"Miss Madeleine Z. Doty [member of the commission on prison reform] and Miss Elizabeth C. Watson spent a week last November in the state prison for women, with my consent and approval. The inmates, assistant matrons, attendants, and prison physician supposed they had been regularly committed. They were, therefore, treated the same as the ordinary prisoner. Their joint report, submitted to me, disclosed conditions and methods of discipline which I could hardly believe existed, and for which there seemed to be no excuse. The old idea that by constant physical and mental torture inmates would upon their discharge be deterred from again committing crime seems to have been the basic principle upon which the prison was managed. The week's torture suffered by Miss Doty and Miss Watson has resulted in the correction of many of the evils shown by their report. (Signed) John B. Riley, Supt. of State Prisons. Albany, July 24, 1914.

Rights: public domain